As Joe Biden’s first quarter as president comes to a close, polls indicate he’s substantially more popular than Donald Trump was during the same period. His net popularity, however, has struggled to climb much higher than half the population, according to Gallup polling.

Biden’s approval rate as of mid-February was 56%. It’s remained fairly consistent throughout his term, with his average popularity standing at 57%. The latest polling average from RealClearPolitics has his approval rating at 53%.

US President Joe Biden's name will not appear on the $1,400 stimulus checks going out to most Americans
US President Joe Biden's name will not appear on the $1,400 stimulus checks going out to most Americans AFP / Olivier DOULIERY

Trump’s approval rating during the same period was just 42%. That’s almost the same number of people that currently disapprove of Biden’s performance.

While this might seem like a win for Biden, historic averages complicate the picture. The average presidential approval rating sits at 53%, at or below Biden’s depending on what poll is used.

It’s common, however, for a president to have a honeymoon phase right after they win office. While Biden beats full-term averages, the standard approval rating for the period Biden is in right now is 61%, higher than all Biden polls but one performed by Politico and Morning Consult.

That could spell trouble for Biden going forward. He’s presented himself as a unity candidate. He’s also thus far been able to focus on policy goals with broad public support, like stimulus checks and fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

As his honeymoon phase ends, he’s hoping to continue that trend with a massive plan to create jobs through infrastructure renewal. But with approval ratings already below average for the period and congressional Democrats pushing for more controversial policy proposals, it’s far from certain whether Biden’s middle-of-the-road approach to politics will pay dividends.