21 Charts Review Biden's America In 2021

21 Charts Review Biden's America In 2021

The year that was in numbers.

tippinsights Editorial Board

The year 2021 was largely spent dealing with the pandemic and waiting to return to normalcy. While the mood remains somber, considering the latest spike in COVID cases, many hope that things will turn for the better soon.

1. Nation's Priorities

Three issues stayed on top of everyone's minds throughout the year: the coronavirus pandemic, the U.S. economy, and immigration.

Our IBD/TIPP poll, completed in early December of 1,301 Americans, shows that these three topics remain matters of concern.

chart 1

2. Presidential Leadership Index – 2021

The IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index, a compact measure of the President's performance, considers three factors: favorability, job approval, and Presidential Leadership.

A reading above 50.0 signals optimism, and below 50.0 indicates pessimism.  The chart below shows the index for four presidents of the 21st century.

After a contentious election that led to Americans witnessing some very distressing scenes on Capitol Hill, President Biden was sworn in.  Dealing with the pandemic, a weak economy, and worrisome inflation has been tough.  Not many are happy with President Biden's performance.

The Leadership Index by party affiliation in December 2021 reads:

  • 49.6 Overall
  • 82.4 for Democrats,
  • 14.3 for Republicans, and
  • 36.6 for independents
chart 2

3. President Biden's Handling The Pandemic

Americans who give him an A or B have fallen from 56% in April to 43% in December.  73% of Democrats give President Biden an A or B, while only 16% of Republicans and 31% of independents give him good grades.

President Biden's vaccine mandates have been divisive.  Many Americans are quitting their jobs or facing layoffs because of the mandate, increasing wage pressure, and worsening inflation.

chart 3

4. President Biden's Handling The Economy

President Biden is presiding over the worst inflation of the decade.  In the IBD/TIPP Poll, 84% of Americans are concerned about inflation.

President Biden's handling of the economy gets good grades only from 35% of Americans.

When it comes to the American economy, he seems to be losing favor within his party.  Among Democrats, the share of those who give him a good grade has fallen from 82% in April to 62% in December.  This month, 79% of Republicans and 50% of independents gave him a D or F.

Independents have also been disillusioned.  They have ranged from 20% to 36% over the past nine months.

chart 4

5. President Biden's Handling Immigration

Our data analysis shows that between February and October 2021, the number of encounters under President Biden's watch was 1,602,539, compared to 365,085 and 720,287 during the same periods in 2020 and 2019, respectively -- this represents a 439 percent increase over 2020 and a 205 percent increase over 2019.

President Biden gets good grades from only 30% of Americans on immigration.  52% of Democrats give him a good grade.  However, he receives a D or F from 79% of Republicans and 51% independents.

chart 5

6. President Biden's Handling Of Afghanistan Withdrawal

The botched Afghanistan withdrawal was an embarrassment for America, the world's superpower.  The picture of Afghans hanging on to a plane will stay in our memory for years to come.  Our allies were harshly critical of how the U.S. withdrew.

Many Americans are still stuck in Afghanistan.  The U.S. has spent nearly one trillion dollars and has nothing to show so far.  The reconstruction of Afghanistan will be a costly affair.

Overall, only 25% give President Biden an A or B for how we withdrew from Afghanistan.  While 46% of Democrats give President Biden a good grade, most Republicans (79%) and independents (55%) give him a failing grade.

chart 6

7. President Biden's Handling Of China

The U.S. relies heavily on China for many goods and raw materials, a situation that many people think must change soon.  Supply chain bottlenecks and Beijing's dismal human rights record are issues Americans watch with grave concern.

Overall, Americans are unhappy with President Biden's handling of China. While most Democrats consistently gave him an A or B, only a handful of Republicans and independents gave him good grades.

Recently, President Biden held a virtual summit with President Xi Jinping. Taiwan, the South China Sea, Hong Kong, and Uyghurs are touchy issues that the U.S. will continue to face in 2022.

chart 7

8. TIPP Unity Index

Today, the U.S. is a deeply polarized nation.  In keeping with its innovative tradition, TechnoMetrica developed the Unity Index, a barometer of the country's unity based on the question:

In general, would you say the United States is Very United, Somewhat United, Somewhat Divided, or Very Divided?

We converted the raw responses to a compact index.  The unity index ranges from 0 to 100.  Higher numbers indicate greater unity, while lower numbers indicate decreased unity.  50 is a neutral value.  Above 50 indicates unity, while below 50 indicates division.

Since its inception in March, the index has stayed in the mid-thirties.  Both Republicans and independents have consistently stayed below the 30 levels, while Democrats have posted above 40 readings.

chart 8

Following a contentious 2020 election, Americans divide deeply on many issues. Here are some examples:

  • 2020 election results: vote recount/audit, Jan 6 events
  • Voting rights
  • Spending and taxes
  • Vaccine mandates/passports to use facilities.
  • School masking guidelines
  • Law and order (defund police)
  • Immigration: border wall, sanctuary cities, border control, and security
  • Green new deal
  • Critical Race Theory
  • Gender rights
  • Abortion rights
  • Gun rights
  • Afghanistan withdrawal

Trust in Media

The media plays a crucial role in shaping opinions and forging a nation's identity. The proliferation of alternative sources of information dissemination has made the field competitive and diverse.  Yet, the public's trust in the fourth estate has taken a bad hit and remains low.

9. Traditional Media Trust Index

The TIPP Poll has been gauging people's trust in traditional media, like established newspapers and long-running television news channels.  The public is more than ever aware of their bias and skewed reporting.  This has resulted in reduced patronage and an overall lack of trust.

Responses to the question form the basis of the traditional media index:  Generally speaking, how much trust do you have in the traditional or established news media (Example: Washington Post, New York Times, NPR, CBS News, etc.) to report the news accurately and fairly?

The index ranges from 0 to 100. Above 50 is trust territory, and below 50 indicates a lack of trust. 50 is neutral.

chart 9

10. Alternative Media Trust Index

While alternate media was meant to address the skewed reporting and give a platform to diverse voices, they too have fallen prey to the follies of the traditional media.  Alternate or less popular opinions are sidelined in a bid to amass sponsorship and keep their consumers happy.

Responses to the question form the basis of the alternative media index:  Generally speaking, how much trust do you have in the alternative news media (example: New York Post, Washington Times, NewsMax, The Daily Caller, RealClearPolitics, etc.) to report the news accurately and fairly?

chart 10

Data, especially data collected over time, gives an accurate picture of the trend and trajectory.  You can read Part 2 of the series here.

21 Charts Review Biden’s America In 2021- Part 2
The second and final installment of The Year That Was In Numbers series

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TIPP Takes


Biden, Putin Agree To Intensify Diplomacy Early Next Year Amid Tensions Over Ukraine

President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin have spoken by phone for the second time this month.

Biden Call

During the 50-minute call on December 30, Biden told Putin that the United States and its partners would respond "decisively" if Russia launched an attack on Ukraine while also expressing support for diplomacy to de-escalate tensions, the White House said.

The Biden administration has said some of Russia's demands are "unacceptable," standing firm in the position that countries such as Ukraine have the right to choose their own foreign and security policy.

However, U.S. officials say there may be room to negotiate some of the other proposals under the arms control agenda between Washington and Moscow.

Iran Announces New Space Launch Amid Nuclear Talks

Iran announced Thursday it had carried out a new space launch, in a move likely to irk Western powers.

Iran Launch

"The Simorgh satellite launcher carried three research cargos into space," defense ministry spokesman Ahmad Hosseini said, quoted by state television. "The research goals foreseen for this launch have been achieved," Mr. Hosseini added, without elaborating on the nature of the research.

Western governments worry that satellite launch systems incorporate technologies interchangeable with those used in ballistic missiles capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.

Iran insists its space program is for civilian and defense purposes only and does not breach the nuclear deal or any other international agreement.

N. Korea Has Final Review On Draft Resolution For Year-End Party Plenary

The North convened a fourth day of the 4th Plenary Meeting of the ruling Workers' Party's 8th Central Committee on Thursday.

Kim Jong-un

The participants launched sectional workshops Tuesday to "map out plans according to the fighting policies set forth" by leader Kim Jong-un under his report "on the orientation of the work of the party and state in 2022."

The resolution will likely include the North's stance on the deadlocked inter-Korean relations and its nuclear talks with the United States as top officials in charge of the issues were spotted partaking in the discussion sessions.

This week's meeting has drawn keen attention as it could replace Kim's annual New Year's Day address, which is closely watched by the outside world for clues on the country's domestic and foreign policy directions for the new year.

Conflict-Hit Ethiopia Set To Exit U.S. Trade Pact Despite Late Push

President Joe Biden on November 2 announced the New Year's removal of Ethiopia.


The Ethiopian government has lobbied hard against the move. It estimates that one million jobs have been supported directly or indirectly by the 2000 law, which grants duty-free access for most goods.

The Senate and House subcommittees on Africa both urged Biden in a letter to reconsider the "abrupt" move, saying that a recent rebel retreat provided an opening for diplomacy.

The United States and the United Nations and rights groups say the Ethiopian government has deliberately hindered aid delivery to northern regions where millions face famine-like conditions.

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