June 20, 2018

Voters More Focused on Control of Congress – and the President – Than in Past Midterms

1. Views of Donald Trump

The public’s views of Donald Trump across a number of dimensions – including his respect for democratic institutions, trust in what he says and whether he keeps his business interests separate from the decisions he makes as president – tend to have a fairly similar pattern.

On most measures (including his overall job rating), roughly 40% express positive views of Trump, while the rest of the public expresses negative or (depending on the question) neutral evaluations. And all attitudes about the president are deeply divided along partisan and ideological lines.

As has been the case since late in the 2016 presidential campaign, a majority (currently 60%) says that Trump has not too much (24%) or no respect at all (36%) for the nation’s democratic institutions and traditions. About four-in-ten (38%) say he has a great deal (18%) or a fair amount (20%) of respect for U.S. democratic institutions.

Majority of Americans say Trump has not too much or no respect at all for the nation’s democratic institutions and traditions

Both parties divided ideologically in views of Trump’s respect for democracyA sizable majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (70%) say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for democratic institutions and traditions, though fewer than half (38%) say he has a great deal of respect for these institutions. By comparison, just 13% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for the country’s institutions and traditions. Nearly nine-in-ten Democrats (87%) say he has little or no respect for democratic institutions and traditions – with 59% saying he has no respect at all for them.

The share of Republicans who say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for democratic institutions is 7 percentage points lower today (70%) than in March of this year or February 2017 (77% on both occasions).

Both parties are divided ideologically in views of Trump’s respect for democratic institutions: 47% of conservative Republicans say Trump has a “great deal” of respect for them, nearly double the share of moderate and liberal Republicans (24%). And liberal Democrats (70%) are 20 points more likely than conservative and moderate Democrats (50%) to say Trump has no respect at all for the nation’s democratic institutions and traditions.

Majority says they trust what Trump says less than previous presidentsThere also are sharp partisan differences when people are asked to compare their level of trust in what Trump says to what previous presidents said when they were in office.

Overall, about half of Americans (54%) say they trust what Trump says less than they trusted what previous presidents said while in office, a quarter say they trust what he says more, and 19% trust what he says about the same as they trusted what other presidents said.

These views have not changed a great deal since April of last year, though the share saying they trust what Trump says more than previous presidents has slipped from 30% to 25%, largely because of a decline among Republicans.

Today, 52% of Republicans say they trust what Trump says more than what previous presidents said, down from 66% last year. Democrats continue to overwhelmingly say they trust what Trump says less than past presidents.

Few are very confident Trump keeps business interests separate

Most have little or no confidence Trump keeps his business interests separateAbout four-in-ten Americans (41%) say they are very (23%) or somewhat (18%) confident that Trump keeps his own business interests separate from the decisions he makes as president, while 56% are not too (15%) or not at all (42%) confident that Trump does this.

Roughly three-quarters of Republicans and Republican leaners (77%) express confidence in the president to keep his business interests separate from presidential decisions. Still, a wider majority of conservative Republicans (84%) say this than moderate and liberal Republicans (65%).

Fully 85% of Democrats and Democratic leaners say they are not too or not at all confident in Trump to do this, including 68% who say they are not confident at all.

Liberal Democrats are especially likely to say they have no confidence at all in Trump to keep his business interests separate: 77% say this, compared with 62% of conservative and moderate Democrats.

Republican views of Trump’s impact on the GOP

Few Republicans say Trump has changed GOP for the worseAbout as many Republicans and Republican leaners say Trump has changed the Republican Party for the better (46%) as say he hasn’t changed the GOP much (40%); just 10% think he has changed the party for the worse. These views are little changed from a year ago.

About half of conservative Republicans and leaners (52%) say Trump has changed the GOP for the better, 36% think he hasn’t changed the party much, and just 9% say he has changed the GOP for the worse.

Among moderate and liberal Republicans, a smaller share (34%) say Trump has changed the party for the better, while 49% say he hasn’t changed the party much (only 11% say he has changed the party for the worse).

Those who identify as Republican are more likely to view Trump’s impact on the party positively (53%) than to say he hasn’t changed the party much (34%). By contrast, the balance of opinion is reversed among independents who lean toward the Republican Party: 51% say he hasn’t changed the party much, while a third say he has changed the GOP for the better. Only about one-in-ten in either group say he has changed the party for the worse.

Widely varying views of Trump’s respect for different societal groups

Most Americans say Trump respects white people and men; far fewer say he respects women and minoritiesThe public gives sharply divergent assessments of Trump’s level of respect for differing gender, racial and ethnic, religious and other groups in society.

Majorities say Trump has a great deal or a fair amount of respect for men, white people, evangelical Christians and veterans.

Americans are less positive in evaluations of the level of respect Trump has for women, black people, Hispanic people, Muslims and immigrants. For each, more say he has little or no respect than say he has a great deal or fair amount of respect.

Moreover, nearly half say Trump has no respect “at all” for Muslims (47%) and immigrants (48%).

Overall, 46% say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for “people like you.” Somewhat more (52%) say he has not too much or no respect at all for people like them.

And two-thirds of the public (67%) says that Trump has little or no respect for people who voted for Hillary Clinton – with 47% saying he has no respect at all for Clinton supporters.

Sizable partisan gaps in views of Trump’s respect for nearly all groups

Wide partisan divides on whether Trump respects most groups, ‘people like you’There are large partisan divides in views of Trump’s respect for most demographic and other societal groups. Across the 11 groups asked about in the survey, large majorities of Republicans and Republican leaners say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for nine.

About half of Republicans (53%) say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for Muslims, while 45% say the same about his respect for people who voted for Clinton.

Democrats, by contrast, have overwhelming negative assessments of Trump’s respect for nine of the 11 groups. Just 8% say he has a great deal or a fair amount of respect for immigrants; 91% say he has not too much (16%) or no respect at all (75%) for immigrants.

Similarly, just 5% of Democrats say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for Muslims. About nine-in-ten (92%) say he has little or no respect for Muslims, including 71% who say he has no respect at all for them.

However, there are two groups – white people and men – that majorities in both parties say that Trump respects. About nine-in-ten Republicans (92%) say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for white people, as do 77% of Democrats. And majorities of Republicans (92%) and Democrats (68%) say Trump respects men.

Gender differences in views of Trump’s respect for men and women

Wide gender gap among younger people in views of Trump’s respect for womenMen and women generally think that Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for men. But they differ on how much respect he has for women.

Nearly half of men (47%) say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for women, compared with 39% of women.

Gender differences in these views are much wider among younger adults than older people. Among those younger than 50, nearly half of men (48%) say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for women, compared with 30% of women.

There are no significant differences in opinion among adults 50 and older: Roughly half of women (49%) and men (46%) say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for women.

Majorities of Republican men and women say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for women, though Republican men (83%) are more likely to say this than women (73%). Small shares of both Democratic men (14%) and women (16%) say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for women.

Views of Trump’s respect for white, black and Hispanic people

Few blacks and Hispanics say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for people of their race, ethnicityIn assessments of Trump’s respect for racial groups, there are wide differences by race and ethnicity.

Sizable majorities of whites (84%), blacks (77%) and Hispanics (78%) say that Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for white people.

By contrast, there are wider gaps in views of Trump’s respect for black and Hispanic people.

Among whites, 54% think Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for black people; fewer Hispanics (32%) say the same. Just two-in-ten blacks think Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for black people.

Similarly, about half of whites (48%) think Trump has respect for Hispanic people, compared with much smaller shares of blacks (21%) and Hispanics (20%).

Views of Trump’s respect for ‘people like you’

About half say Trump has little or no respect for people like themNearly half of Americans (46%) say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for people like them, while 52% think he has little or no respect.

These views, like opinions about Trump’s respect for various groups, differ widely by race, gender, age and partisanship.

A large majority of Republicans (82%) say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for people like them. Among demographic groups, more than half of whites (55%) and men younger than 50 (54%) say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for people like them.

By contrast, just 18% of Democrats, 18% of blacks, 31% of Hispanics and 40% of women say he has a great deal or fair amount of respect for people like them.

Younger women, in particular, have a negative view of Trump’s respect for people like them: Just 35% say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for people like them – nearly 20 percentage points lower than 18- to 49-year-old men (54%). There are no significant differences in opinions among older men and women.

Among religious groups, 74% of white evangelical Protestants say Trump has a great deal or fair amount of respect for people like them, as do 54% of white mainline Protestants. Fewer than half of Catholics (44%) say Trump has at least a fair amount of respect for people like them; just 34% of those with no religious affiliation and 18% of black Protestants say the same.

Trump job approval little changed

Race, gender, age and education differences in Trump job approvalTrump’s overall job approval has changed little over the course of this year. Currently, 40% approve of his job performance, while 54% disapprove. His approval rating was 39% in May, 39% in March and 37% in January.

The wide demographic differences in opinions about Trump – that have been evident since even before he took office – persist. While men are divided over Trump’s job performance (46% approve, 48% disapprove), women are far more likely to disapprove (60%) than approve (34%).

And Trump’s job approval is 12 percentage points lower among women younger than 50 (28%) than women 50 and older (40%). There is no gap in the views of younger and older men: 46% of both groups approve of the job he is doing.

Trump retains overwhelming support from Republicans and Republican leaners (79% approve), especially conservative Republicans (84%). Among Democrats and Democratic leaners, 86% disapprove of Trump’s job performance, including 93% of liberal Democrats.