- A CNBC poll found that just 36% of voters support Biden’s infrastructure plan as is.
- But most supported funding for nontraditional infrastructure measures, like caregiving and climate.
- The GOP argues that anything unrelated to physical infrastructure doesn’t belong, but voters seem to disagree.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
President Joe Biden unveiled his $2.3 trillion infrastructure package two weeks ago, and a CNBC survey found overwhelming support for it, but only parts of it. That’s where it gets interesting.
According to a CNBC survey released on Thursday, just 36% of Americans supported Biden’s infrastructure plan as he presented it – only three percentage points higher than those who oppose the plan, at 33%. This is about half the level of support that Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus plan received in similar polling in March.
Since Biden unveiled the plan, Republican lawmakers have attacked his definition of infrastructure, saying that a new bill should focus on physical infrastructure, like roads and brides, and should exclude measures related to the care economy like universal pre-K, as well as things like climate change initiatives. Senate Republicans are drafting a bill focused on roads and bridges, Insider’s Joseph Zeballos-Roig reported.
The CNBC poll illustrates the catch for Republicans: the nontraditional aspects of Biden’s plan are very popular. This could prove pivotal for its future, as the White House has stressed that its definition of bipartisanship doesn’t focus just on what Republican politicians favor, but on what Republican voters favor as well.
The poll noted that a “31% slice of the public say they don’t know enough to venture an opinion, suggesting an opportunity for each political party to make headway.”
Despite the majority of respondents opposing the president’s plan, an overwhelming majority supported specific funding proposals within the plan.
Of the following four main findings, three are measures the GOP has argued for excluding from the bill:
- 87% of the public backed fixing roads and bridges;
- 82% of the public supported increasing pay for elderly caregivers;
- 78% of the public supported expanding high-speed broadband;
- And 70% of the public supported fixing the electrical grid and making buildings and homes more energy efficient.
The poll also found that 50% of respondents supported raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28% to pay for the plan. When asked about corporate tax hikes generally, 46% said it was a bad idea because it would raise wages and cost jobs, while 43% said corporate tax hikes should be raised to pay for infrastructure because companies “do not pay their fair share.”
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement that while Biden could have drafted a “serious, targeted infrastructure plan” that would have received bipartisan support, “the latest liberal wish-list the White House has decided to label ‘infrastructure’ is a major missed opportunity by this Administration.”
And South Dakota’s Republican governor, Kristi Noem, said during a Fox News interview in early April that she was “shocked” and at how little of Biden’s plan relates to infrastructure, although her comments indicated that she is unclear on what constitutes physical infrastructure.
“It goes into research and development, it goes into housing and pipes and different initiatives, green energy, and it’s not really an honest conversation that we’re having about what this proposal is,” Noem said.
John Bolten, chief executive officer of Business Roundtable, which represents CEOs of the largest US companies, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV that the organization wants Biden to limit the scope of the package to mainly address roads and bridges and “leave the rest of the stuff for something else.”
He added, though, that “more modern infrastructure” also needs investment, citing broadband as an example.
Biden’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors Cecilia Rouse said on April 3 that America needs an upgraded definition of infrastructure to meet “the needs of a 21st-century economy.”
A New York Times poll released on Thursday found that 64% of voters approve of Biden’s infrastructure plan, 84% of voters support rebuilding roads and bridges, and 78% support expanded broadband.