By Steven Sherperd
April 20, 2017
As Donald Trump nears the 100-day mark in the White House, voters are grading his performance on a partisan curve.
Republicans are inclined to give him good grades on his performance in office so far – mostly A’s and B’s. Democrats are tougher in their assessments – mostly D’s and F’s, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll.
Trump earns his highest marks on fighting terrorism, the poll shows. But when Trump reaches his 100th day in office next week — a historical marker for each new administration – his failure to shepherd a promised health care bill through Congress will be noted by voters. On health care, climate change and Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp” of special interests in Washington, voters are far more critical of the new president’s performance thus far.
Earlier this week, Trump described his administration’s achievements in glowing terms at an event in Wisconsin.
“No administration has accomplished more in the first 90 days — that includes on military, on the border, on trade, on regulation, on law enforcement — we love our law enforcement — and on government reform,” he said.
Voter perceptions of Trump’s tenure don’t necessarily reflect that rosy assessment. Asked to grade Trump’s first three months as president overall, 16 percent give Trump an “A,” and another 23 percent award Trump a “B.”
But roughly as many voters give Trump poor marks. Trump gets a “D” from 13 percent of voters, and nearly a quarter, 24 percent, give him an “F.”
One reason is that partisanship continues to dominate and color opinions of Trump’s nascent presidency. Nearly half of self-identified Democratic voters, 48 percent, give Trump an “F” grade, and an additional 19 percent award him a “D.”
Republicans and Trump voters view Trump’s presidency more positively, but he isn’t earning straight “A”s from his base.
“There’s a persistent media narrative that President Trump can do no wrong among his base of supporters,” said Morning Consult’s Chief Research Officer and Co-Founder Kyle Dropp. “But this polling suggests that, at the very least, many of his voters see room for improvement. Forty-two percent of Trump voters grade his first 100 days a ‘B’ and another 23 percent give him a ‘C’ or worse.”
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted April 13-15, surveying 1,992 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
When voters are asked to grade Trump’s early performance in 10 different policy areas, Trump scores highest on fighting terrorism. A combined 49 percent of voters give Trump an “A” or “B” grade on the issue — but on each of the other policy areas, fewer than two-in-five voters give Trump an “A” or “B” grade.
On foreign relations, Trump earns an “A” from only 12 percent of voters. Another 22 percent give him a “B,” 17 percent a “C,” 15 percent a “D” and 26 percent an “F.”
Voters are divided on Trump’s early immigration policies. More than one-in-five, 21 percent, give Trump an “A” grade, and another 18 percent give Trump a “B.” But three-in-10 give Trump a failing grade, and another 10 percent give him a barely-passing “D.”
Trump mentioned trade as an accomplishment earlier this week, but only 13 percent give Trump an “A” on the issue. Twenty-one percent give him a “B,” 20 percent a “C,” 12 percent a “D” and 19 percent an “F.”
On the economy — a signature Trump issue — the president gets an “A” from 17 percent of voters, with an additional 22 percent giving him a “B.” Fewer voters give him poor marks than for other topics, but 21 percent still award Trump an “F.” (Trump’s grades on jobs are virtually identical to those for the economy.)
The harshest spot on Trump’s report card is health care, likely owing to the collapse last month of the Republican effort to replace the 2010 health care law.
Only 9 percent of voters give Trump an “A” on health care — including only 20 percent of Republicans and 16 percent of Trump voters. Trump earns a “B” from 16 percent of voters, a “C” from 19 percent and a “D” from 15 percent. Nearly a third of poll respondents, 32 percent, give Trump an “F” on health care — equal to another issue on which Trump is weak, climate change.
Remember the common “Drain the swamp!”refrain at Trump rallies during the general election? The president is earning poor marks on putting the chant into practice, the poll shows. Only 10 percent give Trump an “A” on draining the swamp, and another 14 percent give him a “B.”
By contrast, 27 percent of voters, including nearly half of Democrats, give Trump a failing “F” grade. But nearly a quarter of poll respondents, 24 percent, have no opinion on Trump’s performance in draining the swamp.
Looking beyond Trump’s report card, voters are similarly divided on the future trajectory of his presidency. While 44 percent expect Trump’s performance to get better, just as many say it will get worse (30 percent) or stay about the same (16 percent).
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There’s more optimism about his ability to mature in office among Republicans: More than three-in-four, 76 percent, think Trump will get better. A majority of Democratic voters, 53 percent, expect Trump’s performance to get worse.
Trump’s current approval rating in the survey is 48 percent, with 45 percent of voters disapproving — figures that are more positive than most other public polls.
Trump isn’t the only Washington actor earning poor marks from voters. Only a combined 30 percent give congressional Republicans an “A” or “B” grade, and just 27 percent give congressional Democrats those same high marks. A combined 39 percent give the Hill GOP a “D” or “F,” and 38 percent give those marks to Democrats in Congress.
Voters also split evenly on an early read on the 2018 midterm elections: 40 percent would vote for the Democratic candidate in their district, and 40 percent would vote for the Republican. One-in-five voters are undecided.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.
More details on the poll and its methodology can be found in these two documents — Toplines: http://politi.co/2oogumt | Crosstabs: http://politi.co/2phmzWf
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