WEST LONG BRANCH, NJ – Donald Trump’s current job approval rating is the lowest registered in the Monmouth University Poll since he took office, with the biggest drop coming from independent women. Most voters think that the president has not been successful at moving his agenda through Congress and feel his decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel will destabilize the Middle East. Monmouth’s initial generic House ballot match-up for the 2018 election finds Democrats holding a 15 point advantage over Republicans.
Pres. Trump’s current job rating stands at a net negative 32% approve and 56% disapprove. This marks his lowest rating in Monmouth’s polling since taking office in January. Prior polls conducted over the course of the past year showed his approval rating ranging from 39% to 43% and his disapproval rating ranging from 46% to 53%.
The decline in Trump’s job rating has come much more from women – currently 24% approve to 68% disapprove – than from men – currently 40% to 44%. In September, Trump had a 36%-55% rating among women and a 44%-42% rating among men.
The gender gap in the president’s rating crosses party lines. Republican women (67%) are somewhat less likely than Republican men (78%) to give Trump a positive rating. These results are down by 9 points among GOP women since September and by 5 points among GOP men since the fall. The biggest drop has occurred among independent women – just 14% currently approve of Trump’s job performance, which is down by 25 points since September. Among independent men, 31% approve of Trump, down 10 points. Democrats’ ratings of Trump have held steady at just 8% approval among Democratic men and 7% among Democratic women.
“This result is not good for the president, especially coming off the loss of his endorsed candidate in the Alabama Senate race. Republicans have to be worried about being dragged down by the weight of Trump’s negatives in 2018 if this trend continues,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.
In a look ahead to 2018, Democrats currently hold a 15 point advantage on the generic Congress ballot. If the election for House of Representatives were held today, a majority (51%) of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 36% who would support the Republican.
In counties that Trump won by at least 10 points in 2016, voters prefer Republicans for the House by a relatively small 48% to 41% margin. Democrats, not surprisingly, are in the driver’s seat in counties that Hillary Clinton won by at least 10 points, with a 65% to 23% advantage. Democrats have a slight 43% to 40% edge over Republicans on the generic House ballot in “swing” counties where the 2016 presidential margin of victory was less than 10 points.
Other poll results show that only 24% of Americans feel the country is going in the right direction while 66% say it is headed down the wrong track. Public opinion of the U.S. Congress continues to lag behind the president at 16% approve and 65% disapprove. Just over 4-in-10 (42%) feel that Trump has been at least somewhat successful in getting Congress to pass his legislative agenda, while a majority (53%) say he has not been successful. This result is slightly better than the 36% successful and 59% not successful opinion recorded in September.
In the foreign policy arena, the president’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not all that popular with the American public. Just 23% say it is a good idea compared to 39% who say it is a bad idea, with 38% registering no opinion. A majority (51%) think the move will destabilize the Middle East region. Just 10% say relocating the embassy to Jerusalem will make the region more stable and 28% say it will have no effect on the region’s stability.
“Donald Trump has not been making many moves designed to build confidence with the American public,” said Murray.
The Monmouth University Poll also finds widespread agreement that sexual harassment is a serious problem in American society today, including 59% who say this problem is very serious and 26% who say it is somewhat serious. Most Americans (71%) say that sexual harassment is no more likely to happen in government and politics than it is in other types of workplaces, although 20% feel it is more likely to happen in the political world compared to 6% who say it is more likely to happen in other workplaces.
Most Americans feel that news reports about sexual misconduct by officeholders from both the Republican (55%) and Democratic (56%) parties have been generally accurate. About 1-in-4 say these reports have been exaggerated – 23% for Republican officeholders and 24% for Democrats. Less than 1-in-10 say these stories have been totally made up – 7% for Republican officeholders and 4% for Democrats.
Not surprisingly, Republican-leaning members of the public are somewhat more likely to believe reports about Democratic politicians than about Republicans and the opposite is true for Democratic-leaning Americans. However, Republicans are, on the whole, also less likely to believe any reports of sexual misconduct among politicians regardless of party. Just 37% say such reports about GOP officeholders are accurate and 47% say the same for reports about Democratic officeholders. Among Americans who identify as Democrats, 75% say the reports are accurate for GOP office holders and 63% say the same for reports about Democratic office holders. There is no significant difference among independents – 54% believe reports about GOP officeholders and 57% believe reports about Democratic officeholders.
On a more academic note, given the results from yesterday’s special election in Alabama – if Roy Moore had won the race for U.S. Senate, 75% of Americans believe the Senate ethics committee should have investigated his past relationships with teenage girls and 58% say the Senate should have held a vote to determine whether Moore was qualified to be seated.
The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from December 10 to 12, 2017 with 806 adults in the United States. The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.
QUESTIONS AND RESULTS
(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)
1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?
12% (VOL) No opinion
2. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?
19% (VOL) No opinion
3. Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?
24% Right direction
66% Wrong track
7% (VOL) Depends
3% (VOL) Don’t know
4/4A. [REPORTED FOR REGISTERED VOTERS ONLY:] If the election for U.S. Congress was held today, would you vote for the Republican or the Democratic candidate in your district? [ INCLUDING LEANERS. ITEMS WERE ROTATED ]
2% (VOL) Other
11% (VOL) Don’t know
[ Q5-6 held for future release. ]
7. In your view, how successful has President Trump been at getting Congress to pass his legislative agenda – very successful, somewhat successful, not too successful, or not at all successful?
5% Very successful
37% Somewhat successful
29% Not too successful
24% Not at all successful
5% (VOL) Don’t know
[ Q8 held for future release. ]
9. Have you heard about President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel and recognize Jerusalem as that nation’s capital, or have you not heard about this?
79% Yes, have heard
21% No, have not heard
10. Do you think moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem is a good idea or bad idea, or do you have no opinion either way?
23% Good idea
39% Bad idea
38% No opinion
11. Do you think moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem will make the Middle East region more stable or less stable, or will it have no effect on Middle East stability?
10% More stable
51% Less stable
28% No effect
11% (VOL) Don’t know
12. How serious a problem is sexual harassment in American society today – very serious, somewhat serious, not too serious, or not at all serious?
59% Very serious
26% Somewhat serious
9% Not too serious
2% Not at all serious
4% (VOL) Don’t know
13. Do you think that sexual harassment of women is more likely to happen in politics and government than in other workplaces, is it less likely to happen in politics and government, or is it about as likely to happen in politics and government as in other workplaces?
20% More likely
6% Less likely
71% About as likely
1% (VOL) Depends
3% (VOL) Don’t know
[ QUESTIONS 14 & 15 WERE ROTATED ]
14. Do you think recent news reports claiming that Republican officeholders have engaged in sexual misconduct are generally accurate, have been exaggerated, or have been totally made up?
55% Generally accurate
23% Been exaggerated
7% Been totally made up
6% (VOL) Depends on which person/report
9% (VOL) Don’t know
15. Do you think recent news reports claiming that Democratic officeholders have engaged in sexual misconduct are generally accurate, have been exaggerated, or have been totally made up?
56% Generally accurate
24% Been exaggerated
4% Been totally made up
7% (VOL) Depends on which person/report
10% (VOL) Don’t know
16. Alabama is holding a special election to fill a vacant U.S. Senate seat. One of the candidates, Republican Roy Moore, has been reported to have had relationships with teenage girls when he was in his 30s including sexual contact with at least one of those teens. Have you heard about these reports or not?
24% Not heard
17. Do you believe these reports, or not?
12% Not believe
13% (VOL) Don’t know
24% Not heard [from Q16]
18. The U.S. Senate has the power to determine whether someone is qualified to be a member. If Roy Moore wins the Alabama election, should the U.S. Senate hold a vote to determine whether he can take his seat, or should they not do this?
58% Should hold a vote
31% Should not hold a vote
11% (VOL) Don’t know
18A. If Moore is seated, should the Senate ethics committee investigate his reported conduct, or not?
75% Yes, should investigate
19% No, should not investigate
6% (VOL) Don’t know
[ Q19-36 held for future release. ]
The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from December 10 to 12, 2017 with a national random sample of 806 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 403 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 403 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design). Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.