Washington, D.C. - Americans are growing more pessimistic about the direction of the country as the government shutdown continues without any signs of an agreement between lawmakers and the president. Just 29% of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction - this number is down five points from December 2018. Americans from both sides of the aisle are feeling less positive about the country. While a majority of Republicans (54%) continue to report they believe that the country is headed in the right direction, this number is down four points from last week (58%), 12 points from December 2018, and 16 points from October 2018 (70%). Democrats' pessimism is also growing: 85% report we are headed in the wrong direction, up four points from last week (81%).
With the government shutdown well into its fourth week, President Trump's approval rating remains steady at 40% among all Americans, down just one point from last week (41%) but down four points from mid-November (44%). While Republicans are still the driving force behind the president's approval numbers, support for the president is currently dipping among his base - 80% of Republicans approve of Trump's job performance this week, compared to 86% in November last year. Democrats remain firm in their resolve against Trump's job performance, just 9% report they approve of the job he is doing as president. Thirty-seven percent of Independents approve of the job Trump is doing.
Approval of Trump's performance and policies with specific issues remain stable from last week. Trump's approach to immigration continues to receive moderate support among all Americans (43%, unchanged from last week). Thirty-nine percent of Americans approve of the way Trump is dealing with Congress, up just one-point from last week (38%). Trump continues to receive a majority of support from Americans on his handling of employment and jobs (51%) and a near majority of his handling of the U.S. economy (48%), both numbers unchanged from last week.
Approval of Congress remains consistently low - just 23% of Americans approve of the way Congress is handling its job. Americans continue to be more generous in their evaluation of their individual representative, with 43% approving of their Congressperson. Almost half of Democrats (47%) and Republicans (48%) approve of their individual lawmakers, while just over one-third of Independents (36%) approve.
Americans remain split about the most important issue facing the country today. Nearly one-fifth (18%) report the biggest problem is immigration, and 16% of Americans report it is healthcare. Immigration and handling border security continue to be the main disagreements in the battle over funding for the federal government and it continues to be the most important issue for Republicans (35%). By contrast, just 7% of Democrats and 13% of Independents report immigration to be the biggest problem.
About this Study
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters between January 16-22, 2019. For the survey, a sample of 2,274 Americans, including 900 Democrats, 873 Republicans, and 282 Independents ages 18+ were interviewed online. The precision of the Reuters/Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.3 percentage points for all adults, 3.7 percentage points for Democrats, 3.8 percentage points for Republicans, and 6.7 percentage points for Independents. For more information about credibility intervals, please see the appendix.
The data were weighted to the U.S. current population data by gender, age, education, and ethnicity. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Figures marked by an asterisk (*) indicate a percentage value of greater than zero but less than one half of one per cent. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. To see more information on this and other Reuters/Ipsos polls, please visit http://polling.reuters.com/.
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