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Why the popularity of Biden's Build Back Better plan matters

If the American mainstream is on board with Build Back Better agenda, moderate Democrats in Congress should be able to endorse it, too.

On the latest episode of NBC's "Meet the Press," Meghan McCain didn't just criticize the White House's Build Back Better agenda, she also told viewers "it's not polling well."

If the conservative media figure were right, that would certainly be a relevant detail. President Joe Biden and congressional Democratic leaders are engaged in a difficult legislative process, exploring how best to write an ambitious safety-net-and-climate bill, and if the plan was polling poorly, the efforts would likely collapse.

Lawmakers, especially Democratic lawmakers, are often skittish about taking bold steps. Asking them to take bold and unpopular steps nearly always ends in failure.

The problem with the analysis, however, is that the evidence points in the opposite direction. Politico had this report yesterday:

We have some fresh polling results from our weekly collaboration with Morning Consult, and they offer some good news for President Joe Biden, whose domestic policy agenda continues to poll above his job approval number.... The bipartisan infrastructure bill remains quite popular: 56% support, 27% oppose.

Of course, that's only one plank of the Democrats' two-part package. Is this a situation in which the public is perhaps on board with the bipartisan bill, but opposed to the more ambitious reconciliation bill?

Actually, no. The latest poll from the Pew Research Center found proponents of both parts of the Biden agenda easily outnumbering opponents.

The latest poll from Data for Progress found the same thing. So did the latest poll from Fox News. In recent weeks, there were similar findings in Monmouth, Quinnipiac, and Suffolk polls.

Circling back to our earlier coverage, for on-the-fence Democrats on Capitol Hill, this really ought to matter. If the American mainstream is on board with Build Back Better agenda, moderate Democrats in Congress should be able to endorse it, too.