President Donald Trump was bragging this week about a surprising bump in one poll, but his optimism missed the fact that recent polling is in agreement that his approval ratings have taken a hit during the month-plus partial government shutdown and the public largely blames him for the country’s predicament.
On average, Trump’s approval rating in the month of January – during the longest shutdown in US history – stands at 37% approve and 57% disapprove, down from his average of 41% approve and 51% disapprove in late November to early December (pre-shutdown), according to a new CNN Poll of Polls released Wednesday.
CNN’s Poll of Polls is an average of surveys among adult Americans aggregated to give a more well-rounded view of public opinion.
But there are are noteworthy findings in the individual polls as well. CBS News released a poll Wednesday showing Trump with 36% approval, his lowest of all polls this month. Additionally, 71% of Americans said that building a wall along the border with Mexico isn’t worth shutting down the government, and most (61%) said the border can be secured without building a wall. Even the GOP isn’t totally behind the President on the issue; a majority of 56% of Republicans said the wall is worth shutting the government down and 43% said it isn’t. Seven-in-ten independents and 92% of Democrats agreed that it isn’t worth the shutdown.
With Trump’s approval on the downswing, the polls are also showing people blame him for the shutdown; in each of the four polls that asked respondents to place blame, majorities said blame lies with the President, while about a third in each poll cited Democrats in Congress as primarily responsible. As of Wednesday, the government shutdown has been going for 33 days and sets a new record each day. The Senate is set to convene Thursday to vote on two bills – one backed by Republicans and the other by Democrats. Both are expected to fail.
The two sides appear no closer to an agreement. Trump and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi traded letters on whether he should be able to deliver a State of the Union address on Capitol Hill. She finally said she would not allow it as long as the government remains without funding.
At this point, not all Americans have a strong preference for how this shutdown ends, but more of those who do would prefer Trump cede to Democrats. Half in the CBS News poll said that they want Democrats in Congress to agree to a budget that includes wall funding and two-thirds want Trump to agree to the budget without the wall.
Perhaps the worst news for the President, around half said that Pelosi is doing a better job handling negotiations over the partial shutdown than Trump (35% in the CBS News poll said he’s doing a better job). While this is mostly driven by identity politics – 74% of Republicans said Trump, 79% of Democrats said Pelosi – independents swung for the Speaker of the House at 42%.
Trump has been touting results of an NPR/PBS/Marist poll out this week that showed his approval rating among Latinos up to 50%. While the statistic he cited on Twitter is correct, it also appears to be an outlier. For context, CNN’s most recent polling found Trump’s approval at 35% among Latinos. Quinnipiac found the same number for Latino registered voters in their latest poll. Gallup and Pew Research Center both found around a quarter of Latinos who said they approve of the job Trump is doing as president.
One of Trump’s biggest decreases of approval is among white non-college educated Americans, among whom Trump has lost some support. His approval in the pre-shutdown polling was around 55% among white Americans without college degrees and has moved down to around 45% since then. Not all polls show this movement, but most show an increase in disapproval and a slight decrease in approval.
The CNN Poll of Polls is an average of the five most recent non-partisan, live operator, national surveys of the president’s approval rating among all adults. The Poll of Polls includes: the Gallup poll conducted Jan. 2-10, the Pew Research Center poll conducted Jan. 9-14, the CNN Poll conducted by SSRS Jan. 10-11, the NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist College poll conducted Jan. 10-13, and the CBS News poll conducted Jan. 18-21. The poll of polls does not have a margin of sampling error.