HUFFPOLLSTER: Donald Trump's Approval Rating Is Underwater In Key Counties

Views of the president are negative in some of the nation's most closely contested regions.
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. March 3, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

A new survey analyzes Donald Trump’s ratings at the county level. Most of the public didn’t see Trump’s address to Congress as a pivot. And sometimes, how pollsters ask about a policy doesn’t do much to affect the results. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, March 7, 2017.

TRUMP’S JOB PERFORMANCE GETS NEGATIVE REVIEWS IN SWING COUNTIES - Monmouth University: “The 2016 election was decided by a matter of degrees. The vast majority of counties gave either Trump or Hillary Clinton a double digit victory margin.  The president has a solid 55% approve and 33% disapprove rating among residents of the nearly 2,500 counties that gave Trump a victory margin of ten points or more. He is upside down - 33% approve and 57% disapprove - among residents of the more than 400 counties he lost by ten points or more. Opinion is divided at 41% approve and 46% disapprove among residents of the just over 300 counties where the 2016 winning margin was in the single digits. There is very little difference in opinion in these ‘swing counties’ based on which candidate won there. In just over half of these counties that were won by Trump, his job rating stands at 43% approve and 48% disapprove. Among the remaining swing counties won by Hillary Clinton, 40% of residents approve of Trump’s job performance and 44% disapprove. [Monmouth]

Dante Chinni breaks down Trump’s supporters by geography. [WSJ]

FEW SAW TRUMP’S ADDRESS TO CONGRESS AS A ‘PIVOT’ - HuffPollster: “Americans who tuned into Donald Trump’s speech to Congress last Tuesday mostly didn’t see it as a departure from his past rhetoric or actions, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, with even fewer expecting it to lead to the ‘pivot’ periodically promised by pundits since he first clinched the Republican nomination. A 52 percent majority of Americans who watched Trump’s address, or who followed the subsequent news coverage, say that the tone and content of the speech were similar to most of what he’s said and done since becoming president, with just 33 percent saying the speech’s tone and content differed from his previous actions. Among the third who did see the speech as a break from the past, 51 percent expected Trump to go back to the way he usually behaves, while just 36 percent thought he would continue to behave the way he did during his speech.” [HuffPost]

The speech was positively received by most who tuned in - More from HuffPollster: “A 57 percent majority of those who watched Trump’s speech or followed subsequent news coverage approve, with just 34 percent disapproving. Fifty-one percent say the speech spent enough time focusing on the issues they care about most, while 28 percent say it spent too much time on other issues. Presidential addresses historically have tended to get high marks, for a pretty simple reason ― people who like the president to begin with are more likely to watch….Trump’s approval rating, for instance, was 7 points higher among those who paid attention to the address than it was among the full sample of Americans in the poll….Close to half of those who watched or followed coverage of the speech say it had no impact on their opinion of Trump’s actions as president, the HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, with a similar percentage saying it didn’t affect their views of his temperament.”

AMERICANS ARE SPLIT ON REVOKING THE INDIVIDUAL MANDATE - Jennifer Agiesta: “Americans are sharply divided on revoking Obamacare’s mandate that individuals obtain health insurance coverage, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, a change that’s a key provision of a newly-released Republican plan to repeal and replace the 2010 law. The survey, conducted before the details of the GOP plan were released Monday, also finds mixed views on several other provisions included in the new proposal. The public is broadly opposed to reductions in funding for Medicaid, though there is near-universal support for maintaining the protections afforded to those with pre-existing conditions under the Affordable Care Act….There’s also a significant partisan gap on the individual mandate, with 60% of Democrats opposed to removing it and 55% of Republicans in favor.” [CNN]

QUESTION WORDING DOESN’T NECESSARILY MAKE A DIFFERENCE - Cameron Easley and Kyle Dropp on a study comparing support for President Trump’s executive order on travel across 96 different question wording choices: “Polls have shown varying levels of support for President Donald Trump’s controversial, stalled executive order temporarily banning refugees and citizens from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States. A new Morning Consult study shows that how questions were phrased on the issue does little to affect voter sentiment….Overall, support for the ban remained relatively high, regardless of how the questions were constructed. Whether the executive order was called a ban or a block did not make much of a difference. Neither did describing its length, or providing more specific information on the countries affected themselves. The largest deviation in responses came from how the people from the Middle Eastern countries affected by the ban were described. Support for the ban is 4 percentage points higher, 55 percent approve vs. 51 percent approve, when the population is described as ‘people’ rather than ‘people, including U.S. lawful permanent residents and visa holders originally.’” [Morning Consult]

PUBLIC CONCERN OVER RUSSIA REACHES COLD WAR LEVELS - HuffPollster: “Americans today are more likely to see Russia as a threat than at any time since the end of the Cold War, according to a new CNN/ORC poll released Monday. Seventy-five percent now rate Russia as either a ‘very serious’ or ‘moderately serious’ threat. The last time Americans were as wary came in November 1985, when Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev was preaching glasnost….More recently, the percentages started to increase in 2012 during a period of increasing tensions between the United States and Russia. In recent months, they have risen again amid the controversy over possible Russian interference in the U.S. election and the claims of ties between the Russian government and President Donald Trump’s campaign and transition team.  Thirty-four percent of Americans now say Russia is a very serious threat, while 41 percent say it’s a moderately serious threat. While this shift is driven mostly by Democrats’ concerns, Republicans and independents are not optimistic about Russia either.” [HuffPost]

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

-Charles Franklin finds Donald Trump’s approval rating remaining relatively stable. [Medium]

-Daniel Donner (D) charts Democrats’ performance in recent special elections. [Twitter]

-Nicholas Confessore and Danny Hakim dig into the record of the data firm Cambridge Analytica. [NYT]

-Brad Fay reviews conversation data that showed a pre-election shift toward Trump. [HuffPost]

-Yochai Benkler, Robert Faris, Hal Roberts, and Ethan Zuckerman report on a study of Breitbart’s role in the right-wing media ecosystem. [CJR]

-Bill Bishop argues that Americans’ fading faith in institutions goes far beyond Trump or “fake news.” [WashPost]

-New research finds that “anyone can become an Internet troll.” [Stanford, Cornell]