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Trump’s Tax Time Troubles

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Most say Congress should get full Mueller report

West Long Branch, NJ – President Donald Trump’s job rating has taken a slight dip as the country awaits the release of the Mueller report according to the latest Monmouth University Poll.  Most Americans want Congress to see an unredacted copy of the report, but not pursue the investigation any further.  The poll also finds that public opinion remains negative on the 2017 tax reform plan – a key part of Trump’s legislative legacy.  The president’s unconventional style also continues to get more negative than positive reviews.

Trump’s overall job rating stands at 40% approve and 54% disapprove. This result stands at the lower end of his typical job rating in Monmouth’s polling.  Approval has tended to range from 39% to 44% and disapproval from 49% to 54% since he took office with a few exceptions – specifically, a more even 43% to 46% split in March 2017 and June 2018 and a low of 32% to 56% in December 2017. The president’s job rating with different partisan groups currently stands at 83% approve and 13% disapprove among Republicans, 40% to 49% among independents, and 7% to 92% among Democrats.

“The president’s job rating doesn’t see huge swings, so we tend to focus on small movements. The current reading comes at the end of tax return season and while official Washington eagerly awaits the Mueller report. Neither subject is particularly good for Trump,” said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute.

Public opinion continues to be upside down on tax reforms passed at the end of 2017.  Currently, 34% approve and 43% disapprove of the plan.  Opinion was more evenly split a year ago in March 2018 at 41% approve and 42% disapprove.  While the tax package involves a broad-base cut in income tax rates, 28% of Americans feel that their federal tax bill actually went up under the plan.  This is somewhat lower than expectations in March 2018 when 37% thought their taxes would go up.  However, the same decline in opinion is true for the percentage who thought their taxes would go down – which now stands at only 14% compared with 23% last year who expected to see a tax reduction.  Nearly half (46%) say that their federal tax burden remained the same under the new reforms, which is up from 31% who expected to see no change last year.  There are few differences in assessment of the tax plan’s impact by income levels.

“The perception may not match reality in terms of how many people actually got a tax reduction. While fears about a rising tax bill diminished after Americans filed their 2018 returns, very few report seeing any benefit from these reforms. This is not good news for a president who wanted to use this issue as a selling point for re-election,” said Murray.

Another concern hanging over the president for the past two years has been special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Fully 60% of the public say that Congress should get a full copy of the Mueller report. Just 30% say that the Justice Department should able to redact information it considers sensitive before delivering the report to Congress. Most Democrats (81% full to 13% redacted) and independents (61% full to 28% redacted) say that Congress should be able to see the full report while fewer Republicans feel the same (33% full to 55% redacted).

Even though a clear majority of the public wants Congress to have access to the full report, just 39% say that Congress should continue looking into remaining concerns related to the Mueller investigation. A majority of 54% feel that Congress should move on to other issues.  While most Democrats (65%) want Congress to continue pursuing the investigation, most Republicans (79%) and independents (57%) say it is time to move on.

“The Mueller report is a double-edged sword. Most of the public wants Congress to see everything he dug up, but not necessarily do anything about it. This seems to be tied to a pervading sense that they are unlikely to learn anything about the Trump circle that would be all that out of character with what we’ve come to expect,” said Murray.

Americans continue to see the way Trump runs his administration as being less conventional than his predecessors (80%). Just 12% say he is about as conventional as other presidents in his approach to the job and 3% volunteer that he may be more conventional. These results are nearly identical to April 2018 (81% less conventional, 12% about as conventional, and 2% more conventional).

A plurality of 46% say that Trump’s unconventional style is bad for the country and just 26% say it is good.  This is also largely unchanged from a year ago (46% bad and 27% good).  Nearly all Democrats (84%) say Trump’s approach is bad for the country, with just 4% saying it is good and 10% saying he is not less conventional than other presidents. A majority of Republicans (55%), on the other hand, say Trump’s administrative style is good for the country, 11% say it is bad and 29% do not feel it is less conventional at all.  Independents are divided between saying Trump’s style is bad (38%) or good (25%) for the country, or that it is not necessarily less conventional than prior presidents (21%).

The Monmouth University Poll also finds that 24% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing and 62% disapprove. A little over one-quarter (28%) say the country is headed in the right direction and 62% say things have gotten off on the wrong track.  These results are similar to Monmouth poll findings last month.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from April 11 to 15, 2019 with 801 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: April 2019 March 2019 Jan. 2019 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 40% 44% 41% 43% 43% 43% 41% 39% 42% 32% 40% 41% 39% 39% 43%
Disapprove 54% 51% 54% 49% 50% 46% 50% 54% 50% 56% 49% 49% 52% 53% 46%
(VOL) No opinion 6% 5% 5% 8% 7% 11% 9% 8% 8% 12% 11% 10% 9% 8% 11%
(n) (801) (802) (805) (802) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806) (806) (1,009) (805) (800) (1,002) (801)

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

TREND: April
2019
March
2019
Jan.
2019
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 24% 23% 18% 23% 17% 19% 17% 18% 21% 16% 17% 18% 19% 19% 25% 23%
Disapprove 62% 68% 72% 63% 69% 67% 71% 72% 68% 65% 69% 69% 70% 68% 59% 66%
(VOL) No opinion 14% 9% 10% 14% 14% 14% 12% 11% 11% 19% 15% 13% 11% 13% 16% 11%
(n) (801) (802) (805) (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

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

TREND: April
2019
March
2019
Nov.
2018
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017
Aug.
2017
May
2017
March
2017
Jan.
2017
Right direction 28% 29% 35% 35% 40% 33% 31% 37% 24% 32% 31% 35% 29%
Wrong track 62% 63% 55% 57% 53% 58% 61% 57% 66% 58% 61% 56% 65%
(VOL) Depends 7% 6% 7% 6% 3% 5% 6% 3% 7% 4% 5% 4% 4%
(VOL) Don’t know 3% 2% 3% 3% 3% 4% 1% 3% 3% 5% 3% 5% 2%
(n) (801) (802) (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. Would you say the way Trump runs his administration has been less conventional than prior presidents, or about as conventional as prior presidents?

TREND: April
2019
April
2018
Less conventional 80% 81%
About as conventional 12% 12%
(VOL) More conventional 3% 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 5% 5%
(n) (801) (803)

5. Is Trump being less conventional good or bad for the country?

TREND: April
2019
April
2018
Good 26% 27%
Bad 46% 46%
(VOL) Both good and bad 7% 5%
(VOL) Don’t know 2% 3%
Not less conventional (from Q4) 20% 19%
(n) (801) (803)

6. Now that the Mueller investigation is over, should Congress move on to other issues or are there still concerns related to that investigation that Congress should continue to look into?

  April
2019
Congress should move on 54%
Congress should continue to look into 39%
(VOL) Depends 2%
(VOL) Don’t know 5%
(n) (801)

7. Should the Justice Department provide the full Mueller report to Congress or should it be able to redact or black out some information it considers sensitive?

  April
2019
Provide full Mueller report 60%
Redact or black out some information 30%
(VOL) Depends 5%
(VOL) Don’t know 5%
(n) (801)

[Q8-22 held for future release.]

23. Do you approve or disapprove of the tax reform plan passed by Congress in 2017?  [Do you (approve/disapprove) strongly or somewhat?]

TREND: April
2019
Aug.
2018
June
2018
April
2018
March
2018
Jan.
2018
Dec.
2017*
Strongly approve 12% 18% 18% 18% 20% 24% 13%
Somewhat approve 22% 19% 16% 22% 21% 20% 13%
Somewhat disapprove 15% 16% 14% 15% 16% 13% 12%
Strongly disapprove 28% 29% 27% 29% 26% 31% 35%
(VOL) Don’t know 23% 18% 24% 16% 17% 13% 27%
(n) (801) (805) (806) (803) (803) (806) (806)

[* Question wording, in December 2017, 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?”]

24. Under this new tax plan, have the federal taxes you pay gone up, gone down, or stayed about the same?

TREND: April
2019
March
2018**
Jan.
2018**
Dec.
2017*
Gone up 28% 37% 36% 50%
Gone down 14% 23% 24% 14%
Stayed about the same 46% 31% 32% 25%
(VOL) Don’t know 13% 9% 7% 12%
(n) (801) (803) (806) (806)

** Question wording, in 2018, was “do you think the federal taxes you pay will go up …”  

* Question wording, in 2017, was “If this new plan becomes law…”

[Q25-31 held for future release.]

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from April 11 to 15, 2019 with a national random sample of 801 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 320 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 481 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 Dynata (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
25% Republican
44% Independent
31% Democrat
 
48% Male
52% Female
 
30% 18-34
33% 35-54
37% 55+
 
64% White
12% Black
16% Hispanic
  8% 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