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Image: Infrastructure repair
Highway workers repair a hole that opened in the road as a result of the July 5, 2019 earthquake, near Ridgecrest, Calif. on July 6, 2019.Robyn Beck / AFP via Getty Images file

Popularity of Biden's infrastructure plan should make GOP nervous

The Democrats' COVID relief package was popular. Biden's infrastructure plan enjoys even more support. It's the sort of thing that ought to worry the GOP.


As Joe Biden's presidency got underway in earnest, congressional Republicans took a risk by rejecting a popular Democratic COVID relief package. The proposal enjoyed such broad support, it was widely assumed that at least some GOP lawmakers would side with the American mainstream and vote for it. They didn't.

But to hear Republicans tell it, this wasn't much of a gamble. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), for example, predicted the popularity of the American Relief Plan would soon wither. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) added around the same time that the COVID relief package would be "bad politics" for Democrats "because the narrative is that they're liberal, they just spend money like there's no tomorrow, that every time there's a crisis they load it up with spending."

They were, of course, wrong. In fact, months after the president signed the American Relief Plan, and families started seeing the benefits, the package continues to enjoy broad public support.

And as it turns out, Biden's American Jobs Plan is even more popular.

About 2 in 3 Americans support the president's multitrillion-dollar infrastructure package as well as the proposed tax hikes to pay for it. The Monmouth University Poll finds similar levels of support for expanding healthcare access and other aid – a plan slated to be released this week.

In early March, a Monmouth poll found 62% support for the Democrats' COVID relief package. The new polling data, meanwhile, found 68% support for Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan and 64% support for the follow-up American Family Plan the president will formally unveil this week.

Asked about paying for these plans by raising taxes on corporations and Americans who make more than $400,000 per year, roughly two-thirds of the public backed the plan.

Data for Progress' Sean McElwee noted yesterday that Monmouth's results "line up exactly" with other recent public-opinion research on Biden's infrastructure plan. McElwee added, "We're seeing consistent support across pollsters."

At first blush, none of this should be especially surprising. Not to put too fine a point on this, but popular stuff tends to be, well, popular. Monmouth University's poll specifically asked, "President Biden recently proposed a $2 trillion infrastructure plan to be spent on roads, bridges and trains, internet access, power grid improvements, and clean energy projects. In general, do you support or oppose this plan?"

The same survey went on to ask, "Biden is also expected to propose a large spending plan to expand access to health care and childcare, and provide paid leave and college tuition support. In general, would you support or oppose this plan?"

Americans generally want all of these things. The fact that the White House plans to deliver on these priorities without raising taxes on lower- and middle-income households no doubt boosts their popularity.

Except, Republicans on Capitol Hill still don't quite see it this way. Much of the GOP is still working from the assumption that it can scream about "big government," "tax-and-spend liberals," and "socialism," at which point Democratic proposals will become unpopular, and Democratic policymakers will grudgingly slink away.

In 2021, it's not working. It's been two months since Biden first starting presenting the public details of his infrastructure pitch, and it looks like nearly 7 in 10 Americans are on board with the plan -- despite plenty of partisan pushback from the White House's opponents.

We're looking at a political landscape in which Republicans are telling the American public, "Those rascally Democrats want to increase spending, increase government, and raise taxes on 'job creators'!" And much of the public, at least for now, is responding, "Yep, that's fine with us."