Americans Split On Whether They'd Side With Trump Against Their Representatives

And more of the latest polling news.
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (not pictured) in the Oval Office of the White House on July 25, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he meets with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri (not pictured) in the Oval Office of the White House on July 25, 2017.
Carlos Barria / Reuters

Americans are split over whether they’d be more likely to support President Donald Trump or their own congressional representative in a disagreement, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. Trump voters, however, are squarely with him, even in a hypothetical face-off against fellow members of the GOP.

Twenty-seven percent of Americans say they’d side with their representative in Congress over Trump, while 25 percent say they’d side with the president. The rest say they wouldn’t side with either, or that they’re unsure.

But two-thirds of Trump voters say they’d side with Trump over their Congressional representative, and just 7 percent indicated they’d side with the lawmaker from their district.

Sixty-seven percent of Trump voters also say they’d side with him if he disagreed with the Republicans in Congress, with only 5 percent saying they’d be more inclined to support the congressional GOP ― a 62 percentage point gap. That’s an increase since January, when a poll taken just before Trump’s inauguration put the gap at a relatively modest 41 points.

While the question asked by the survey is broad, the idea of political distance between the president and his Republican colleagues in Congress isn’t entirely theoretical. The poll comes amid the party’s tortured, ongoing attempts to move forward on repealing President Obama’s health care law, and the continuing investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

“Republican support for the president has started to crack,” The New York Times’ David Leonhardt wrote Monday. “Below the leadership level, Republicans are defying Trump more often, and [Senate Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell and [House Speaker Paul] Ryan aren’t always standing in their way.”

The public also perceives some of that split between Trump and the party, although he’s still viewed as generally having the GOP’s backing.

Just a tenth of Americans believe that nearly all congressional Republicans generally support Trump, with 36 percent saying that most support him, and 34 percent saying that just some or almost none support him.

Nine percent of Trump voters say that the president has the support of almost all of his party in Congress, with 49 percent saying that most congressional Republicans support him, and 34 percent that just some or almost none do.

Public perceptions of Trump’s standing with the rest of the GOP ― and vice versa ― could matter for the state of intra-party politics heading into the next midterms, and beyond.

If enough Republicans take a public stand against Trump, it could hurt his standing with his own voters, who now support him less intensely than they did at the beginning of his presidency, and shake the stark partisan split that’s built up around issues like the Russia controversy.

Then again, it might not. In a June survey, most Trump voters believed the president’s decision to fire former FBI Director James Comey had raised concerns among some or even most other Republican politicians in Washington. But most of those Trump voters also said that they themselves believed that Trump had made the right call.

And despite Trump’s overall unpopularity, the emerging fractures could also have consequences for Republicans who openly turn against him, as David Wasserman argued Monday.

“There is no guarantee that Trump die-hards will feel motivated to stick up for GOP congressional candidates in 20 months’ time. In fact, as 2016 showed, one huge reason they loved Trump was that he railed against Republicans in Congress,” he wrote in FiveThirtyEight. “And if you’re one of those incumbent Republicans, even in a blue state or district, there’s no faster way to lose authenticity or alienate the Trump base than to look like you’re constantly posturing. It just might cost you your job.”


HOW LOW CAN TRUMP’S APPROVAL GO? - Steven Shepard and Jon McClure: “A POLITICO analysis of Trump’s approval ratings and more than four decades of presidential polling data suggests it’s unlikely Trump’s numbers will significantly change for the better over the next 12 months, imperiling the fate of his stalled legislative agenda and potentially threatening the GOP’s House majority in next year’s midterm elections….[T]o climb above 50 percent approval by rallying his base alone, Trump would need to have nearly unanimous approval among conservatives. Otherwise he would need to double his support among moderates or quadruple his support among liberals, alone, to get to 50.” [Politico]

WHY TRUMP’S RATINGS AMONG REPUBLICANS MAY BE LOWER THAN THEY SEEM - Brendan Nyhan: “A new working paper by the Emory University political scientists B. Pablo Montagnes, Zachary Peskowitz and Joshua McCrain argues that people who identify as Republican may stop doing so if they disapprove of Trump, creating a false stability in his partisan approval numbers even as the absolute number of people approving him shrinks….Trump remains popular among the people who currently identify as Republican, but there is a group of ‘missing’ former Republicans who most likely disapprove of him and are excluded from that calculation altogether.” [NYT]

NEW POLL FINDS A TIED GUBERNATORIAL RACE IN VIRGINIA - Monmouth University: “The race for Virginia governor is neck and neck in the first Monmouth University Poll of the 2017 election there. Pres. Trump could be having a small but decisive impact on the election as it stands now, driving some voters toward the Democratic nominee. The poll also finds that health care is the top issue for Virginia voters in this election. Currently, 44% of likely voters support Republican Ed Gillespie and 44% support Democrat Ralph Northam. Libertarian candidate Cliff Hyra gets 3% of the vote and 9% are undecided.” Other recent public polling on the race is relatively scarce. A June Quinnipiac survey gave Northam an 8-point edge, while two Republican polls that month ― an internal survey conducted for Gillespie by Public Opinion Strategies, and a landline-only poll from the GOP firm Harper Polling showed a closer race. [Monmouth]

DEMOCRATIC WOMEN SAY THEY’RE INCREASINGLY TUNED IN TO POLITICS - Pew Research: “Following an election that had one of the largest gender gaps in history, women are more likely than men to say they are paying increased attention to politics.

And while far more Democrats than Republicans say they have attended a political event, rally or protest since the election, Democratic women – especially younger women and those with postgraduate degrees – are among the most likely to have participated in such a political gathering….Democrats feel more negatively about talking politics with people who have a different opinion of the president than do Republicans….White Democrats and Democratic leaners are more likely than black and Hispanic Democrats to say it is stressful and frustrating to talk to people with different opinions of Trump. About three quarters of white Democrats (74%) say it is frustrating, compared with 56% of black Democrats and 61% of Hispanic Democrats.” [Pew]

BUT WILL DEMOCRATS TURN OUT IN 2018? - Mike DeBonis and Emily Guskin: “A Washington Post-ABC News poll offers conflicting forecasts for the 2018 midterm elections, with voters clearly preferring Democrats in control of Congress to check President Trump even as Republicans appear more motivated to show up at the polls…. a surge in anti-Trump protests does not appear to have translated into heightened Democratic voter enthusiasm — a signal that could temper Democrats’ hopes for retaking the House majority next year….The survey also suggests that a shifting electorate could end up propelling Democrats to major gains if voters who have skipped previous midterm elections show up to cast ballots in 2018.” [WashPost]

‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Economic optimism isn’t helping President Trump’s approval ratings. [Fox]

-Trump has a majority approval in 17 states, according to new Gallup data. [Gallup]

-Americans consider Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting inappropriate, but a plurality buy the argument that “most politicians” would have taken it. [HuffPost]

-Emily Swanson and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar find little support for repealing Obamacare without a replacement. [AP]

-Mark Murray looks at the polling in some “key Trump counties.” [NBC]

-Harry Enten notes Republicans won’t have Hillary Clinton to run against in 2018. [538]

-Ron Brownstein highlights the areas where Republicans may be losing ground. [Atlantic]

-Kyle Kondik argues that House Republicans shouldn’t take past wins as a guarantee of their midterm prospects. [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]

-Joseph Lichterman reviews a study finding that British news consumers often don’t remember which sources they’ve read. [Nieman Lab]

-Laura Wronski takes an in-depth look at who’s responding to surveys at what time of day. [SurveyMonkey]

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The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted July 15-16 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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