Amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has declined since last month, and cracks in the president’s base are part of the reason.
President Trump’s job approval score stands at 39% among Americans, down from 42% in December 2018. The president’s negative rating is 53%, a 4-point increase from 49% previously. Trump’s job approval rating has declined among Republicans, 83% from 90%. Among white evangelical Christians, Trump’s approval rating is now +43 points, down from +56 points in December. Among men who reside in small cities or the suburbs, President Trump’s score is upside down, 42% to 48%. A little more than a month ago, a majority of these residents (51%) approved of how Trump was doing his job. 39%, at the time, did not. The president’s approval score among white men without a college education (50%) is now +15 points over his negative rating (35%), marking a change from a previous +22 points at the end of the year (56% to 34%).
The proportion of Americans who strongly disapprove of how the president is doing his job (45%) is nearly double those who strongly approve (24%). Adults who report an intense dissatisfaction with Mr. Trump’s job performance matches the largest proportion with this view (45%) since December 2017.
“In the middle of the government shutdown, Americans think the buck stops with the president, and his approval rating is taking a hit,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Keep an eye on whether the decline in the president’s base is a temporary setback or more long-lasting.”
Although still considerably underwater, more Americans have a positive perception of the job Republicans and Democrats are doing in Congress than they did last summer. 29% of registered voters approve of how the congressional GOP is doing its job, up from 23% in July 2018. A majority of voters (58%) currently disapprove. Similarly, 34% of voters approve of the job performance of congressional Democrats, up from 23%. A majority (53%) currently disapprove.
Americans value compromise but do not think President Trump or congressional Democrats are doing enough to find common ground. More than six in ten Americans (63%), including 70% of Democrats and 58% of Republicans, say they like elected officials who compromise with people with whom they disagree. Little more than three in ten (31%) report they like elected officials who stick to their positions. In an April 2017 Pew Survey conducted by Princeton Survey Associates International, 58% said they appreciate officials who compromise, 39% reported they liked officials who stuck with their positions.
Americans think both President Trump and the Democrats in Congress need to do more to work together. Nearly six in ten Americans (57%), including one in four Republicans, report the Trump Administration has done too little to work with congressional Democrats while only 8% say the White House has done too much to find common ground. More than one in four adults nationally (26%) say the Trump Administration has done about the right amount to work with the Democrats in Congress.
When Pew reported this question in 2017, 53% of Americans thought the Trump White House was doing too little to work with the Democrats in Congress. Seven percent said they were doing too much, and 36% reported the Administration was adequately working with congressional Democrats.
A majority of Americans (55%), including more than one in three Democrats, also believe the Democrats in Congress are doing too little to work with the Trump Administration. Five percent say they are doing too much, and 28% report they are doing about the right amount to work with the White House.
In the 2017 Pew Survey, 57% of Americans thought the Democrats in Congress were doing too little to work with the president. Five percent said congressional Democrats were doing too much, and 34% said they were doing about the right amount to work together, similar to the current results.
Republicans and Republican leaning independents divide about whether partisan allegiance to the president should be stronger than the convictions of Republican lawmakers. 49% say congressional Republicans do not have an obligation to support the Trump agenda if they disagree with it while 45% say they have an obligation to support the president’s agenda because he is a Republican president.
Looking ahead to 2020, President Trump faces strong headwinds. Republican and Republican leaning independents divide about whether or not they want the president to have a primary challenger. 45% say they do not want President Trump to face a primary opponent in 2020. 44% do, and 11% are unsure. When The Marist Poll asked this question of Democrats and Democratic leaning independents about President Obama in November 2010, a similar 46% did not want the president to be challenged in the primary, and 45% did. Nine percent were unsure.
Only three in ten American voters (30%) say they will definitely vote for Trump in November of 2020 compared with 57% who say they will definitely vote against him, a net of -27. Of note, only 69% of Republicans, 76% of Trump supporters from 2016, and 58% of white evangelical Christians report they will definitely support the president’s reelection bid. When The Marist Poll asked this question about President Obama in November 2010, around the same time in his Presidency, 36% reported they would definitely vote to re-elect him. 48% said they definitely planned to vote against him, a net of -12.
Is there a viable Republicans challenger to President Trump? Republicans and Republican leaning independents do not have a favorable opinion of Senator Mitt Romney. 29% have a positive view of him, and 48% have an unfavorable one. 23% have either never heard of Romney or are unsure how to rate him. The Republican jury is out on former Ohio Governor John Kasich. 28% of Republicans and Republican leaning independents have an unfavorable impression of him. 24% have a favorable one, and 48% have either never heard of Kasich or are unsure how to rate him.
A wide field of Democratic challengers is expected in 2020. Among the list of potential candidates, former Vice President Joe Biden (76%) has the highest favorable rating. Senator Bernie Sanders (57%) and Senator Elizabeth Warren (53%) follow and are the only candidates who have favorable scores above 50%. Of the ten potential candidates mentioned, all are viewed more favorably than unfavorably with the exception of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose scores are even.