Joe Biden's Approval Rises in New Poll as Pandemic Proves Strongest Issue

President Joe Biden's approval rating is creeping upwards, according to a new poll published on Saturday, but the president is continuing to struggle with voters on a number of key issues.

A Hill-HarrisX poll conducted from November 16 to 18 showed that Biden's approval rating now stands at 44 percent - up two percent since the last Hill-HarrisX poll in October.

However, the president scored relatively poorly on issues including immigration, the economy and foreign policy but his strongest issue was his handling of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

While 45 percent of respondents said they disapproved of Biden, 11 percent said they neither approved nor disapproved.

In October, 47 percent of voters said they disapproved of the president.

Those who strongly approve of his job performance stood at 22 percent in the new poll, while 35 percent strongly disapproved of Biden.

The president's best issue was COVID-19, with 47 percent of respondents polled saying they approved of how Biden was dealing with the pandemic.

That represents a two-point increase since the last time Hill-HarrisX polled the question from October 20 to 23.

Biden did less well on other key issues. Just 34 percent of respondents approved of his handling of immigration, though this is an increase of two points on October when it was 32 percent.

The poll also found a significant improvement for Biden on the key issue of foreign affairs, with 44 percent of respondents approving of Biden on that issue. In October, just 35 percent of voters approved.

The economy remains a sticking point, however, with 45 percent of voters strongly disapproving of the president's handling of the economy compared to 39 percent who approve.

That result comes as the U.S. is facing record inflation and high prices for essential goods such as fuel and food. In the last Hill-HarrisX poll, 36 percent of respondents said they strongly disapproved of Biden's handling of the economy, with a total of 47 percent disapproving and 39 percent approving.

The Hill-Harris X poll surveyed 2,787 registered voters and had a margin of error of 1.8 percent.

The Consumer Price Index for October recorded a 6.2 percent increase year on year - the largest rise in 30 years. Biden authorized the release of 50 million barrels of crude oil from the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) on Tuesday in an effort to bring down gas prices but there are serious doubts about how effective that will be.

Biden's approval rating has been stubbornly low since it entered negative territory in late August. Poll tracker FiveThirtyEight, which monitors the president's approval based on analysis of a wide range of polls and its own system of pollster ratings, gave Biden 42.9 percent approval as of November 24.

It should be noted that FiveThirtyEight's analysis had not taken into account the newly published results of the Hill-Harris X poll as of Saturday morning.

It remains to be seen if the president's approval rating will return to positive territory in the near future but this latest poll may be an encouraging sign for Biden.

Biden Walks from Marine One
U.S. President Joe Biden walks to the West Wing from Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on November 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Biden's approval rating is up two points in a new poll. Samuel Corum/Getty Images