2019 US Politics - Immigration is a much more salient issue for 34% of Republicans

Half of Democrats and Republicans continue to approve of the job their representatives are doing in Congress, despite the partial government shutdown.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Public Affairs, US
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Ipsos Public Affairs, US
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With the government shutdown into its 26th day with no end in sight, just 30% of Americans feel the country is headed in the right direction. This number is unchanged from last week but is down 4-points since December. While a majority of Republicans continue to report that the country is headed in the right direction (58%), this number is down 8-points from December (66%) and 12-points since October 2018 (70%). Democrats continue to be pessimistic about the direction of the country - 81% believe we are headed off on the wrong track. Independents are more likely to be pessimists as well, with 60% agreeing that America is headed in the wrong direction. 

President Trump's approval rating remains relatively unchanged since last week, with 41% of Americans reporting they strongly or somewhat approve of the job he is doing as president. His support continues to come from his party, with 81% of Republicans reporting they approve of the job he is doing. Democrats and Independents remain much more critical of Trump's performance - just 12% of Democrats and 33% of Independents report approving of his work. Amid the partial government shutdown and lack of negotiations between Trump and party leaders in the House and Senate, just 38% of Americans approve of the way President Trump is working with Congress. Trump's immigration policies continue to receive moderate support (43%) from the public, but his efforts to unify the country are not as positively perceived (38%). A majority of Americans (51%) continue to support Trump's handling of jobs and employment and a near majority (48%) approve of his handling of the economy. 

Overall approval of Congress (22%) also remains unchanged in the wake of the partial government shutdown. Democrats are slightly more likely to approve of the job the entire body is doing (28%) compared to Republicans (22%) and Independents (16%). Despite the low approval ratings of Congress as a whole, half of Democrats (50%) and more than half of Republicans (54%) approve of their individual representative's performance. Independents are less likely to approve of their individual legislator (33%). 

Immigration (18%) and healthcare (16%) are top of mind for Americans when asked what is the most important problem facing the U.S. today. As the key sticking point in the budget negotiations between Congress and President Trump, it is little surprise that immigration has been gaining traction and is up 6-points from October 2018. Immigration is a much more salient issue for Republicans (34%) compared to Democrats (9%) and Independents (13%). 

About this Study
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted for Thomson Reuters between January 9-15, 2019. For the survey, a sample of 3,363 Americans, including 1,439 Democrats, 1,159 Republicans, and 438 Independents ages 18+ were interviewed online.

The author(s)

  • Chris Jackson Public Affairs, US
  • Annaleise Azevedo Lohr Ipsos Public Affairs, US

Society