Washington, D.C. - In the wake of President Trump's State of The Union address last week, Americans are feeling slightly more optimistic about the direction of the country, with 30% reporting America is headed in the right direction - up three points from last week (27%). The increase is driven primarily by a five-point jump in Republican optimism (62%) since last week (57%). While more Republicans do report feeling optimistic, the number is still down six points from mid-December (68%). Democrats' outlook on the direction of the country continues to be bleak, with just 8% reporting we are headed in the right direction. Less than a quarter of Independents (22%) report feeling good about the direction of the country.
Despite the increase in optimism following the State of the Union address, Trump's approval rating remains relatively unchanged among all Americans (39%), up just one point from last week (38%). Republicans continue to be the positive drivers behind Trump's approval numbers, with 83% reporting they approve of the job he is doing - and more than half of those strongly approve (51%). Similar to the uptick in optimism about the direction of the country, Republicans' approval of Trump has also jumped four points this week, seemingly climbing back to post-midterm levels (86%). Independents' (32%) and Democrats' perceptions of the president remain relatively unchanged.
When it comes to specific issues, Americans' perceptions of President Trump's management remain unchanged from last week. While the President and Congress continue to try and reach a budget agreement to keep the government open past Friday, 36% of Americans approve of the way Trump deals with Congress - this number is unchanged from last week but down slightly from three weeks ago (39%). When it comes to Trump's defining policy of immigration, a modest number of Americans support his approach to the issue (41%). Trump continues to receive the strongest support on his handling of the U.S. economy (48%) and employment and jobs (51%). Democrats in Congress released their proposal for a Green New Deal last week, which is comprised of major environmental reforms, just one-third of Americans (33%) approve of Trump's handling of the environment.
Overall, Americans continue to have a lackluster perception of Congress as a whole (22% approve), but approval of their individual representatives remain much higher (47%). A majority of Democrats (55%) and Republicans (53%) report approving of their representatives' job performance, but just 28% of Democrats and 19% of Republicans approve of the body as a whole.
Healthcare (19%) and immigration (18%) remain top-of-mind for many Americans as the most important issues facing the country. Democrats and Republicans disagree on the importance of immigration and healthcare - 28% of Democrats view healthcare as the most important issue compared to 14% of Republicans and 9% of Democrats view immigration as the most important issue compared to 33% of Republicans. Interestingly, the issue of morality (14%) holds the same level of importance with Republicans this week as healthcare. Just 7% of Democrats and Independents view morality as the most important issue facing the country.
About this Study
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters between February 6-12, 2019. For the survey, a sample of 2,440 Americans, including 917 Democrats, 813 Republicans, and 321 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 2.4 percentage points for all adults, 3.7 percentage points for Democrats, 3.9 percentage points for Republicans, and 6.2 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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