3 weeks of Trump: optimism on economy, worries about health

15 Feb 2017


With about three weeks gone since President Donald Trump took office, a Fox News poll checked with voters nationwide to get a read on how they feel things are going.

Five key findings on how voters feel about the new administration:

  • Divided over Trump.
  • A bit more confident in Trump's judgment than they did before the election.
  • Optimistic on the economy, pessimistic on health care, and mixed on security.
  • Repealing and replacing Obamacare and cutting taxes should be higher priorities than building the Mexican wall.
  • Trump's election victory was a bigger surprise than the Patriots' Super Bowl comeback.

Here are the actual numbers:
When asked if the Trump administration is working on things that will help their family, 47 per cent of voters said yes, while 48 per cent say no.

That's almost identical to the split over President Trump's job performance:  48 per cent approve and 47 per cent disapprove.  Moreover, most voters feel strongly one way or the other, as 35 per cent ''strongly'' approve and 41 per cent ''strongly'' disapprove.

Nearly all Republicans approve (87 per cent), as do just over half of independents (52 per cent).  Among Democrats, 10 per cent give him the thumbs up.

For comparison, after Barack Obama's first month as president, 60 per cent of voters approved of the job he was doing, including 90 per cent of Democrats, 62 per cent of independents, and 29 per cent of Republicans (February 2009).

The poll, released on Tuesday, finds 50 per cent feel confident in Trump's judgment in a crisis, up from 43 per cent in October 2016.  Yet nearly half, 49 per cent, lack confidence in his judgment.  In addition, about half of voters describe Trump as a ''strong leader'' (52-45 per cent).

Where will things stand after Trump's first year?  In spite of his mixed approval rating, by a 55-35 per cent margin, voters feel the economy will be stronger a year from now.  That includes more than one in five Democrats (22 per cent).

There's less optimism on health care coverage, as voters expect it will be harder (48 per cent) rather than easier to get coverage next year (35 per cent) - likely due to Trump's pledge to repeal the Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare.

Meanwhile, 46 per cent think the US will be safer a year from now, while 43 per cent say less safe.

In Trump's first 100 days in office, twice as many voters say it's extremely or very important for him to work on cutting taxes (52 per cent) and repealing Obamacare (49 per cent), than building a border wall (26 per cent).  Among Republicans, 76 per cent prioritise repealing Obamacare and 74 per cent cutting taxes, while just 47 per cent say the same of building the wall.

For many, the unique way Trump won the election made it unexpected - with a big Electoral College advantage despite losing the popular vote by more than two percentage points.  Some compared it to this year's Super Bowl, in which the New England Patriots overcame a 28-3 third-quarter deficit to defeat the Atlanta Falcons.

Which was more surprising? Voters say it was Trump's win by a 56-35 per cent margin. Among Hillary Clinton voters, 76 per cent say the Trump win.  That's more than twice the number of Trump voters who say the same (37 per cent).

Trump's win also bothered more people than the Patriots' victory (49-27 per cent). That's largely driven by the fact that 91 per cent of Clinton voters were bothered more by the election, while for Trump voters it was the Super Bowl (52 per cent) or neither event (39 per cent).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,013 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from 11-13 February.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.

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