Tuesday, December 12th, 2017

The Trump
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Trump Approval

Trump Approval

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US Direction

Partisanship is a force in approval ratings

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To gauge approval of various high-ranking executive and congressional officials a nationwide online survey of 1031 likely US voters was conducted from June 9- June 12, 2017. Thousands of adults were randomly invited to participate in this interactive survey. The margin of error for this sample size is +/-3.1 percentage points.

While president Trump's approval, at 40%, is low for a beginning president, it is higher than that of his attorney general (35%), Congress (25%) and congressional leaders (these range from 29% for Nancy Pelosi to 36% for Paul Ryan).

Secretary of defense, James Mattis, is the only official we have looked at who has a higher approval than Trump, 43% vs. 40%. Furthermore, Mattis potentially has more room for growth because 32% of likely voters are not sure whether they approve of the job he is doing, compared to only 5% for Trump. Mattis has some bi-partisan support as well - 62% (strongly approve and somewhat approve combined) of Republicans approve of the job he is doing vs. 29% of Democrats, compared to only 12% of Democrats who approve of the president.

On the other hand, the job approval for Jeff Sessions, Trump's attorney general and a target of some recent speculation of a rift with the president, has lower approval numbers than Trump: 35% vs. 40% for Trump. The apparently lower support for Session is most likely due to the fact that a lot of likely voters - 26% - don't have an opinion about his performance.

The job Congress overall is doing has the lowest approval rating of all - 25%. The approval numbers of congressional Democrats and Republicans and their leaders are a bit higher, however, as some partisans who disapprove of Congress as a whole approve of their own side. Thus, congressional Democrats enjoy a job approval rating of 34% and congressional Republicans of 30%, both higher than Congress as a whole and driven almost exclusively by their own side (54% of Republicans approve of Republicans in Congress vs. 14% of Democrats who approve of Republicans in Congress, and, similarly, 54% of Democrats approve of Democrats in Congress vs. 18% of Republicans who approve of Democrats in Congress).

Of all the congressional leaders, Paul Ryan has the highest albeit still middling approval rating - 36%. Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnel have approval ratings 33% and 30%, respectively, and Nancy Pelosi has an overall approval rating of 29%. Once again, there are huge partisan differences. Chuck Schumer's approval rating is 45% among Democrats and only 27% Republicans approve of him, and he is one of the less polarizing figures. Nancy Pelosi has a positive approval of 47% Democrats and 16% Republicans and Paul Ryan has 61% approval among Republicans and 19% among Democrats - more than a 40 point difference.

Independent voters as a group tend to be in between partisans in terms of their approval. Among them, Paul Ryan has the highest approval at 30% followed by Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConell at 24%, and Nancy Pelosi at 22%.

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