(CN) — In his first weeks in office, President Joe Biden has initiated sweeping reforms against racial inequality, rejoined global accords to mitigate climate change and revamped the nation’s battle against Covid-19. Those actions have garnered the approval of nearly half of Americans, according to a poll released Monday.
The Marist poll found that 49% of Americans approve of the job Biden is doing in the White House.
Those actions include signing a host of executive actions reversing the environmental and energy policies of the Trump administration and rejoining both the World Health Organization and the Paris climate accords.
Biden has also used his executive powers to revoke a Trump administration presidential permit granted for construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. He overturned former President Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban” which restricted U.S. entry for citizens of mostly Muslim-majority or African nations.
Biden’s actions since taking the oath of office appear to have united his party, with 91% of Democrats saying they support the president's actions, according to the poll.
Along with reinvigorating the nationwide rollout of Covid-19 vaccines, Biden also signed orders requiring masks and physical distancing on federal lands and buildings, behavior that was not previously mandated under Trump.
Mask wearing, physical distancing and stay-at-home orders became highly politicized in the Trump era, with compliance seeming to represent affinity with political leanings even as virologists continued to urge compliance with public health orders.
But the majority of Americans, 55%, now believe Biden is doing more to unite the country than divide it. That sentiment is held by 91% of Democrats, 54% of independents, and even 17% of Republicans, the poll found.
Forty-seven percent of Americans say Biden’s administration is steering the nation in a positive direction. Another 32% say he’s driving the country into the ground, the poll said.
An ABC News/Ipsos poll released Jan. 24 meanwhile found more than two-thirds (69%) of Americans approve of Biden’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, while 57% said they are confident in his ability to unify the nation.
Trump faced less generous approval ratings after first taking office, with a February 2017 Marist poll finding 39% of Americans approved of the GOP president’s job in office.
A separate Marist poll, also conducted in 2017, found that 36% of Americans believed Trump was uniting the nation while 57% said he was dividing it.
In a statement, Marist Poll director Lee M. Miringoff noted the difference in early approval ratings for Trump and Biden and said the Democratic president still has a long road ahead in building bipartisanship.
“In his first weeks in office, President Biden has achieved a higher approval rating than former President Trump did at any point in his four years,” Miringoff said. “Yet, Biden still hopes to convince Americans who are on the fence, especially independents, and close the huge partisan divide. That is a more daunting challenge.”
The poll also touched on the upcoming impeachment trial. Trump is the first president in U.S. history to be impeached twice and is set to stand trial in the Senate on a charge of inciting his supporters and right-wing hate groups to attack Congress on Jan. 6, as lawmakers were discussing certifying Biden’s electoral victory.
Monday’s poll found clear division on what Americans think the Senate should do next.
Exactly half of Americans think the Senate should convict Trump on the charge. Just 41% believe the former reality television star should be acquitted.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.