Republican Voters Fear for Their Children's Future Under Joe Biden: Poll

Americans of all political persuasions are grim about the country's future, according to a new Pew Research Center survey, with a crisis of confidence among Republican voters since the COVID-19 crisis began and President Joe Biden took office.

Pew's latest survey released on Wednesday polled 18,850 adults across 17 "advanced economies" between February 1 and May 26, 2021, of which 2,596 were Americans, weighted to be representative of the national population.

Sixty-eight percent of all Americans surveyed believe their children will be worse off than their parents, higher than the median of 64 percent across all 17 nations included in the research.

The feeling is bipartisan, though there has been a striking shift among both conservative and moderate Republicans over the past year, which included former President Donald Trump being voted out of office.

Democrats are becoming more positive about their childrens' future since Biden took office, though the majority remain concerned. Between June and July last year, 76 percent of liberal Democrats said their children would be worse off than them, dropping to 70 percent in 2021.

More conservative and moderate Democrats also became slightly more positive, the portion who believed their children would be worse off falling from 66 percent to 58 percent over the same period.

There was a major swing to the pessimistic on the Republican side. Fifty-two percent of moderate Republican voters said in 2020 that their children would be worse off, rising to 70 percent this year.

It was even more marked among more conservative Republicans. In summer 2020, 36 percent of these respondents said their children would be worse off. But this number jumped to 76 percent within the year—a swing of 40 percent.

Biden inherited the COVID-19 financial crisis, which came on top of existing economic strains from Trump's time in office.

The former president's tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations caused the national debt to balloon—despite his promises to eliminate it entirely—while his trade conflicts with China and the European Union burdened U.S. businesses.

Biden's plan to "Build Back Better" will have to overcome the dislocation of the pandemic, which precipitated the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression in the 1930s and one of the largest wealth transfers in history, as the wealthy grew richer and the most vulnerable struggled to survive.

America's 713 billionaires grew their combined wealth by some $1.8 trillion during the pandemic, according to Forbes. This represents an increase of 55 percent in overall wealth, and a third of all billionaire gains over the last 31 years.

Pew found that 71 percent of all U.S. adults surveyed consider the national economic situation bad, versus 69 percent when surveyed in summer 2020. This year's figure is the most negative since Pew's 2011 poll.

The economy is a cornerstone of any president's legacy. Trump's time in office will be remembered for the economic collapse that accompanied the pandemic, plus for his administration's confused and ineffective response to the crisis.

The U.S. economy is showing signs of better health. The U.S. added 850,000 new jobs in June, while wages increased 0.3 percent for the month and 3.6 percent year over year. The unemployment rate in June did unexpectedly rise to 5.9 percent versus the 5.6 percent estimate, but this remains far below the pandemic 14.8 percent peak of April 2020.

The economy grew at a 6.4 percent rate in the first three months of this year, with economists predicting growth of up to 7 percent across the rest of 2021. This would be the strongest annual performance in around 70 years.

But this performance does not seem to be translating to positive sentiment among voters. While Democrats are slowly coming around, according to Pew's figures, Republicans are going the other way.

Voter economic outlook appears to be closely tied to political identity—especially among Republicans—regardless of the data. Those identities are becoming ever more separate and antagonistic.

Biden will have to battle with the real economic problems facing the country and the partisan divide among voters. Indeed, an April poll showed that as many as 70 percent of Republicans don't even believe the president won the last election.

Joe Biden holds cabinet meeting White House
President Joe Biden speaks at the start of a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House on July 20, 2021 in Washington, D.C. Drew Angerer/Getty Images