As Donald Trump prepares to deliver his first State of the Union address, he will enter the chamber with the lowest approval rating of any president at this point in their presidency. And a majority of Americans STRONGLY disapprove of the job that he is doing, including majorities of critical demographic groups in a governing coalition—independents, moderates, and women, among others. While Donald Trump received a clean bill of health from his medical checkup, Americans evaluate his vital signs with flashing red lights. Majorities of Americans give Trump poor ratings on caring about average people, being honest, being knowledgeable, being steady and reliable, dealing with an international crisis, having high personal standards, and having the right temperament. Majorities of Americans also are not at all confident that Trump has the right set of goals and policies to be president, nor are they confident that he has the right set of personal characteristics to be president. Not only do Trump’s numbers reveal challenges in governing, but in political terms, by a double-digit margin voters say their vote for Congress is more likely to be a signal of opposition to, rather than support for, Trump.
Against this backdrop, Americans have the rosiest view of the economy that they have had since the beginning of this century, and they are more likely to believe that the economy will get better rather than worse over the next 12 months. Still, there is caution here, as a majority still believe that in personal terms, 2018 will be a time to hold back rather than a time of expansion and opportunity, that harder times are ahead for their family. A majority also believe that the stock market hitting an all-time high is an indication that corporations and the wealthy are doing better, but not necessarily the economy overall.
Looking ahead to policy priorities for the State of the Union, the Trump administration has made great fanfare in rolling back regulations and doing less in general, yet at the same time, the highest proportion of Americans that we have ever recorded now want government to do more rather than less to solve problems and help meet people’s needs.
Click here for the poll’s topline results.