Skip to main content
11609
Monmouth University Polling Institute

Trump Down, Dems Up, Russia Bad, Kushner Out

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Opinion on tax reform remains stable

West Long Branch, NJ – Donald Trump’s job approval rating has slipped over the past month, but remains higher than the historic low recorded by the Monmouth University Poll at the end of last year. At the same time, Democrats have widened their lead in the generic House ballot to 9 points as opinion on the new tax reform law has leveled off. Taking a look inside the White House, a majority express concern that the president’s son-in-law Jared Kushner had access to top secret information without permanent clearance and feel that he should resign his position. On a related topic, most Americans believe that the Trump family’s financial interests have an influence over how the president deals with Russia and most say he is not taking the threat of Russian election meddling seriously.

Pres. Trump’s job rating now stands at 39% approve and 54% disapprove. This is a net decline from his 42% approve and 50% disapprove rating at the end of January, but it is still higher than his December 2017 low of 32% approve and 56% disapprove. Opinion of the president may be tied to his main legislative accomplishment – tax reform.

Currently, 41% of the public approve and 42% disapprove of the new tax code reforms signed into law last December. Approval of the plan has leveled off since climbing from 26% in December to 44% in late January. More than one-third (37%) of the public believes their federal taxes will actually go up under the plan and another 3-in-10 (31%) say their taxes will remain about the same. Only 23% expect that their taxes will go down. Even among Republicans, not much more than one-third (35%) expect to see a tax break under the new reforms. These results are basically unchanged from a month ago.

“Republican leaders were sitting pretty at the beginning of the year as it looked like public opinion on the tax reform plan was swinging in their favor. But there hasn’t been any further movement after that initial bump. A key sticking point is that only 1-in-4 Americans expect to see any net gain in their federal tax returns,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

The poll finds that Democrats have improved their standing on the generic Congressional ballot test. If the election for the House of Representatives was held today, 50% of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 41% who would support the Republican. The generic House ballot spread was much smaller a month ago (47% Dem and 45% Rep), while Democrats held a 15 point advantage (51% to 36%) at the end of last year.

“The Democratic Party’s lead in the Congressional ballot test has been trending with the net deficit in Trump’s job rating. A spate of recent news stories about family members in the president’s inner circle seems to have played a role in pushing his numbers down and taking the GOP’s standing down with it,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll finds that the public is divided on the role that the Trump family business plays in administration policymaking. Overall, 43% feel that the personal financial interests of Trump family members have too much influence on policy decisions made by the president. Another 20% say these personal interests have an acceptable amount of influence and 31% say they have no influence on presidential decision-making.

Few Americans (24%), though, think it is a good idea that the president’s son-in-law is working in the White House as an unpaid senior adviser. Fully 6-in-10 (60%) think it is a bad idea. Kushner’s security clearance was recently downgraded because he has not been approved for permanent access to top secret information. More than half of Americans (55%) say it worries them that Kushner had access to top secret information during the past year, while 41% say it does not worry them. A majority (55%) also believe that Kushner should resign from his position, while 33% say he should continue working in the White House. About 6-in-10 (62%) of those polled had already heard about Kushner’s security clearance downgrade before being interviewed, and among this group 57% say his prior access to top secret information worries them with 61% saying Kushner should resign.

“Many Americans are withholding judgment on possible entanglements between the Trump family business and presidential policymaking. However, individual incidents like Kushner’s security clearance or new details from the Russia investigation could chip away at that opinion,” said Murray.

Most Americans (57%) say that the Trump family’s personal financial interests or other ties to Russia definitely (29%) or probably (28%) influence the way Trump deals with that country’s government. Less than 4-in-10 say these ties do not play a role in the president’s approach to Russian relations (19% probably not and 17% definitely not).

The public is divided on whether the Trump administration may be too friendly toward Russia. For the president himself, 52% are concerned that Trump is too friendly and 46% are not concerned. Similarly, 52% are concerned that other members of the administration are too friendly and 43% are not concerned about this. The public is also divided on whether Trump’s attitude toward Russia presents a national security threat – 50% say it does and 45% say it does not. These results have not changed significantly from polls taken last year. Specifically, concern that Trump is too friendly toward Russia has ranged from 48% to 54% since he took office.

“When it comes to how Trump deals with Russia, the American public seems to have locked in their views months ago. Actions taken, or not taken, by the administration and revelations about the investigation over the past year have done little to move this opinion,” said Murray.

The poll finds, though, that nearly two-thirds (64%) say the Russian government is definitely (26%) or probably (38%) trying to interfere in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections. And nearly three quarters of Americans say that Russia definitely (43%) or probably (30%) interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. The 73% who now believe in the likelihood of Russian interference in 2016 is up from 65% who said the same in July 2017. This increase has come mainly from independents (77% now vs. 60% in July), while the views of Democrats (87% now vs. 85% in July) and Republicans (54% now vs. 48% in July) have been more stable.

Just 28% of Americans believe that Trump is taking the threat of Russian interference in the upcoming midterm elections seriously while 62% say he is not. Similarly, just 27% of the public feel the U.S. government is doing enough to stop Russian interference in the American electoral system while 59% say it is not doing enough.

Among those who already feel that Russia is trying to interfere in the upcoming American elections, just 20% say Trump is taking the threat seriously (72% say he is not) and only 15% say that the U.S. is doing enough to stop this kind of meddling (76% say it is not). These results are generally identical for Democrats and independents, but Republicans take a more bifurcated view. Among Republicans who accept the premise that Russia is trying to interfere in our elections, just 31% feel the U.S. government is doing enough to stop it, compared with 61% who say it is not. However, this group does not feel the same way about the leader of that government. Specifically, 53% say Trump is actually taking this threat seriously while only 37% say he is not.

“It’s not quite clear who these Republicans think is responsible for setting government policy on stopping Russian interference in our elections. It seems to be yet another example of how partisan tribal attachments tend to override all other factors when Americans assess the political realm,” said Murray.

In the end, most Americans (60%) feel that the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in 2016 and possible links to the Trump campaign should continue. Just 37% say this investigation should be brought to an end. Democrats (85%) and independents (63%) are more supportive of continuing the investigation than are Republicans (26%). In July 2017, 62% of Americans felt that the special counsel investigation should continue and in May 2017, 73% said the then-ongoing FBI-led investigation should continue.

More than 4-in-10 (44%) say that if Russia did interfere in the last presidential election, it did a lot of damage to American democracy, while 25% say it did a little damage and 29% say it did no damage. In July 2017, 47% said it did a lot of damage, 21% a little damage, and 28% no damage.

In other Monmouth University Poll results, the job performance rating for the U.S. Congress stands at 18% approve and 72% disapprove. A majority (61%) say the country is on the wrong track compared with 31% who say the country is headed in the right direction. There have not been any notable shifts in these trends.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 2 to 5, 2018 with 803 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.

 

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: March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Approve 39% 42% 32% 40% 41% 39% 39% 43%
Disapprove 54% 50% 56% 49% 49% 52% 53% 46%
(VOL) No opinion 8% 8% 12% 11% 10% 9% 8% 11%
(n) (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: March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Sept.
2017
Aug.
2017
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Approve 18% 21% 16% 17% 18% 19% 19% 25% 23%
Disapprove 72% 68% 65% 69% 69% 70% 68% 59% 66%
(VOL) No opinion 11% 11% 19% 15% 13% 11% 13% 16% 11%
(n) (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: March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Right direction 31% 37% 24% 32% 31% 35% 29%
Wrong track 61% 57% 66% 58% 61% 56% 65%
(VOL) Depends 6% 3% 7% 4% 5% 4% 4%
(VOL) Don’t know 1% 3% 3% 5% 3% 5% 2%
(n) (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

 

4/4A.   [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]

Registered voters March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Republican 41% 45% 36%
Democratic 50% 47% 51%
(VOL) Other candidate 3% 3% 2%
(VOL) Would not vote 2% 1% 3%
(VOL) Don’t know 6% 4% 8%
(n) (708) (711) (702)

 

  1. Do you approve or disapprove of the tax reform plan passed by Congress in December? [Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?]
TREND: March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017*
Strongly approve 20% 24% 13%
Somewhat approve 21% 20% 13%
Somewhat disapprove 16% 13% 12%
Strongly disapprove 26% 31% 35%
(VOL) Don’t know 17% 13% 27%
(n) (803) (806) (806)

*Question wording, in December, was “Have you heard that the Senate and the House have passed tax reform bills and are now working on a final version, or haven’t you heard about this? If HEARD: Do you approve or disapprove of this tax reform plan?  [Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?]”

 

  1. Under this new tax plan, do you think the federal taxes you pay will go up, go down, or stay about the same?
TREND: March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017*
Go up 37% 36% 50%
Go down 23% 24% 14%
Stay about the same 31% 32% 25%
(VOL) Don’t know 9% 7% 12%
(n) (803) (806) (806)

*Question wording, in December, was “If this new plan becomes law…”

 

  1. The president's son-in-law Jared Kushner is currently an unpaid senior aide. Do you think his working in the White House is a good idea or a bad idea?
March
2018
Good idea 24%
Bad idea 60%
(VOL) Don’t know 16%
(n) (803)

 

  1. Kushner recently had his security clearance downgraded because he still hasn’t been approved for permanent access to top-secret information. Have you heard about this or not?
March
2018
Heard 62%
Not heard 38%
(n) (803)

 

  1. Does the fact that Kushner had access to top secret information during the past year worry you or not worry you? [If WORRY: Does that worry you a lot or a little?]
March
2018
Worry, a lot 38%
Worry, a little 17%
Not worry 41%
(VOL) Don’t know 3%
(n) (803)

 

  1. Should Kushner resign from his position or should he continue working in the White House?
March
2018
Resign 55%
Continue working 33%
(VOL) Don’t know 12%
(n) (803)

 

10A. Do the personal financial interests of Trump family members have too much influence on policy decisions made by President Trump, an acceptable amount of influence, or no influence?

March
2018
Too much influence 43%
Acceptable amount of influence 20%
No influence 31%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%
(n) (803)

 

  1. Are you concerned or not concerned that Donald Trump may be too friendly toward Russia? [If CONCERNED: Are you concerned a lot or a little?]
TREND: March
2018
July
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Aug.
2016*
Concerned, a lot 39% 38% 39% 37% 33% 32%
Concerned, a little 13% 16% 12% 11% 15% 13%
Not concerned 46% 44% 45% 49% 48% 49%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 3% 4% 3% 3% 3%
(n) (803) (800)  (1,002)  (801)  (801)  (803)

* Registered voters

 

  1. Are you concerned or not concerned that other members of the Trump administration may be too friendly toward Russia? [If CONCERNED: Are you concerned a lot or a little?]
TREND: March
2018
July
2017
March
2017
Concerned, a lot 37% 42% 38%
Concerned, a little 15% 13% 11%
Not concerned 43% 43% 48%
(VOL) Don’t know 4% 3% 3%
(n) (803) (800)  (801)

 

  1. Do you think Trump’s attitude toward Russia does or does not present a national security threat to the U.S.?
TREND: March
2018
July
2017
May
2017
Does 50% 48% 48%
Does not 45% 48% 46%
(VOL) Don’t know 5% 4% 7%
(n) (803) (800) (1,002)

 

  1. Do you think members of the Trump family have financial interests or other ties to Russia that influence the way President Trump deals with the Russian government – would you say definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not?
March
2018
Definitely 29%
Probably 28%
Probably not 19%
Definitely not 17%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%
(n) (803)

 

  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: March
2018
July
2017
May
2017*
Continue 60% 62% 73%
End 37% 33% 24%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 5% 3%
(n) (803) (800) (1,002)

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

 

  1. Do you think the Russian government tried to interfere in the 2016 presidential election – would you say definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not?
TREND: March
2018
July
2017
Definitely 43% 36%
Probably 30% 29%
Probably not 14% 18%
Definitely not 9% 10%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 6%
(n) (803) (800)

 

  1. If Russia did interfere in the election, how much damage did it cause to American democracy – a lot, a little, or none at all?
TREND: March
2018
July
2017
A lot 44% 47%
A little 25% 21%
None at all 29% 28%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 4%
   (n) (803) (800)

 

  1. Do you think the Russian government is trying to interfere in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections – would you say definitely, probably, probably not, or definitely not?
March
2018
Definitely 26%
Probably 38%
Probably not 20%
Definitely not 11%
(VOL) Don’t know 5%
   (n) (803)

 

18A. Is President Trump taking the threat of Russian interference in the 2018 election seriously, or not?

March
2018
Yes 28%
No 62%
(VOL) Don’t know 10%
   (n) (803)

 

  1. Is the U.S. government doing enough or not doing enough to stop Russian interference in the American electoral system?
March
2018
Enough 27%
Not enough 59%
(VOL) No interference happening 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 12%
   (n) (803)

 

[Q20-48 held for future release.]

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 2 to 5, 2018 with a national random sample of 803 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 400 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 403 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

27% Republican
41% Independent
32% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
36% 55+
 
65% White
12% Black
15% Hispanic

  7% Asian/Other

 

 

 

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

Download this Poll Report with all tables

Get Poll Reports in Your Inbox

If you would like to join our mailing list and receive the latest poll results the day they are released, please enter your contact information in the fields below.

Would you like to submit a question or comment?

Back

Any Questions?

Thank You!

Your email has been submitted to our mailing list. You will receive an email to receive future polls the day they are released.

- Monmouth University Polling Institute