How do we evaluate President Donald Trump? As he begins his re-election campaign, the latest Economist/YouGov poll finds continued positive assessment of his handling of the economy. But the President isn’t well-liked. His 43% approval rating (with 49% disapproval), though negative, is one of the best rating levels in his entire term. Still, significantly more dislike him than like him “as a person.”
Just about twice as many people dislike the president “a lot” as like him “a lot.” While just under half of Republicans like him “a lot,” Democrats are much more likely to take the extreme opposite position: three in four Dems dislike him “a lot.” Republicans are less intense in their feelings about the president. About one in four say they like him “somewhat.” Independents are 16 points more likely to say they dislike the president as to like him.
But a large gender gap exists this week on the likeability question, both overall and within party groups. Female Democrats and independents are more likely than their male partisan counterparts to dislike the president and Republican women are less likely than GOP men to like him.
Those patterns exist on other questions about the president. 61% of Republicans “strongly approve” of how Trump is handling his job as president, but even more Democrats strongly disapprove (77%). Men and women are also different: 43% of women “strongly disapprove” of how Trump serves as president compared to 34% of men. Three in ten men (31%) “strongly approve” of Trump’s performance compared to two in ten (21%) women who agree.
The number of visible women in the Trump Administration is lower than in other recent presidencies. But last week two very visible women in the White House made news: Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that she would be leaving the White House and the Office of the Special Counsel urged the president to remove another woman, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, for violations of the Hatch Act (which forbids partisan activity by government employees).
Opinion about the two women is divided. In each case, just about as many approve of how they have done their job as disapprove. But women are less positive than men and disapprove of the job each has done: by 40% to 26% in the case of Conway, and by 38% to 32% when it comes to Sanders.
There is support for firing Conway as the Office of the Special Counsel urged, and it is strong among those who have heard a lot about the finding. But that group is more likely to identify as Democrats than Republicans. Overall, as many have no opinion as say she should be fired.
While doing her job, Sanders has been accused of lying, and a plurality (43%) of the public believes that accusation is true. More say she has lied than think she has not (25%). But even more, including nearly one in four Republicans (23%) say President Trump has lied to the public than think Sanders has.
Assessments of the President’s personal qualities, including his honesty, have remained low throughout his time in office. Only one in three call him honest and trustworthy, while half say he is not. 60% would use the word “arrogant” to describe him, including a third of Republicans (only 22% of Republicans would definitely not call him arrogant). Even though the President has been in office for more than two years, half think he doesn’t have the temperament for the job.
However, Republicans are happy about his run for re-election. By 81% to 11%, they want him to run in 2020. 80% are satisfied to have him be the only Republican in the race. 87% of registered Republican voters say they would vote for him against a Democrat. But even more Democrats, 95%, would not.
Among all registered voters, the President trails an unnamed Democrat by eight points nationally, 49% to 41%. That figure will change once there is a Democratic nominee, but right now the President himself is clearly not leading in what effectively is an up or down vote on his Presidency and himself.