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Virus gains fail to halt sliding mood in US

By HENG WEILI in New York | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-07-29 09:49

Issues from gun deaths to immigration eat into Biden's popularity, survey finds

How are you doing, America? According to a recent national poll, not that good, as more than half the respondents say they are pessimistic over where the United States is heading.

With 55 percent feeling glum, the response marks a decline in optimism of nearly 20 points from late April, the last time the question was asked, when 64 percent reported feeling positive.

The rise in pessimism is occurring across all age groups, regardless of incomes, education and political party affiliations, according to the ABC News/Ipsos poll, whose findings were released on Sunday.

The poll was conducted on July 23-24 based on what the pollsters called a nationally representative probability sample of 527 adults.

People also have mixed feelings about how US President Joe Biden is handling major issues, the poll found.

They are positive on the president's response to the COVID-19 pandemic (63 percent approval) and his handling of the troop withdrawal in Afghanistan (55 percent), and are upbeat on the economic recovery (53 percent).

Biden, a Democrat, fares less well on immigration, gun violence and crime. On those issues, fewer than half of independents approve of the job he's doing, and his approval among Democrats also has slipped.

On the pandemic, as of Friday, the daily coronavirus new-infection rate was 47 percent compared with the prior week, according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services obtained by ABC News. On July 21, the nation recorded its highest daily number of new cases since April, with 61,939.

More than a third of respondents in the survey approve of the way Biden is handling crime (39 percent), immigration and the situation at the US-Mexico border (37 percent), and gun violence (37 percent).

915 shootings a week

Between July 17 and 23, there were at least 915 incidents of shootings across the US, with at least 430 people killed and more than 1,000 injured, according to an ABC News analysis of data from the Gun Violence Archive. Last week, someone was shot at every 10 minutes.

The organization, in a report published on Sunday, said the shootings are "only a snapshot of the skyrocketing gun violence that has swept the nation in recent months".

Gun violence has caused more than 25,000 deaths this year, the Gun Violence Archive said. Biden has called gun violence a "public health epidemic" in his country.

In a poll by Gallup released on Friday, Biden had an approval rating of 50 percent, down from 56 percent in June and 57 percent in April. The poll was conducted from July 6-21 with 1,007 adults responding. The margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points.

"Biden's approval rating is showing the first signs of meaningful decline," the Gallup report said. "If the lower ratings persist, it could indicate his 'honeymoon' period is over. Because Republicans have been unlikely to support him from the beginning of his presidency, changes in his approval are likely to come from Democrats' and independents' evaluations of him.

Mayhem recounted

On Tuesday, four police officers told lawmakers they were beaten, taunted with racial insults, heard threats including "kill him with his own gun" and thought they might die as they struggled to defend the US Capitol on Jan 6 against a mob of then-president Donald Trump's supporters.

Often tearful, sometimes profane, the officers called the rioters "terrorists" engaged in an "attempted coup" during a long congressional hearing in which they also criticized Republican lawmakers who have sought to downplay the attack.

"I feel like I went to hell and back to protect the people in this room," said District of Columbia police officer Michael Fanone, referring to lawmakers. "The indifference shown to my colleagues is disgraceful," Fanone added, slamming his hand onto the witness table.

It was a dramatic first hearing for a Democratic-led House of Representatives committee formed despite opposition by Trump's fellow Republicans to investigate the worst violence at the Capitol since 1812.

Xinhua and agencies contributed to this story.

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