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Trump-Kim Summit Opinion Flat; 2-In-3 Oppose Border Wall ‘Emergency’

Thursday, March 7, 2019

West Long Branch, NJ – Public opinion remains split on President Donald Trump’s ability to deal with North Korea.  While most say that holding another summit with Kim Jong Un was a good idea, fewer than half feel the most recent meeting made any progress in reducing the nuclear threat posed by North Korea.  The latest Monmouth University Poll also finds that two-thirds of Americans disapprove of the president using emergency powers to divert military funding in order to build a wall along the Mexican border.

Currently, 42% of Americans express confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the North Korea situation (up from 37% after last year’s meeting), while 40% are not confident (up from 36%). Another 18% are unsure (down from 28%).  Public faith in the president’s ability to deal with North Korea has been fairly evenly divided in Monmouth’s polling going back to August 2017.

Most Americans (65%) say that the recent meeting between Trump and Kim was a good idea, including 90% of Republicans, 66% of independents, and 42% of Democrats. Only 27% say it was a bad idea. This positive feeling is slightly lower than it was after the two leaders first met in June last year, when 71% said that meeting was a good idea and 20% said it was a bad idea.

“Trump gets credit for meeting with Kim, but it really doesn’t translate into a solid win for him,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Americans are split on whether it is likely (44%) or unlikely (44%) that the recent meeting will help decrease the nuclear threat posed by North Korea. The public was somewhat more optimistic after the 2018 summit, when 51% said that meeting was likely to reduce the nuclear threat and 39% said it was unlikely. On the other hand, few feel that the latest meeting made the situation any worse. Just 23% say that last week’s summit is likely to lead to an increase in the nuclear threat posed by North Korea, while 64% said it is not likely to do that. [This latter question was not asked after the June summit.]  Republicans (70%) are more likely than independents (43%) and Democrats (22%) to believe that last week’s meeting will decrease the North Korean threat, while Democrats (36%) are more likely than independents (20%) and Republicans (11%) to believe that last week’s meeting will increase that threat.

There has been slightly less public interest in the latest summit than there was for the initial meeting between Trump and Kim. While nearly 9-in-10 Americans say they followed news of the summit, only 42% say they have heard a lot about it.  This compares to 53% who heard a lot about the first meeting in June 2018.  [Note: the poll was conducted after the summit but before recent news reports that North Korea is rebuilding a rocket launch site.]

The Monmouth University Poll also asked about Trump using emergency powers to build a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Just one-third of Americans (33%) approve of the president’s declaration of a national emergency in order to use military funding to build a border wall.  Nearly twice as many (65%) disapprove of this move. Most Republicans (73%) support the president using emergency powers to build the wall, while nearly all Democrats (93%) and most independents (71%) are opposed.  These results are virtually unchanged from January when the White House floated the idea of using emergency powers if the president did not get the wall funding he wanted in the new budget.  At that time, 34% said they would approve of Trump making such a declaration and 64% said they would disapprove if he did it.

In general, support for building a wall along the border with Mexico remains negative with 44% of the American public supporting it, while 51% are opposed.  These results are nearly identical to Monmouth’s January poll which found 44% in favor and 52% opposed. Currently, 84% of Republicans, 40% of independents, and only 15% of Democrats support building a border wall.

“Two-thirds of Americans said they would oppose Trump using emergency powers to divert money to a border wall, and that has held true. The question is whether public opinion will shift after Congress votes on overturning that declaration,” said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from March 1 to 4, 2019 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.)

[Q1-5 previously released.]

6. Do you favor or oppose building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico?

TREND:March
2019
Jan.
2019
Jan.
2018
Sept.
2017
Sept.
2015
Favor44%44%40%35%48%
Oppose51%52%57%60%43%
(VOL) Don’t know4%4%3%5%10%
(n)(802)(805)(806)(1,009)(1,009)

7. Do you approve or disapprove of the president declaring a national emergency in order to use funding designated for the U.S. military to build a wall along the Mexican border?

TREND:March
2019
Jan.
2019*
Approve33%34%
Disapprove65%64%
(VOL) Don’t know2%2%
(n)(802)(805)

*Jan ’19 Question wording was: “If a deal cannot be reached on border security, would you approve or disapprove of the president declaring a national emergency…”

[Q8 and Q16-24 previously released.]

[Q9-15 held for future release.]

25. President Trump recently met with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. How much have you heard about this – a lot, a little, or nothing at all?

TREND:March
2019
June
2018*
A lot42%53%
A little47%40%
Nothing at all12%8%
(n)(802)(806)

*June ’18 question was asked about the June meeting between Trump and Kim.

26. Do you think Trump having this meeting was a good idea or bad idea?

TREND:March
2019
June
2018*
April
2018*
Good idea65%71%63%
Bad idea27%20%28%
(VOL) Don’t know8%9%8%
(n)(802)(806)(803)

*June ’18 question was asked about the June meeting.
*April ’18 question was asked regarding a potential meeting.

27. 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?]

TREND:March
2019
June
2018
April
2018
Jan.
2018
Aug.
2017
Confident42%37%37%41%42%
Not sure, lean confident6%9%8%6%6%
Not sure2%4%2%2%3%
Not sure, lean not confident10%15%13%11%11%
Not confident40%36%40%40%38%
(n)(802)(806)(803)(806)(805)

[QUESTIONS 28 & 29 WERE ROTATED]

28. Do you think it is likely or not likely that this meeting will help DECREASE the nuclear threat posed by North Korea?

TREND:March
2019
June
2018*
Likely44%51%
Not likely44%39%
(VOL) Don’t know12%10%
(n)(802)(806)

*June ’18 question was asked about the June meeting.

29. Do you think it is likely or not likely that this meeting will help INCREASE the nuclear threat posed by North Korea?

 March
2019
Likely23%
Not likely64%
(VOL) Don’t know13%
(n)(802)

[Q30-36 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from March 1 to 4, 2019 with a national random sample of 802 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 322 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 480 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

26% Republican
43% Independent
31% Democrat
 
48% Male
52% Female
 
30% 18-34
34% 35-54
36% 55+
 
63% White
13% Black
16% Hispanic

  9% Asian/Other

 
69% No degree
31% 4 year degree
  

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

Download this Poll Report with all tables