Republicans are very happy with President Trump

February 09, 2017, 3:27 PM GMT+0

Although more Americans disapprove of Donald Trump than approve, 83% of Republicans think he's doing a good job

In general, Republicans are very happy about the first few weeks with a GOP President. Their mood has changed for the better: just a year ago in the YouGov/Economist Poll, 86% of Republicans thought the country was off on the wrong track; now, 61% say it’s heading in the right direction.

The percentage of Republicans who expect there will be more jobs in six months has risen from 9% to 67% in the same time period, and just about half of Republicans today think the economy is getting better.

Democrats have moved in a negative direction under President Trump: only 13% think the country is on the right track, and just 14% say the number of jobs will increase in the next six months.

For the most part, Republicans are sticking with the President: 83% approve of the way he is handling his job. Democrats and Independents give Trump a negative job assessment, making the overall Trump performance evaluation one of more disapproval than approval. Overall, 48% of Americans disapprove.

It is important to note that while his overall job rating is negative, the President receives overall positive marks in two key areas — his handling of the economy and his handling of terrorism (both seen as very important issues). 43% approve of his handling of the economy, and 32% disapprove. On terrorism, the poll shows 42% approving and 37% disapproving. However, just about a quarter have no opinion about President Trump’s performance in each area.

Republicans have been more concerned about terrorism, and express much more support than other groups for President Trump’s executive orders reducing the number of refugees, banning refugees from Syria entirely, and setting up a 90-day ban on entry from seven specific countries. They are nearly twice as likely as Democrats to view each of the seven affected countries as enemies. They also overwhelmingly support other executive orders on terrorism and immigration that Americans overall generally reject:

  • By 57% to 18%, Republicans support waterboarding (the public disapproves 43% to 31%).
  • 77% of Republicans want to build a wall on the Mexican border, while the public rejects the idea 49% to 38%.

Republicans also apparently side with the President when it comes to his determination to alter previous U.S. agreements like NAFTA and the acceptance of refugees now in Australia. The public is split on whether Presidents should abide by previously negotiated treaties and agreements or whether they should be able to decide for themselves which to follow. Democrats choose consistency; Republicans don’t.

Republicans are willing to confront countries and groups they see as promoting terrorism. Democrats and independents are divided on the right approach.

The President has suggested that — if necessary — the Senate should “go nuclear” and eliminate the rule that permits filibusters on Supreme Court nominations. The Supreme Court is the only branch of government that gets support from both parties: majorities of both Democrats and Republicans hold favorable views of the Court, Democrats by 51% to 31%, and Republicans by an almost identical 53% to 33%.

Republicans might be willing to give up the filibuster if it means confirming Trump’s nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch, but support for that option is limited. 36% of Republicans favor the nuclear option if necessary for Gorsuch's confirmation, but nearly as many (29%) oppose it. Both Democrats and Republicans agree that the filibuster rule, in principle, is a good thing.

There are some other items — though relatively few — on which significant numbers of Republicans express concern or withhold judgment about the President’s actions and behaviors:

  • Less than half of Republicans (43%) approve of President Trump naming his chief strategist Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, and those with an opinion are split on reducing the role of the Chair of the Joint Chiefs and the Director of National Intelligence. The public overall disapproves of both these actions.
  • Nearly a third of Republicans think the President should release his tax returns; nearly 40% of Republicans believe it’s important for Presidents to do so.
  • A third of Republicans also believe the President is likely to get the country into a war. Among the entire public, 56% agree.
  • A third of Republicans say it’s inappropriate for a President to be tweeting the way he has been (49% say it is appropriate). Overall, by more than two to one, Americans find Trump’s tweeting inappropriate.