What late December giveth to President Donald Trump’s job approval rating, early January taketh away, at least partially. Over the past two weeks, 42 percent of Americans interviewed by SurveyMonkey say they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, down two percentage points from 44 percent earlier in January.
In our previous update, which occurred on the heels of passage of the Republican tax overhaul, Trump’s rating had risen slightly, to 44 percent, after many months of hovering mostly between 39 and 41 percent in SurveyMonkey’s tracking. His disapproval rating had fallen to just 54 percent after many months of varying between 57 and 60 percent. Over the past two weeks, however, Trump’s disapproval rating edged back up to 56 percent.
While the overall holiday bump up in Trump’s overall rating has since partially faded, the improvement in the percentage who say they strongly approve has been more resilient. That number increased to 24 percent in late December and has remained unchanged in SurveyMonkey’s tracking over the past three weeks.
The late-December improvement in Trump’s rating came from a combination of Republicans and non-leaning independents. The gains among Republicans mostly remain, although his approval among independents who lean Republican ticked down from 89 to 86 percent over the past two weeks. The minor improvement in approval among non-leaning independents has faded, however, from 35 to 32 percent.
The trends are similar for intensity of opinion about Trump. The percentage who strongly approve of Trump among Republicans (56 percent) and Republican-leaning independents (52 percent) are a few points off their late December highs, but still better than the numbers recorded for most of the latter half of 2017.
Trump’s slightly improved standing among Republicans coincides with a modest uptick in perceptions of Trump’s ability to “get things done.” Thirty percent of Americans now select that characteristic as applying to the president. It had fallen off steadily -- and more rapidly than other traits tested -- over the course of 2017, from 38 percent in February to a low of 25 percent in early November.
Not surprisingly, Trump’s recent gains on “get things done” were greatest among Republicans and Republican leaning independents, rising 10 percentage points (from 54 to 64 percent). Independents who lean to neither party rose slightly (from 16 to 22 percent). Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents were unchanged at just 5 percent.
Over the past year, SurveyMonkey’s tracking surveys have periodically asked respondents to select from a list of personal characteristics and qualities those they feel best apply to President Trump. Nearly all declined during 2017, but “can get things done” and “keeps his promises” fell most. Both have rebounded slightly on the most recent survey, though Trump’s scores on both still show the biggest drops on those measures since February 2017.
Trump’s numbers have continued to fall on “stands up for what he believes in,” currently selected by just 36 percent of Americans, down from 44 percent at the beginning of his term.
Methodology: This week’s SurveyMonkey Tracking poll testing President Trump’s approval rating was conducted online January 4 through 17, 2018 among a national sample of 13,363 adults. Questions about Trump’s personal characteristics were asked on a survey of 1,457 adults conducted January 10 through 11, 2018. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data for this week have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. More details on SurveyMonkey's methodology are available here.