January 18, 2019

Poll Watch: It's All About That Base

Ruh roh.

Seems that in at least one recent poll, the president's base is cracking. A recent NPR/Marist poll shows degradation in Trump's support across all of his key demographics.

Among Republicans (-10), white men without college degrees (-7), white evangelicals (-13), suburban men (-18) ,and even white women without college degrees (-24), his support in the January poll is down compared to December. According to Lee Miringoff, the Marist Institute for Public Opinion's director,
For the first time, we saw a fairly consistent pattern of his base showing evidence of cracking. Don't know if that's temporary - tied to the government shutdown - or a broader problem the president is having. 
The numbers shown for each group reflect the net change in support between the two polls. So for example, in the December poll, white women without college degrees had a +20 favorable rating (54% approve of Trump's job performance vs. 34% disapprove) but in the January poll, the disapproves (47%) outnumber the approves (43%), for a net loss of 24 points.

Overall, the president's approval rating in this poll stands at 39%, compared to a disapprove rating of 53%, with the number reflecting strong disapproval at 45%.

What else did this poll tell us?  Let's take a look.


First, the fine print stuff: the poll was taken January 10-13, using randomly selected cell phones and land lines with geography and population representation incorporated into the sample. Of the 1,023 respondents, 873 were registered voters. 324 people said they were Republicans or Republican-ish, compared to 417 Democrats or Democrat-ish folks.

Here's a little more on the approve/disapprove question:

  • Independents disapprove (59% to 27% approve) but at 14% have the highest percentage of unsures. 48% of them strongly disapprove.
  • 18-29 year olds (56%), 30-44 year olds (54%) and 60-and-up (58%) all disapprove; 45-59 year olds are split at 46% approve/46% disapprove. Overall, both the under 45 and over 45 age groups disapprove (55% and 52%, respectively).
  • Men approve (48% - 43%) but women overwhelmingly disapprove, 63% to 29%.  (Yay, us!)
  • Small town (50%) and rural folks (53%) approve, while big city (63%), small city (53%) and suburban respondents (62%) all disapprove.
  • In all geographic regions, the 'strongly disapprove' bucket garners the highest percentage. In the Northeast, it's the highest, at 53%; in the Midwest (45%), South (40%) and West (46%), the numbers aren't all that much better.
How are the Republicans in Congress doing with the registered voters in the survey? 

Well, 58% of registered voters disapprove; 62% of Independents also don't like them. Across all geographic regions, across income levels (less than $50K, $50K or more), those with or without college degrees, across races, ages, generational identifiers, gender, and the city-to-rural demographics, everyone disapproves of the Republicans, except Republicans and evangelical Christians.

And the Dems, with registered voters?

Only Democrats and African Americans approve more than they disapprove; big city residents are split (44% approve/44% disapprove). Independents don't like them only a little less than they don't like the Republicans (58% compared to 62%). Even in the Northeast, the disapproves (46%) out-rank the approves (45%). Even women don't approve (46% to 40%). 

Other outcomes: 
  • Most respondents (registered voters or not) think Trump is doing too little to work with the Democrats in Congress; 57% say too  little, 26% say about right. The registered voter subset of respondents shows 60% think he's doing too little.
  • Similarly, most respondents (55%) say the Democrats are doing too little to work with Trump; among registered voters, that ticks up to 58%. 
  • 63% of all respondents and of registered voters prefer their elected officials to compromise with people with whom they disagree, including 70% of Democrats, 58% of Republicans, and 66% of Independents. Even 62% of evangelical Christians say this is the case.
  • 45% of Republicans think that Congressional Republicans have an obligation to support the president's policies and programs simply because he's a Republican; 49% say there's no obligation to do so.
And finally, looking ahead to the 2020 election:
  • 57% of registered voters say they plan on voting against the president in 2020, including 62% of Independents. 
  • Declared or potential contenders against Trump next year seem to have an identity crisis. Only Joe Biden (76%), Bernie Sanders (57%) and Elizabeth Warren (53%) have a favorable impression. The others all have a higher 'unsure/never heard of' including Cory Booker (49%), Beto O'Rourke (52%), Kamala Harris (54%), Michael Bloomberg (46%), Kirsten Gillibrand (65%), Amy Klobuchar (71%) and Julian Castro (72%).
It's going to be interesting as the Dems and Sanders finalize their decisions and start kicking their campaigns into high gear. 

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