Skip to main content
Monmouth University Polling Institute

Trump is His Own Worst Spokesperson; Spicer, Conway Not Much Better

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

VP Pence does best job representing his boss

West Long Branch, NJ  - President Trump may not be well-served by his primary spokespeople, but he is probably his own worst mouthpiece, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll . More Americans say that Donald Trump, press secretary Sean Spicer, and counselor Kellyanne Conway tend to hurt rather than help the administration's cause when they step in front of the media. Reviews are mixed for deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. Vice President Mike Pence is the only official tested in the poll who has a net positive impact when he speaks on behalf of the administration.

Fully 6-in-10 (61%) Americans say Trump does more to hurt his own cause when he speaks on behalf of the administration. Just 33% say he does more to help his administration when he speaks publicly.

More say that Spicer hurts (42%) rather than helps (28%) the president when he takes to the press room podium, with 3-in-10 registering no opinion.

A similar number say that Conway hurts (40%) rather than helps (28%) the president when she hits the cable news circuit, with about 3-in-10 registering no opinion.

Opinion is divided on Sanders at 23% helps and 22% hurts, although more than half of the public have no opinion of her performance.

Pence is the only one of five officials tested who usually puts his best foot forward according to the poll. A majority (53%) say he does more to help the president and just 29% say he does more harm when he speaks on behalf of the administration.

"This is the epitome of a no-win situation. It's not as if Trump's appointed spokespeople are doing worse than the man himself. It may simply be an impossible task to represent this president and come off as credible," said Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute in West Long Branch, New Jersey.

The usual hyper-partisan splits in American public opinion also apply to these results.  Republicans tend to see all of these officials as doing a good job making the president's case, including Pence, (87% helps - 4% hurts), Trump (67% - 25%), Spicer (53% - 15%), Conway (53% - 16%), and Sanders (40% - 5%).

Democrats tend to think four of these officials are hopeless as administration spokespersons, although they are somewhat more divided on Mike Pence (32% helps - 48% hurts). No more than 1-in-10 Democrats think that Trump (10% helps - 86% hurts), Spicer (11% - 61%), Conway (9% - 57%), and Sanders (11% - 36%) do a good job in front of the cameras - or on Twitter, as the case may be.

"It shouldn't escape DC's attention that the vice president is seen as a better mouthpiece for the administration than the man who actually occupies the Oval Office, even among their fellow Republicans," said Murray.

The Monmouth University Poll was conducted by telephone from May 13 to 17, 2017 with 1,002 adults in the United States, although no interviews were conducted on Sunday May 14.  The results in this release have a margin of error of +/- 3.1 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.)

 

[Q1-19 previously released.]

 

[QUESTIONS 20 THROUGH 24 WERE ROTATED]

 

I’m going to read you a list of White House officials who sometime speak for the Trump administration. Regardless of whether you agree or disagree with President Trump, please tell me if each person does more to help or more to hurt the president when they speak on behalf of the administration. If you are not familiar with a person I name please let me know.
First…[READ NAME] – Does [s/he] do more to help or more to hurt the president when [s/he] speaks for the administration?

 

  1. Sean Spicer
  May
2017
More to help 28%
More to hurt 42%
Not familiar with person 22%
(VOL) Don’t know 8%
(n) (1,002)

 

  1. Kellyanne Conway
  May
2017
More to help 28%
More to hurt 40%
Not familiar with person 24%
(VOL) Don’t know 7%
(n) (1,002)

 

  1. Sarah Huckabee Sanders
  May
2017
More to help 23%
More to hurt 22%
Not familiar with person 46%
(VOL) Don’t know 9%
(n) (1,002)

 

  1. Mike Pence
  May
2017
More to help 53%
More to hurt 29%
Not familiar with person 11%
(VOL) Don’t know 7%
(n) (1,002)
  1. Donald Trump
  May
2017
More to help 33%
More to hurt 61%
Not familiar with person 0%
(VOL) Don’t know 6%
(n) (1,002)

 

METHODOLOGY

The Monmouth University Poll was sponsored and conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute from May 13 to 17, 2017 with a national random sample of 1,002 adults age 18 and older, in English. This includes 501 contacted by a live interviewer on a landline telephone and 501 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 3.1 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

24% Republican
45% Independent
31% Democrat
 
49% Male
51% Female
 
32% 18-34
37% 35-54
31% 55+
 
66% 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