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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Trump Rating Ticks Up; Support for Tax Plan Increases

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

GOP gains on Dems in generic House ballot

West Long Branch, NJ – Donald Trump’s job approval rating has bounced back from the record low registered in last month’s Monmouth University Poll, as more Americans now see the president as having achieved some legislative success. The poll finds that support for the recently passed tax reform plan has increased and Republicans have made gains in the generic House ballot test.

Pres. Trump’s job rating now stands at 42% approve and 50% disapprove. While his net rating continues to dwell in negative territory, this is an improvement from his December low of 32% approve and 56% disapprove.  The current results mark a return to the ratings he received in the late summer and early fall of 2017. Positive signs for Trump include an uptick in public opinion that he has been successful in moving his agenda through Congress and increasing support for the recently enacted tax reform plan.

A majority (55%) of Americans say that Trump has been at least somewhat successful at getting Congress to pass his legislative agenda, while 41% say he has not been successful. This marks a reversal from December – before the tax reform bill was approved – when only 42% said Trump had been successful with Congress and 53% said he had not been successful.

Opinion is currently divided on the landmark tax reform plan – 44% approve and 44% disapprove. But this marks a significant increase in public support from December, when just 26% approved of the bill and 47% disapproved. Perhaps more importantly, fewer Americans (36%) believe that their own federal taxes will go up under the plan than felt the same when the bill was in its final legislative stages last month (50%). Still, the number who believe that their taxes will go up (36%) outnumber those who believe that their taxes will go down (24%) or stay the same (32%) under the new system.

Overall, 37% say that Trump’s first year agenda has focused a lot on issues important to average Americans, 34% say it has focused a little on these issues, and 26% say it has not focused at all on the concerns of average Americans.  These numbers are slightly better than at the new president’s six-month mark in July 2017, when 32% said he was focused a lot on average American’s main concerns, 31% said he was focused a little and 35% said he was not focused at all on these issues.

“The president devoted a significant amount of the State of the Union address touting a growing economy and his new tax plan. While there is still some way to go to really win over the public, it looks like the needle has moved in the Republicans’ direction since passage of the tax bill,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.  The majority of interviews for this poll were conducted before Trump delivered his speech Tuesday night.

In a look ahead to 2018, Democrats currently hold a negligible edge on the generic Congress ballot. If the election for House of Representatives were held today, 47% of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 45% who would support the Republican.  This marks a dramatic shift from last month, when Democrats held a 15 point advantage on the generic ballot (51% to 36%).

“The generic Congressional ballot is prone to bouncing around for a bit until the campaign really gets underway later this year. But Democrats who counted on riding public hostility toward the tax bill to retake the House may have to rethink that strategy,” said Murray.

While the poll includes some good news for the president and Congressional Republicans, the results also show deeply entrenched divisions in the public. A majority generally agrees with Trump’s statement last night that “the state of our union is strong” but not quite as strongly as the picture he painted. Only 13% say the union is very strong and another 42% say it is somewhat strong, while nearly 4-in-10 say the state of the union is either not too strong (24%) or not at all strong (14%).

The public is split over feeling optimistic (50%) versus pessimistic (45%) about the policies Trump will pursue in the next few years. This result has not changed much from a Monmouth poll taken just before Trump took office in January 2017 when 50% were optimistic and 43% were pessimistic. Currently, 37% say the country is going in the right direction, which is up from 24% who said the same in December. Still, a majority (57%) say the country is headed down the wrong track, compared to 66% in last month’s poll.  Only 21% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing and 68% disapprove.

While Trump’s job rating has returned to where it stood last August, the percentage of the public who solidly support the president has slipped while steadfast opposition has held steady.  Specifically, among those who approve of Donald Trump’s job performance, 50% say they cannot foresee the president doing anything to make them feel negatively about him – which is down from 61% of approvers last August who said their support would never waver. On the other hand, 60% of those who disapprove of Trump say the president could not do anything to soften their opinion about him, which is similar to the 57% of this group who said the same in August.  Taken together, just 21% of the American public offer Trump their steadfast approval compared to a larger number (30%) who stand firm in their disapproval of Trump.  This marks a change from August when a slightly higher 25% of the public expressed unwavering approval of the president and 28% offered resolute disapproval.

Jan ‘18 Aug ‘17
Approve, will not change 21% 25%
Approve, could change 21% 16%
Disapprove, could change 20% 21%
Disapprove, will not change 30% 28%
No opinion   8% 10%

Using the same question employed by the Gallup poll during the Watergate era, 38% of the American public say that Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the presidency. Most (57%) say he should not be impeached. These results are similar to the findings from a July 2017 Monmouth poll when 41% supported impeachment and 53% did not.

On another topic, the poll also found that 58% of the public express at least some worry about the possibility of North Korea launching a nuclear attack on U.S. territory. This is similar to the 60% who felt similarly worried in August 2017. Public confidence in Trump’s ability to deal with the North Korea situation is split at 41% who are confident, 40% who are not confident, and 19% who are not sure. In August, 42% were confident, 38% were not confident, and 20% were not sure.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from January 28 to 30, 2018 with 806 adults in the United States.  The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.  The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.



(* Some columns may not add to 100% due to rounding.)


  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?

42%      Approve

50%      Disapprove

8%       (VOL) No opinion


  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?

21%      Approve

68%      Disapprove

11%       (VOL) No opinion


  1. Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?

37%      Right direction

57%      Wrong track

3%        (VOL) Depends

3%        (VOL) Don’t know


  1. Would you say the State of the Union is very strong, somewhat strong, not too strong, or not at all strong?

13%      Very strong

42%      Somewhat strong

24%      Not too strong

14%      Not at all strong

6%       (VOL) Don’t know


5/5A.   [REPORTED FOR REGISTERED VOTERS ONLY:] If the election for U.S. Congress was held today, would you vote for the Republican or the Democratic candidate in your district? [INCLUDING LEANERS.  ITEMS WERE ROTATED]

45%      Republican

47%      Democratic

3%        (VOL) Other

5%        (VOL) Don’t know


6A.  [If APPROVE of Trump] Can you think of anything that Trump could do, or fail to do, in his term as president that would make you disapprove of the job he is doing, or not?

[n=341; moe = +/- 5.3%]

45%      Yes

50%      No

5%        (VOL) Don’t know


6B.   [If DISAPPROVE of Trump] Can you think of anything Trump could do, other than resign, in his term as president that would make you approve of the job he is doing, or not? [n=407; moe = +/- 4.9%]

38%      Yes

60%      No

3%       (VOL) Don’t know


  1. Do you think President Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the Presidency, or not?

38%      Yes, should

57%      No, should not

4%        (VOL) Don’t know


  1. How much has Donald Trump’s agenda during his first year in office focused on issues important to average Americans – a lot, a little, or not at all?

37%      A lot

34%      A little

26%      Not at all

3%        (VOL) Don’t know


  1. Thinking about the next few years, do you feel optimistic or pessimistic about the policies Trump will pursue? [Is that very or somewhat optimistic/pessimistic?]

29%      Very optimistic

21%      Somewhat optimistic

14%      Somewhat pessimistic

31%      Very pessimistic

4%        (VOL) Don’t Know


  1. In your view, how successful has President Trump been at getting Congress to pass his legislative agenda – very successful, somewhat successful, not too successful, or not at all successful?

7%        Very successful

48%      Somewhat successful

25%      Not too successful

16%      Not at all successful

4%        (VOL) Don’t know


  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the tax reform plan passed by Congress in December? [Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?]

24%      Strongly approve

20%      Somewhat approve

13%      Somewhat disapprove

31%      Strongly disapprove

13%      (VOL) Don’t know


  1. Under this new tax plan, do you think the federal taxes you pay will go up, go down, or stay about the same?

36%      Go up

24%      Go down

32%      Stay about the same

7%        (VOL) Don’t know


[Q13-16 held for future release.]


On another topic,

  1. How much do you worry about the possibility that North Korea will attack the United States or one of its territories with a nuclear missile – a great deal, some, not much, or not at all?

24%      Great deal

34%      Some

23%      Not much

19%      Not at all

1%        (VOL) Don’t know


  1. Are you confident or not confident in President Trump’s ability to deal with the North Korea situation, or are you not sure? [If NOT SURE: Do you lean more toward feeling confident or more toward feeling not confident?]

41%      Confident

6%        Not sure, lean confident

2%        Not sure

11%       Not sure, lean not confident

40%      Not confident


[Q19-33 held for future release.]



The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from January 28 to 30, 2018 with a national random sample of 806 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 401 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 405 contacted by a live interviewer on a cell phone. Telephone numbers were selected through random digit dialing and landline respondents were selected with a modified Troldahl-Carter youngest adult household screen. Monmouth is responsible for all aspects of the survey design, data weighting and analysis. Final sample is weighted for region, age, education, gender and race based on US Census information. Data collection support provided by Braun Research (field) and SSI (RDD sample). For results based on this sample, one can say with 95% confidence that the error attributable to sampling has a maximum margin of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points (unadjusted for sample design).  Sampling error can be larger for sub-groups (see table below). In addition to sampling error, one should bear in mind that question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of opinion polls.


Click on pdf file link below for full methodology and results by key demographic groups.

Download this Poll Report with all tables

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