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Monmouth University Polling Institute

Public Wants Congress to be a Check on Trump

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Few support re-electing the president in 2020;
not too keen on Pelosi, McConnell as leaders

West Long Branch, NJ – Nearly 6-in-10 Americans say they would like to see someone other than Donald Trump elected president in 2020, while his job approval rating continues to hover in the mid-40s.  With the midterm election bringing a change in House leadership, most Americans would like the new Congress to keep Trump in check, but few support outright impeachment. The latest national Monmouth University Poll also finds continued support for protecting the special counsel in the Russia investigation. Other poll results show that key congressional leaders lack support for continuing in their respective positions.

Trump’s overall job rating stands at 43% approve and 49% disapprove. The current results are basically in line with where his ratings have been since January.  Monmouth’s August poll before the 2018 fall campaign season got underway had Trump’s rating at a similar 43% approve and 50% disapprove.

The end of the 2018 midterm kicks off the 2020 presidential contest, and the president doesn’t start off with a strong base of support.  Just 36% of Americans feel Trump should be re-elected while nearly 6-in-10 (59%) say it is time to have someone else in office. Among registered voters, the result stands at 37% who support re-election and 58% who prefer a new president. Those who want to see someone new in the Oval Office in 2020 include 92% of Democrats, 59% of independents, and a small but not trivial 16% of Republicans.

“It’s interesting that the number of Americans who feel Trump deserves re-election is actually smaller than the number who give him a positive job rating. It seems that some Americans are okay with Trump as president now but feel that four years might be enough,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

A majority (52%) of the public say that keeping Trump in check should be a major priority for the new Congress and another 20% say it should be a minor priority. Only 25% say that Congress should not prioritize being a check on the president in the coming term.  Even most Republicans (54%) join the vast majority of Democrats (92%) and independents (68%) in saying that keeping Trump in check should be at least a minor priority of the new Congress.

At the same time, the poll finds that few Americans have an appetite for impeachment. Just 36% feel that Trump should be impeached and removed from office. The majority (59%) disagree. These results are in line with prior polls over the past year when Monmouth has posed this question.

“The new Democratic majority in the House has to perform a bit of a balancing act. Most Americans want Congress to rein in Trump’s excesses, but it has to be done in a way that does not look too partisan,” said Murray.

The Russia investigation is one area the public will be paying attention to in terms of checking the Trump administration. A majority (54%) say the special counsel’s investigation should continue while 43% say it should come to an end. These results are in line with previous polls since April. Furthermore, 60% support requiring the approval of a panel of federal judges before a special counsel could be fired. Just 31% oppose this constraint on presidential power.  This result is nearly identical to a Monmouth poll taken in January when 62% supported and 29% opposed requiring judicial review of any such firing.

On the topic of the Justice Department, the vast majority of Americans (69%) believe that former Attorney General Jeff Sessions was forced out – only 16% say he actually wanted to resign. But they are divided on whether interest in impeding the Russia investigation played a role. While 46% say the departure of Sessions last week was part of an effort to hinder the Russia investigation, a similar 39% say the resignation was not part of any such effort.

The Monmouth University Poll also asked Americans about how divided government might affect politics in the nation’s capital. Most Americans feel that Democrats taking over of the House of Representatives will have an impact on the way Washington works, but they do not agree on which direction that will take. Over 1-in-4 (28%) say Washington will change for the better, 16% say it will change for the worse, and 11% are not sure what form the change will take. Still, a sizable minority (42%) of Americans think that the flip in House control will not have much effect at all on how Washington works.  Nearly half of independents (49%) and about 4-in-10 Republicans (40%) and Democrats (37%) do not believe that the midterm’s outcome will actually impact the way Washington conducts its business.

Two of the most visible leaders of the congressional parties continue to get fairly weak grades from the American public. Nancy Pelosi earns a 17% approve and 38% disapprove rating for her job as House Minority Leader, with 45% having no opinion.  Mitch McConnell earns a 15% approve and 28% disapprove rating for his job as Senate Majority Leader, with 57% having no opinion. These ratings are in line with the results of prior Monmouth polls taken over the last year and a half.  Pelosi continues to be more of a lightning rod for the opposition party than McConnell. Among Republicans, 72% disapprove of the job Pelosi is doing while just 5% approve and 23% have no opinion.  Among Democrats, 44% disapprove of the job McConnell is doing while just 6% approve, but half (50%) have no opinion of him.

When asked if House Democrats should choose Pelosi as the next Speaker, just 17% of the public say the party should, while 45% say they should select someone else. Another 38% have no opinion. Specifically among her fellow Democrats, just 23% back Pelosi for Speaker while 36% prefer someone else in that role and 41% have no opinion.  For comparison, 14% of the public support McConnell continuing as Senate Majority Leader while 33% would prefer to see someone else chosen and 52% have no opinion.  Among his fellow Republicans, slightly more stick with McConnell (31%) than say they want someone new (21%) in that role, with 49% expressing no opinion either way.

“There was controversy during the 2018 midterms as some Democratic candidates took pains to distance themselves from Pelosi. There continues to be some ambivalence among Democratic voters about her return to the Speaker’s chair,” said Murray.

The poll also finds that 23% of the public approve of the job Congress is doing while most (63%) disapprove. Overall, 35% of Americans say things in the country are going in the right direction while 55% say they have gotten off on the wrong track. These results are basically in line with Monmouth’s findings throughout 2018.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from November 9 to 12, 2018 with 802 adults in the United States.  The question results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points. The poll was conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, NJ.

 

QUESTIONS AND RESULTS     

(* 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?
TREND: Nov.
2018
Aug
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Approve 43% 43% 43% 41% 39% 42% 32% 40% 41% 39% 39% 43%
Disapprove 49% 50% 46% 50% 54% 50% 56% 49% 49% 52% 53% 46%
(VOL) No opinion 8% 7% 11% 9% 8% 8% 12% 11% 10% 9% 8% 11%
(n) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806) (806) (1,009) (805) (800) (1,002) (801)

 

  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job the U.S. Congress is doing?
TREND: Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Approve 23% 17% 19% 17% 18% 21% 16% 17% 18% 19% 19% 25% 23%
Disapprove 63% 69% 67% 71% 72% 68% 65% 69% 69% 70% 68% 59% 66%
(VOL) No opinion 14% 14% 14% 12% 11% 11% 19% 15% 13% 11% 13% 16% 11%
(n) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806) (806) (1,009) (805) (800) (1,002) (801) (801)

 

TREND: Continued Sept.
2016*
Aug.
2016*
June
2016*
March
2016
Jan.
2016
Dec.
2015
Oct.
2015
Sept.
2015
Aug.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Jan.
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Approve 15% 14% 17% 22% 17% 16% 17% 19% 18% 18% 19% 21% 18% 17% 14%
Disapprove 77% 78% 76% 68% 73% 73% 71% 71% 72% 69% 71% 67% 70% 73% 76%
(VOL) No opinion 8% 9% 7% 10% 10% 10% 12% 11% 11% 12% 10% 12% 11% 11% 10%
(n) (802) (803) (803) (1,008) (1,003) (1,006) (1,012) (1,009) (1,203) (1,001) (1,002) (1,005) (1,003) (1,008) (1,012)

* Registered voters

 

  1. Would you say things in the country are going in the right direction, or have they gotten off on the wrong track?
TREND: Nov.
2018
Aug
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Right direction 35% 35% 40% 33% 31% 37% 24% 32% 31% 35% 29%
Wrong track 55% 57% 53% 58% 61% 57% 66% 58% 61% 56% 65%
(VOL) Depends 7% 6% 3% 5% 6% 3% 7% 4% 5% 4% 4%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 3% 3% 4% 1% 3% 3% 5% 3% 5% 2%
(n) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806) (806) (805) (1,002) (801) (801)

 

TREND: Continued Aug.
2016*
Oct.
2015
July
2015
June
2015
April
2015
Dec.
2014
July
2013
Right direction 30% 24% 28% 23% 27% 23% 28%
Wrong track 65% 66% 63% 68% 66% 69% 63%
(VOL) Depends 2% 6% 5% 5% 5% 5% 5%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 4% 3% 3% 2% 3% 4%
(n) (803) (1,012) (1,001) (1,002) (1,005) (1,008) (1,012)

* Registered voters

 

4. Looking ahead to the 2020 election for President, do you think that Donald Trump should be re-elected, or do you think that it is time to have someone else in office?

Nov.
2018
Should be re-elected 36%
Someone else should be in office 59%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%
(n) (802)

 

  1. As you may know, the Democrats won control of the House of Representatives in Tuesday’s election. Do you think this will change the way Washington works or won’t much change?  [If CHANGE: Will things get better or get worse?]
Nov.
2018
Will change, get better 28%
Will change, get worse 16%
Will change, not sure if better or worse 11%
Won’t much change 42%
(VOL) Don’t know 3%
(n) (802)

 

  1. Should keeping President Trump in check be a major priority, minor priority, or not a priority of the new Congress?
Nov.
2018
Major priority 52%
Minor priority 20%
Not a priority 25%
(VOL) Don’t know 4%
(n) (802)

 

  1. Do you think President Trump should be impeached and compelled to leave the Presidency, or not?
TREND: Nov.
2018
April
2018
Jan.
2018
July
2017
Yes, should 36% 39% 38% 41%
No, should not 59% 56% 57% 53%
(VOL) Don’t know 5% 5% 4% 6%
(n) (802) (803) (806) (800)

 

[QUESTIONS 8 & 9 WERE ROTATED]

  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Mitch McConnell is doing as Senate Majority Leader, or do you have no opinion of him?
TREND: Nov.
2018
April
2018
July
2017
Approve 15% 10% 12%
Disapprove 28% 38% 38%
No opinion 57% 52% 49%
(n) (802) (803) (800)

 

  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the job Nancy Pelosi is doing as House Minority Leader, or do you have no opinion of her?
TREND: Nov.
2018
April
2018
July
2017
Approve 17% 17% 17%
Disapprove 38% 44% 42%
No opinion 45% 39% 41%
(n) (802) (803) (800)

 

[QUESTIONS 10 & 11 WERE ROTATED]

  1. Now that Democrats have won control of the House, should House Democrats select Nancy Pelosi to become Speaker, should they select someone else, or do you have no opinion either way?
Nov.
2018
Select Pelosi 17%
Select someone else 45%
No opinion 38%
(n) (802)

 

  1. Now that Republicans have held onto the Senate, should Senate Republicans select Mitch McConnell to continue as Majority Leader, should they select someone else, or do you have no opinion either way?
Nov.
2018
Select McConnell 14%
Select someone else 33%
No opinion 52%
(n) (802)

 

[Q12-20 held for future release.]

 

  1. A special counsel is currently conducting an investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible links with the Trump campaign. Should the Russia investigation continue or should it end?
TREND: Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
July
2017
May
2017*
Continue 54% 52% 52% 54% 60% 62% 73%
End 43% 46% 45% 43% 37% 33% 24%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 2% 3% 3% 3% 5% 3%
(n) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (800) (1,002)

[* May’17 question was asked about the then-ongoing FBI investigation.]

 

  1. Would you support or oppose requiring the approval of a panel of federal judges before any special counsel could be fired by the president or attorney general?
TREND: Nov.
2018
Jan.
2018
Support 60% 62%
Oppose 31% 29%
(VOL) Don’t know 9% 9%
(n) (802) (806)

 

  1. Jeff Sessions resigned as Attorney General the day after the election. Do you think he wanted to resign or was he forced out?
Nov.
2018
Wanted to resign 16%
Was forced out 69%
(VOL) Don’t know 15%
(n) (802)

 

  1. Do you think the Sessions resignation was part of an effort to hinder the Russia investigation or was not part of an effort to hinder the investigation?
Nov.
2018
Part of an effort to hinder 46%
Not part of an effort to hinder 39%
(VOL) Don’t know 15%
(n) (802)

 

[Q25-42 held for future release.]

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from November 9 to 12, 2018 with a national random sample of 802 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 398 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 404 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.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS (weighted)

Self-Reported

28% Republican
38% Independent
34% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
31% 18-34
34% 35-54
36% 55+
 
64% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic

  8% Asian/Other

 
68% No degree
32% 4 year degree
 
44%  <50K
30%  $50 to <100K
26%  $100K+
  

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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