Trump holds GOP support, but intensity gap remains

Trump holds GOP support, but intensity gap remains

In a week in which two Republican Senators issued high-profile condemnations of Donald Trump, the President continued to win approval from upwards of 80 percent of Republicans with little or no evidence of a downturn.

In the most recent SurveyMonkey tracking poll, 83 percent of Republicans, and 81 percent of independents who lean Republican, approve of the job Trump is doing as President. Just 16 percent of Republicans and 18 percent of Republican “leaners” disapprove of Trump’s performance. While his numbers ticked up very slightly in mid-September, they have been otherwise flat since the summer.

Trump approval by party as of October 25

Thus, while Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) garnered significant media attention with their “scathing assessments” of Trump, most Republican voters continue to give him positive marks, which helps explain why most other Republican officeholders continue to publicly support the President.

Overall, Trump’s approval rating also remained unchanged since the previous week at 39 percent approve, 59 percent disapprove — with the approval percentage continuing to match previous lows in SurveyMonkey tracking from July and August.

Trump approval tracker as of October 18

A closer look at Republicans reveals that the President has experienced some erosion among his base over the longer term. Among all “leaned” Republicans — Republican identifiers and independents who lean Republican — Trump’s approval now stands 6 or 7 percentages points lower than it did during the first two months of his Administration. The 17 percent who currently disapprove is roughly double what it was just after the inauguration in late January.

Trump approval trend among leaned Republicans as of October 18

The more potentially problematic finding for the Trump administration is that while most Republicans and Republican leaners continue to approve rather than disapprove the President, only about half (49 percent) now strongly approve — a level that has fallen off from roughly 60 percent since February. By comparison, better than 4 out of 5 Democrats and Democratic leaners (83 percent) now strongly disapprove of the job Trump is doing as President.

That pattern showcases a considerable intensity gap that has been present in Trump’s ratings all year. While essentially unchanged over the past week, strong disapproval of Trump’s performance among all Americans (47 percent) remains better than twice the level of strong approval (21 percent).

Trump intensity of opinion as of October 18

Who are the Republicans least happy with the President? Trump’s rating is significantly lower (70 percent) among Republicans and Republican leaners who describe their views on most political issues as moderate or liberal than among those who describe their views as conservative (89 percent).

While the change in overall approval is slight, our tracking also shows that worries about health care remained high for the past week. When asked to choose the issue that matters most, slightly more over the past week selected health care (24 percent) than jobs and the economy (24 percent). The gap between conservative and moderate/liberal Republicans is only slightly wider now than it was earlier in 2017.

Trump approval by ideology as of October 18

This week’s full approval topline results and a detailed demographic breakdown can be viewed here. Results from previous weeks can be accessed here.

Methodology: This SurveyMonkey Tracking poll was conducted online October 19 through October 25, 2017 among a national sample of 13,572 adults ages 18 and up. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data for this week have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.