Americans decry Trump’s axing of Tillerson by tweet

March 23, 2018

Americans are more riled up than usual about President Donald Trump’s reliance on Twitter —and even Republicans are remonstrating, based on findings of an Economist/YouGov poll released on March 21.

Feelings seem to have been exacerbated, the pollsters said, when President Trump used a tweet to inform former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 13 that he would be replaced by current Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo.

The percentage of Republicans who believed that the President’s  use of Twitter was “appropriate” dropped 10 points in the week after Trump’s tweet was sent, YouGov said. Overall assessment dropped six points in that period.

The actual tweet, when evaluated by the YouGov Tweetindex the day after the President sent it, received typically poor grades from Democrats and reasonably good ones from Republicans, with Independents tilting slightly negative.

However, when asked directly over the weekend following the dismissal about the firing via Twitter, the vast majority of the public—Republicans and Democrats alike—expressed dismay: overall, just 9% found the firing method appropriate, 69% did not. Republicans agreed that the firing by Twitter was inappropriate, 59% to 16%.


GOP falters in suburban districts

March 22, 2018

Americans now favor Democratic control of Congress by 10 points—50% to 40%—up 6 points from last month, with the GOP losing support among key voter groups, based on findings of an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on March 18.

The numbers, combined with results of last week’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district, suggest “a very rocky midterm season may await Republicans this fall.” According to the pollsters.

Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll

Several key segments of the electorate that the GOP targets to push the party over the top are showing declining support—with support among white voters down 3 points to 47% since January; backing in GOP districts down 6 points to 46%; enthusiasm among suburbanites down 7 points to 43%; and endorsement among white-collar workers down by 9 points to 38%.

There was a huge 13-point decline among 18- to 34-year-old voters to,  29%.

NBC notes, “Those changes look particularly concerning for Republicans when you compare them to results from past elections. In the 2014 midterms, for instance, Republicans won white voters by a large margin, 60% to 38%. And that year, the GOP won the vote out of the suburbs, 52% to 43%.”

Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll

On the danger list, the pollsters believe: Republican districts that were already seen as competitive in suburban/urban areas around Atlanta, Detroit, Cleveland, the Twin Cities, New York City—even Omaha, Nebraska.

Research contact: @Dchinni

Voters don’t give Trump a pass on gun control, healthcare, or Dreamers

March 21, 2018

Americans are paying close attention to several policy areas—among them, immigration, healthcare, gun violence and North Korea—in which they think President Donald Trump has taken the wrong approach, based on findings of a George Washington University Battleground Poll released on March 12.

Specifically, the poll of 1,000 registered U.S. voters nationwide found that a majority are worried about the POTUS’s handling of immigration (42% approve, 56% disapprove), healthcare (38%/56%), gun violence (39%/55%) and North Korea (41%/53%). 

Chief among the areas of concern is gun control. When asked how closely they’ve been following a given topic, almost all respondents said they were “closely” (72%) or “somewhat closely” (22%) following the aftermath of the premeditated mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, a month ago.

On the Russia investigation, a slightly large number of respondents now believe that “members of the Trump campaign committed crimes and actively assisted Russia’s efforts”—up  to 39% from 31% in the previous edition of the GW Battleground Poll in August 2017. However, voters were split over how much the issue will matter to them when they enter their polling places next November: 41% said it was” not at all important” in the context of their 2018 voting decisions. About the same amount said it was “extremely important” (27%) or “very important” (13%) important to them. More Independents said it was “extremely important” (28%) or “very important” (12%) than “not important at all” (36%).

“The composition of the poll’s respondent universe reminds us that, even as issues rise and fall swiftly in the news these days, the electorate remains heavily skewed toward middle-aged and older voters,” said Michael Cornfield, associate professor of Political Management and research director of the GW Center for Political Management. “Candidate positions on issues that matter greatly to young people, starting with the heavily followed Parkland shooting story that stars high school activists, could be significant in enlarging the traditionally small voter pool for the midterm elections.”

Moving to the economy—a marginally brighter spot in the public’s perception—opinions still were split. The poll found that about half (52%) of likely voters approved of the approach that the president has taken with respect to jobs, with 41% disapproving. The split was similar for his handling of the overall economy (51% approve, 45% disapprove).

Voters are conflicted about the state of the American dream. Almost three-quarters (72%) think that they will be financially better off in five years, but only one-third (37%) believe that the next generation will be better off economically.

Looking ahead to this year’s congressional elections, the GW Battleground Poll found a slight shift in voters’ attitudes toward the candidates. Presented with a generic ballot, 49% of voters chose a Democrat and 40% chose a Republican. In the previous edition of the GW Battleground Poll, those figures were 44% and 38%, respectively. Undecided voters decreased to 12% from 1%.

Democrats also appeared more enthusiastic than did Republicans ahead of the midterm elections. Among voters who say they are “extremely likely” to vote in the upcoming midterms, 51% prefer Democrats, while 39% prefer Republicans. Among voters who say they are “very likely” to vote, Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage (48% to 38%).

The George Washington University Battleground Poll is a series of surveys conducted by Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group and Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners. GW’s Graduate School of Political Management (GSPM) and the School of Media and Public Affairs (SMPA) serve as the university’s home for the partnership.

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80% of Americans think the ‘Deep State’ is spying on them

March 20, 2018

Eighty percent of Americans believe that the U.S. government is spying on the U.S. population—and worry that the U.S. government could be invading their personal privacy, based on findings of a Monmouth University Poll released on March 19.

That includes a majority (53%) who say this activity is widespread; as well as another 29% who say such monitoring happens but is not widespread. Just 14% say this monitoring does not happen at all.

There are no substantial partisan differences in these results: 57% of Independents, 51% of Republicans, and 50% of Democrats are at least somewhat worried that the federal government is monitoring their activities. Another 24% of respondents are “not too worried” and 22% are “not at all worried

The 803 adults nationwide who responded to the poll earlier this month also represent a large plurality who think that national policy is being manipulated or directed by a “Deep State” of unelected government officials.

Americans of color on the center and left and NRA members on the right are among those most worried about the reach of government prying into average citizens’ lives.

Just over half of respondents either are “very worried” (23%) or “somewhat worried” (30%) that the U.S. government is monitoring their activities and invading their privacy.”

“This is a worrisome finding. The strength of our government relies on public faith in protecting our freedoms, which is not particularly robust. And it’s not a Democratic or Republican issue. These concerns span the political spectrum,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.


Confidence in Mueller’s investigation remains steadfast

March 19, 2018

Special Counsel Robert Mueller may well be the most-scrutinized man in America—as he continues the Russia investigation under the wary and wrathful eyes of President Donald Trump, as well as under the cautiously hopeful attention of the U.S. public.

A majority of Americans (61%) still say that they are very or somewhat confident Mueller will conduct a fair investigation, based on findings of a poll of 1,466 U.S. adults by Pew Research Center released on March 15. These views have changed only modestly since December, the pollsters claim.

Specifically, nearly half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (46%) are very or somewhat confident Mueller will conduct a fair investigation. Democrats and Democratic leaners are overwhelmingly confident Mueller’s investigation will be fair (75% very or somewhat confident).

About four-in-ten Americans (42%) are very or somewhat confident that the administration will make a serious effort to thwart Russian efforts to influence future elections. Most are not too confident (19%) or not at all confident (36%) the Trump administration will take serious action to prevent Russia from influencing future elections in this country.

In addition, the poll has found that the public is divided in opinions about the ultimate impact of Russian efforts to influence the 2016 presidential election: 48% say these efforts did not benefit either Trump or Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, while 43% say they benefited Trump. Very few Americans (4%) think Russian actions benefited Clinton.

Three-quarters of Republicans and Republican leaners say that Russia’s meddling didn’t benefit either campaign very much. A nearly identical share of Democrats and Democratic leaners (74%) say it benefited Trump’s campaign.

There also are sizeable differences between parties—and wide ideological differences within each—on whether the Trump administration had improper contact with Russia during the 2016 campaign.

Overall, 58% of the public say that senior members of the Trump administration likely had improper contact with Russia during the 2016 campaign, including 25% who say they “definitely” did and 33% who say they “probably” did. As with views of Mueller’s investigation, these opinions are relatively unchanged since December.

An overwhelming share of Democrats (88%) says that improper contact probably (45%) or definitely (43%) occurred. Liberal Democrats (54%) are far more likely than conservative and moderate Democrats (33%) to say such contacts definitely took place.

By contrast, seven-in-ten Republicans (71%) say that senior members of the Trump administration probably or definitely did not have improper contact with Russia.

While 40% of conservative Republicans say improper campaign contacts between senior Trump officials and Russia definitely did not occur, just 14% of moderate and liberal Republicans say the same.

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ACA credited for Lamb victory in special election

March 16, 2018

Following the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District on March 13, Affordable Care Act advocates are touting a telephone exit poll of voters showing that fully 52% of those who cast ballots saw healthcare as a top priority—and they believed that Democrat Conor Lamb better represented their views on the issue than did his opponent, Republican Rick Saccone.

Conducted by Public Policy Polling within the heavily Republican district—which President Trump won by 20 points in 2016—the research found that voters remain angry about Republican efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare last summer, The Washington Post reports.  

On healthcare, voters said Lamb better reflected their views by 7 points (45% to 38%) over Saccone. Among Independents, that gap widened to 16 points—with 50% saying Lamb’s healthcare views were more in line with theirs.

Saccone advocated for repealing the ACA and called on his website for “using free-market principles to fix our health-care crisis.” The Washington Post reported, noting, “His defeat raises many questions for Republican candidates eyeing this election year nervously—including how to talk about healthcare now that Congress has failed to repeal the law.”

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72% of Americans support National School Walkout

March 15, 2018

More than seven in ten Americans (72%) support the right of students to walk out of their classrooms to protest gun violence, based on findings of a Marist Poll released on March 13—the day before the national demonstration was scheduled to take place.

Indeed, a majority of the 1, 050 U.S. adults who responded to the poll believe that students who participate in the National School Walkout should not face disciplinary action from their educators. This includes even a majority of gun owners (58%), Republicans (53%), and those who supported President Trump in the 2016 election (53%).

What’s more, 77% of respondents think the students from Parkland, Florida, who have been speaking out against gun violence and the mass shooting at their high school will have either a major (33%) or minor (44%) impact on gun reform in the United States

Another 22% think these students should be punished, while 19% think the students will not have any impact on the issue at all.

In another Marist Poll, conducted in late February, a similar 74% of U.S. adults said these students would influence the gun debate. The proportion who thought they would not have any impact has decreased from 23%.

Research contact: @LeeMiringoff

With a meeting in the works, fewer fear North Korea

March 14, 2018

Americans increasingly approve of the White House’s handling of the North Korea situation, following President Donald Trump’s acceptance of a meeting invitation from the Hermit Kingdom’s leader, Kim Jong Un.

Based on findings of a poll of 1,223 adults nationwide by CBS News—conducted by SSRS during the past week and released on March 13—64% of Americans still express unease about the situation.

However, 32%—most of them, Republicans—now are “confident that [the Korea situation] will resolve without conflict.” Specifically, the number of nervous Republicans has dropped by a dramatic 19 points since the last poll was taken.

The president’s approval rating on handling North Korea has risen to 42%, according to CBS News, from where it was in January (34%). Disapproval now stands at 50%—down from 59% last August. The uptick in approval comes mostly from independents and Republicans.

The president’s overall job approval rating remains virtually unchanged, now at 38%. As has been the case since the start of his term, a large majority of Republicans continue to approve of the job he’s doing, while most Democrats disapprove.

Research contact: @CBSNews

57% of Americans say Trump is racist

March 13, 2018

Just under half of all Americans (49%) say race relations are worse nationwide than they were a year ago; while 12% say they are better and 37% say they are about the same—based on findings of a poll, released on February 28 by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Indeed, 57% of the 1,337 U.S. adults who responded to the poll last month say they believe President Trump is a racist.

African-Americans expressed more pessimistic views, with 65% stating that race relations are worse today than they were a year ago; compared with 45% of whites—and 53% stating that race relations will deteriorate over the coming year, as compared to 37% of whites.

Half of Americans believe that African-Americans have a disadvantage when it comes to getting ahead in the United States, while 60% think whites have an advantage.

Two-thirds of Americans are unhappy with the way Trump is handling race relations, including 59% of whites and 91% of African-Americans. Forty-seven percent of adults say the things that Donald Trump is doing as POTUS have been bad for African-Americans. Blacks are twice as likely as whites to hold this view.

Research contact: @EL_Swan

Should Kushner lose his White House gig?

March 12, 2018

More than half of Americans (55%) say that it worries them that President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has had access to top-secret information during the past year, while 41% say it is not a problem, based on findings of a Monmouth University Poll among 803 U.S. adults  released on March 7.

Kushner’s security clearance was taken down a peg in late February by Chief of Staff John Kelly, after the POTUS, himself, disencumbered himself from the political and personal decision.

Since the 2017 inauguration, Kushner had been working at the White House in a senior adviser role that enabled him to read top-security reports prepared for the president’s eyes (and those of his most-trusted and highly vetted staff) only.

His security clearance has now been downgraded to “secret”—representing a substantial diminution of his access and power.

The Monmouth poll finds that the public is divided on the role that the Trump family business plays in administration policymaking. Overall, 43% believe that the personal financial interests of Trump family members have too much influence on policy decisions made by the president. Another 20% say these personal interests have an acceptable amount of influence and 31% say they have no influence on presidential decision-making.

Few Americans (24%), though, think it is a good idea that the president’s son-in-law is working in the White House as an unpaid senior adviser. Fully 6-in-10 (60%) think it is a bad idea.

A majority (55%) of respondents to the Monmouth poll also think that Kushner should resign from his position, while 33% say he should continue working in the White House.

About six out of ten (62%) of those polled had already heard about Kushner’s security clearance downgrade before being interviewed and, among this group, 57% say his prior access to top-secret information worries them with 61% saying Kushner should resign.

Most Americans (57%) say that the Trump family’s personal financial interests or other ties to Russia definitely (29%) or probably (28%) influence the way Trump deals with that country’s government. Less than 40% say these ties do not play a role in the president’s approach to Russian relations (19%, probably no;t and 17%, definitely not).

The public is divided on whether the Trump administration may be too friendly toward Russia. For the president himself, 52% are concerned that Trump is too friendly and 46% are not concerned. Similarly, 52% are concerned that other members of the administration are too friendly and 43% are not concerned about this.

The public also is divided on whether Trump’s attitude toward Russia presents a national security threat: Fully 50% say it does and 45% say it does not. These results have not changed significantly from polls taken last year. Specifically, concern that Trump is too friendly toward Russia has ranged from 48% to 54% since he took office.

“When it comes to how Trump deals with Russia, the American public seems to have locked in their views months ago. Actions taken, or not taken, by the administration and revelations about the investigation over the past year have done little to move this opinion,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll finds, though, that nearly two-thirds (64%) say the Russian government is definitely (26%) or probably (38%) trying to interfere in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. And nearly three-quarters of Americans say that Russia definitely (43%) or probably (30%) interfered in the 2016 U.S. election.

The 73% who now believe in the likelihood of Russian interference in 2016 is up from 65% who said the same in July 2017.

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