Americans give the nation’s economy glowing reviews in a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS, and Donald Trump’s approval rating may be reaping the benefits.
Overall, 71% say the nation’s economy is in good shape, the highest share to say so since February 2001, and the best rating during Trump’s presidency by two points. A majority give the President positive reviews for his handling of the nation’s economy (51% approve), and his overall approval rating has ticked up to 42% in the new poll. The 51% who say they disapprove of the President’s job performance overall represent the lowest share to do so in CNN polling since the start of his presidency.
Trump’s 42% approval rating at this point in his presidency puts him near the bottom of the list of modern elected presidents, between President Bill Clinton in 1995 (44%) and President Ronald Reagan in 1983 (41%). Both were re-elected to second terms.
The President’s approval ratings for other major issues have largely held steady or turned downward. On handling foreign affairs, 40% approve – the same share who said so in early February before the President’s abruptly-ended summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. About 4 in 10 approve of Trump’s handling of taxes (42%), roughly the same as just before the midterm elections last year.
On the heels of the release of the White House’s 2020 budget proposal, which projects large deficits and growing public debt, Trump’s ratings for handling the budget are deeply negative: 56% disapprove while just 34% approve.
The public also breaks sharply negative over the President’s handling of immigration. Overall, 58% disapprove and 39% approve, a bit worse than the 41% approve, 54% disapprove divide registered in the early February results.
That finding follows Congress’ passage of a resolution seeking to overturn the President’s declaration of a national emergency along the US border with Mexico. Half (50%) of Americans say Congress should have passed that resolution, 42% disagree, and most (55%) were opposed to the President’s veto of that resolution. Just 35% say he should have used his veto power in this case.
The President’s strong reviews on the economy come as a plurality say their personal financial situation is better off today than it was three years ago – before Trump took office. About 4 in 10 (42%) say they are better off now, a similar share (41%) say they’re about the same, and 15% say they’re worse off than they were three years ago.
Those results are closely tied to partisanship, with Republicans most apt to report an improved financial situation (65%), and Democrats far less so (19%).
And as the Democratic Party weighs potential 2020 nominees who espouse stronger government regulation of business, the poll finds little public appetite for deeper regulation overall, or specifically for big tech companies such as Google, Facebook or Amazon.
About 7 in 10 Americans in the poll say they have more trust in the free market than in the government, up a bit from roughly two-thirds who said so in 2011, as the country was recovering from the Great Recession. That trend holds for all except Republicans – 77% of whom currently place more faith in the free market than the government, down a tick from 81% who said so in 2011, when Democrat Barack Obama held the White House.
The share placing more trust in the markets increased among Democrats (from 55% to 61%) and independents (from 65% to 78%).
Looking specifically to big technology firms, majorities of Americans say they have just a little or no trust in those companies to do the right thing for the economy (57%) or for their users (58%).
Overall, 42% think government regulation of big tech should go farther, 35% say it’s about right as it is and 17% say it goes too far. There is not a massive partisan difference here: 49% of Democrats and 42% of Republicans say it should go further. There’s a bigger ideological gap, 52% of liberals say it should go farther and 39% of conservatives say so. But just 11% overall say these companies should be forced to sell off some parts of their businesses, as Elizabeth Warren has proposed.
That plan doesn’t spark widespread interest among Democrats (16% say these businesses should have to sell off some parts of their businesses) or even among liberals (18%). Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, the group which could ultimately decide who wins the Democratic Party’s nomination for president, 15% say these companies ought to be forced to sell off some parts of their business.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS March 14 through 17 among a random national sample of 1,003 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.8 percentage points, it is larger for subgroups.