Most Of Trump's Voters Don't Think He's Changed Since Taking Office

The president's base remains solidly behind him, although their fervency may be slightly cooled.
U.S. President Donald Trump appears on stage at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 29, 2017.
U.S. President Donald Trump appears on stage at a rally in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. April 29, 2017.

President Trump’s supporters don’t feel like he’s flip-flopped. The public has mixed expectations for whether Trump will Make America Great Again. And there’s a shakeup in the world of exit polling. This is HuffPollster for Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

FEW TRUMP VOTERS FEEL BETRAYED BY TRUMP’S POLICY SHIFTS - HuffPollster: “[D]espite Trump’s flip-flops on economic and foreign policy issues, most of his supporters still feel they’re getting exactly the man they voted for, new HuffPost/YouGov polling shows. The majority, 63 percent of voters who supported Trump in last year’s election say his current policies are not very or not at all different from the ideas he espoused as a candidate. Only 30 percent of voters who supported Trump in last year’s election say his policy views are ‘somewhat different’ since he took office — and just 4 percent say they are ‘very different.’ And although the sample size of Trump voters who say he’s changed is very small, the results suggest that those voters are more likely to prefer his new positions. At a rough estimate, just over a tenth of the voters who supported Trump believe he’s changed for the worse since taking office, with about 14 percent saying they prefer the policies he now holds.” [HuffPost]

Trump’s base remains solid, but the intensity of their support has ticked down - More: “In the first weeks of Trump’s presidency, according to the Economist/YouGov tracking poll, around 90 percent of his voters said they approved of his job performance, with two-thirds approving strongly. While his overall approval with that group has remained relatively stable, the percentage who strongly approve has drifted downward, reaching its lowest ebb ― 51 percent ― in late March, following the failed attempt to pass an Obamacare repeal bill. In the last three weeks, between 56 and 61 percent of Trump’s supporters have said they strongly approve of his handling of the presidency.”

PUBLIC IS SPLIT ON WHETHER TRUMP WILL LIVE UP TO CAMPAIGN PROMISES - HuffPollster: “Nine percent of Americans say Trump has already lived up to most of his campaign promises, while another 31 percent expect him to do so in the future. Forty-four percent say he’s unlikely to ever do so….The public has more faith in some of Trump’s promises than others. Most recognize his accomplishment in naming Justice Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, and nearly two-thirds think the Keystone XL pipeline, which Trump pushed forward with an executive order, is likely to be built. A majority also believe Trump will succeed in renegotiating international trade deals, temporarily banning refugees from some Muslim countries and deporting millions of undocumented immigrants, although few yet credit him with reaching any of these goals. Just shy of half think he has or will eventually bring manufacturing jobs back to the country. But fewer than half of the public now expects Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act, a feat he promised to accomplish on the first day of his presidency, or to fulfill his perennial pledge to ‘make America great again.’ Fewer than a third thinks the president has or will eventually “drain the swamp” in Washington. And the majority recognize that Trump’s promised border wall, a centerpiece of his campaign, is unlikely to materialize ― and even unlikelier to be funded by Mexico.” [HuffPost]

HOW TRUMP’S RATINGS MAY BE AFFECTING HIS PRESIDENCY - Steven Shepard: “While Trump’s average approval rating among Republicans is 86 percent, according to HuffPost Pollster, George W. Bush was at 93 percent among Republicans at the eve of his inaugural 100-day anniversary. Barack Obama was at 92 percent among Democrats. Polarization of views about Trump’s first months in the White House is nearly off the charts...Trump’s average approval among Democrats, according to HuffPost Pollster? Only 10 percent….There are already signs that Trump’s standing after 100 days — Republicans like him, but few others do — is driving the way he is governing: robust executive action, while chafing against the other two branches of government….[P]ublic opinion of him and his job performance could remain stable for the time being, shaping a static, polarized and divided political environment prior to next year’s midterms.” [Politico]

OPINIONS OF THE PRESIDENT ARE DIVIDED ALONG GEOGRAPHIC LINES - Dante Chinni: “[T]he socio-economic fault lines on display in the presidential election still very much divide the political landscape in early 2017. Adults living in rural evangelical and working-class communities give the president high marks, with more than six in 10 approving of his performance. However, in large cities and dense suburban areas, his approval rating is lower than 35%. Meanwhile, people living in less diverse, blue-collar Middle Suburbs are divided in their evaluations of Trump….The different opinions about Trump are not a surprise; the U.S. has a diverse community landscape. But the sharpness of these differences is notable at such an early point in a presidency. The divisions in Trump’s job approval are stark when compared with the beginning of Barack Obama’s time in the White House. In the first quarter of Obama’s presidency, his approval rating averaged 45% or higher in every community type in the ACP, and those numbers held through the second quarter. The numbers for Obama later split to show sharper divides at the community level, but not to the degree currently seen for Trump until 2012.” [Gallup]

FOX NEWS BREAKS WITH EXIT POLLING CONSORTIUM - Michael Calderone: “Fox News has broken with the National Election Pool, a consortium of five major television networks and The Associated Press that share the costs and results of exit polls for national elections. ‘We’ve had concerns with Election Day exit polling for many years, and this year once again proved that they are problematic,’ Jay Wallace, Fox’s executive vice president of news, said in a statement after HuffPost learned the network was dropping out.’Our plan is to explore and find a more modern measurement of voter sentiment on Election Day.’...With Fox out, The AP and four TV networks — CBS, ABC, NBC, and CNN — will presumably each have to pay more for the exit polling, which is conducted by Edison Research and costs millions of dollars.” [HuffPost]

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

-Alex Roarty talks to Democratic strategists who blame Hillary Clinton’s loss on Obama-Trump voters. [McClatchy]

-Politico surveys the press corps about covering Trump. [Politico]

-Ross Butters and Christopher Hare find most Americans discuss politics within a partisan bubble. [WashPost]

-Karen Turner follows up with Clinton and Trump voters included in a recent survey. [Vox]

-Cary Funk notes that Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to support federal spending for scientific research. [Pew]

-Lynn Vavreck writes on ways the 2016 election didn’t stray from the norm. [NYT]

-John Whitesides analyzes Americans’ rising anxieties about race relations. [Reuters]