As Americans get to know first lady Melania Trump, their opinion of her has improved, according to a new Gallup poll. In early January, the percentage of people who viewed Trump favorably and unfavorably was tied at 37 percent; as of early December, a 54 percent majority of Americans view her favorably while 33 percent view her unfavorably and 13 percent have no opinion. President Trump's approval rating has notched up 1 point in that same time period, to 41 percent now, but so has his unfavorable number, 56 percent.
The fact that more people like Melania Trump than President Trump "is consistent with Gallup's findings that recent first ladies are, on average, more popular than their husbands," Gallup says, though "Hillary Clinton averaged 1 point lower favorability than Bill Clinton over the course of his presidency." Still, like her husband, Melania Trump's popularity lags behind her predecessors at this point in her first year as first lady — Michelle Obama had a 61 percent favorable rating, Laura Bush's was 77 percent, and Hillary Clinton's was 58 percent.
Fewer women than men view Melania Trump favorably, 51 percent versus 57 percent, and the same is true of President Trump, with 33 percent of women and 50 percent of men viewing him favorably. Gallup conducted its poll Dec. 4-11 among 1,049 U.S. adults; it has a margin of sampling error of ±4 percentage points. Peter Weber
A new survey from the Pew Research Center found broad agreement among Democrats and Republicans about the importance of the GOP tax legislation, a sharp partisan split over Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian collusion, and almost no good news for President Trump on his job approval. Overall, 32 percent of Americans (and 34 percent of registered voters) approve of Trump's performance, down from 39 percent in February, and most of the losses are from conservatives.
Trump still has majority support from Republicans (76 percent) and white evangelical Protestants (61 percent), but those are the only groups polled where Trump's approval rating is higher than 46 percent. The 17-point drop among evangelicals since February is especially steep.
Trump's support also dropped significantly among white Americans without a college degree, Catholics, and moderate Republicans. He has a 7 percent approval rating among black Americans and also Democrats, and the only demographic where his approval ratings is unchanged is Hispanics, steady at 17 percent. The poll was conducted among 1,503 adults from Nov. 29 to Dec. 4, and it has a margin of sampling error of ±2.9 percentage points. Peter Weber
Democrats are heavy favorites on a generic 2018 ballot. Here's why that doesn't guarantee a liberal wave.
Democrats are poised for potentially sweeping victories in the 2018 midterm elections — if only they would show up to vote. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll found that hypothetical Democratic candidates are favored by voters against their Republican counterparts 51 percent to 40 percent. But "winnow down to those who say they voted in the last midterms and are certain to do so again and the contest snaps essentially to a dead heat, 48-46 percent," ABC News writes.
— ABC News (@ABC) November 6, 2017
Democrats have often led generic ballots ahead of midterm elections, only for Republicans to surge ahead in the actual results, such as in 2010 and 2014. Still, the last time the Post and ABC News found such a significant spread in their hypothetical election poll was in October 2006, before a major Democratic wave.
That doesn't mean Democrats don't have their work cut out for them. The poll "suggests Democrats' antipathy toward Trump has not translated to greater motivation to vote, with an identical 63 percent of Democratic-leaning and Republican-leaning registered voters saying they are absolutely certain to vote next year," the Post writes.
On Monday, President Trump hit a new low in Gallup's three-day polling average, at 33 percent approval and 62 percent disapproval, a 29-point favorability deficit. Since Dwight D. Eisenhower, only two presidents have ever recorded Gallup numbers that low: Richard Nixon and George W. Bush. In an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday, Trump also hit a new low, 38 percent approval and 58 percent disapproval, a sharp decline from September.
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) October 30, 2017
"The daily Gallup numbers tend to be noisy," says Phillip Bump at The Washington Post. "As a result, we instead prefer to look at Gallup’s weekly averages — in which Trump sank back down to his low of 35 percent," hit back in early September. In the NBC/WSJ poll, Trump's drop "has come from independents (who shifted from 41 percent approval in September to 34 percent now), whites (who went from 51 percent to 47 percent), and whites without a college degree (from 58 percent to 51 percent)," all parts of his base, NBC News says. No president in modern times has hit 38 percent this early in his presidency.
— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) October 30, 2017
The Gallup daily average "includes surveys conducted on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the latter two days of which followed initial revelations that indictments were imminent," Bump notes. "Whether the indictments themselves will push Trump lower — or help move him higher — remains to be seen." The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted Oct. 23-26 among 900 adults and has a margin of error of ±3.3 percentage points. Peter Weber
Only 34 percent of Americans support the tax plan being promoted by President Trump and congressional Republicans while 52 percent oppose them, according to a new SSRS poll for CNN. Support depends on partisan identification — 81 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of independents oppose the plan, while 70 percent of Republicans support it. Interestingly, 24 percent of respondents said they thought they and their families would be better off under the GOP tax plan, while 31 percent said they expect to be worse off and 37 percent said they would likely be the same. A recent CBS News poll found that 58 percent of Americans said the tax proposals primarily favor the wealthy.
A plurality of respondents, 38 percent, said the plan would increase the federal deficit, while only 22 percent said it would shrink it. Half of Americans disapprove of Trump's handling of taxes, a new high. SRSS conducted the poll for CNN Oct. 12-15, speaking with 1,010 adults via telephone. It has a margin of sampling error of ±3.5 percentage points. Peter Weber
It is no secret that President Trump's national approval rating has not been great. What might be even more alarming for the administration, though, is that since January, "Trump has failed to improve his standing among the public anywhere," including in red state strongholds like Wyoming, West Virginia, and Alabama, a massive new poll by Morning Consult found.
Surveying 472,032 registered voters in every state from the inauguration till Sept. 26, Morning Consult discovered that a majority of voters in half the states (plus Washington, D.C.) disapproved of Trump's job performance in September. Overall, Trump's net rating is down 19 points from January: Forty-nine percent of voters approved and 39 percent disapproved on Jan. 20, while in September just 43 percent approved and 52 percent disapproved.
But perhaps most telling is how that breaks down in individual states:
The negative swings in net approval ranged from as high as 30 percentage points in solidly blue Illinois and New York to as low as 11 points in red Louisiana. But in many of the states Trump easily carried last year — such as Tennessee (-23 points), Mississippi (-21 percentage points), Kentucky (-20 points), Kansas (-19 points), and Indiana (-17 points) — voters have soured on the president in 2017. [Morning Consult]
"Trump is not [popular] right now, and his weakened standing could threaten Republican chances to defeat Democratic Senate incumbents in dark red states," observed Kyle Kondik, the managing editor of the University of Virginia Center for Politics' Sabato's Crystal Ball. Read more analysis and view the full results, including the decline by each state and how Trump's net approval rating has changed month over month, at Morning Consult. Jeva Lange
President Trump is steadily losing the support of his rural base, with just 47 percent of people in "non-metro" areas approving of the president in September, and 47 percent more disapproving. Those numbers are down from his first four weeks in office, when 55 percent of rural voters supported Trump and 39 percent disapproved, a Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll shows. In the election, rural Americans supported Trump over Hillary Clinton by 26 points.
"Every president makes mistakes," said one of the poll's respondents, John Wilson, 70. "But if you add one on top of one, on top of another one, on top of another, there's just a limit."
Reuters finds several causes for rural voters' disappointment:
Rural Americans were increasingly unhappy with Trump's handling of health care in March and April after he lobbied for a Republican plan to overhaul ObamaCare and cut coverage for millions of Americans.
In May and June, they were more critical of Trump's ability to carry out U.S. foreign policy, and they gave him lower marks for "the way he treats people like me."
In August, they were increasingly unhappy with "the effort he's making to unify the country" after he blamed "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators. [Reuters]
"Rural people are more cynical about the federal government than people in general are," explained Karl Stauber, the owner of an economic development agency in Virginia. "They've heard so many promises, and they've not seen much done."
Reuters combined rural respondents' results over a four-week period in September, with between 1,300 and 2,000 responses per poll, each with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 points. Read the full results here. Jeva Lange
Americans widely disapprove of the way President Trump is handling the ongoing crisis in Puerto Rico, a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll has found. Only 32 percent of Americans approve of Trump's handling of the hurricane aftermath, while 49 percent disapprove. Comparatively, Americans think the administration has responded far better to hurricanes that hit the mainland, with only 27 percent disapproving of how Trump handled recovery in Texas and Florida.
"He didn't do a tremendous job in the states, but it's not quite as disturbing and horrific as his response in Puerto Rico," said Tara Blesh-Boren, an independent voter in Nebraska. "He is so busy getting his ego involved in these ridiculous back-and-forth arguments about things that don't matter to anyone but him that he is really not managing our country."
"It took [Trump] how long to get to Puerto Rico?" asked Bree Harris, a Democrat from Los Angeles, adding that she didn't think Trump "even [knew] that Puerto Rico was an island that was part of America."
The poll, which reached 1,150 adults nationwide, was conducted Sept. 28-Oct. 2, prior to Trump's visit to the territory Tuesday. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.1 points. Read the full results at ABC News, and more about Trump's Puerto Rico disaster at The Week. Jeva Lange