2018 Shaping Up Big For Democrats

| Tom Jensen

Democrats picked up big wins in special elections in Florida and New Hampshire this week, and PPP’s newest national poll finds there might be a lot more where that came from. Democrats continue to hold a double digit lead on the generic Congressional ballot at 48-37, which should position them to pick up a lot of seats across the country next year.

One reason for the strong position Democrats are in is fallout from the GOP’s failed efforts on health care, and our new poll makes it clear Jimmy Kimmel won the health care battle in the court of public opinion. By a 47/34 spread, voters say they trust Kimmel more than the Republicans in Congress when it comes to health care issues. Kimmel has a 47/30 favorability rating nationally. By contrast Paul Ryan is at a 25/51 approval rating, Mitch McConnell is at 14/61, and Congress as a whole has a 9/76 approval.

Only 27% of voters support the most recent Republican health care bill to 53% who oppose it. By contrast the Affordable Care Act continues to have new found popularity with 48% of voters in favor of it and 34% against. Asked which of the bills they prefer the Affordable Care Act beats out the Graham-Cassidy repeal bill 53-34, and only 32% of voters think the best path forward on health care is to repeal the Affordable Care Act while 62% think it’s best to keep it and makes fixes as necessary.

The health care debate is having a bad impact on Republicans electorally. By a 19 point margin voters say they’re less likely to support a member of Congress who voted for the health care repeal bill- 48% say they’re less likely to vote for such an incumbent next year to only 29% who say they’re more likely to.

Donald Trump continues to be unpopular with 42% of voters approving of him to 53% who disapprove. Some new issues that have cropped up in the last few weeks are causing him problems in addition to the ongoing issues causing his unpopularity. Only 37% of voters think it’s appropriate for him to refer to a foreign leader as ‘Rocket Man’ to 56% who think it’s inappropriate. Only 24% of voters think it’s appropriate for him to use campaign funds to pay for his legal expenses, to 64% who think it’s inappropriate. And only 20% of voters think it’s appropriate for his cabinet secretaries to fly on taxpayer funded private plans, to 71% who say it’s inappropriate.

Beyond those specific issues voters continue to have concerns with Trump’s general temperament. Only 39% of voters think he’s honest, to 54% who consider him to be dishonest. A plurality of voters- 47%- consider Trump to be mentally unbalanced to only 45% who consider him to be mentally stable. 58% of voters still want to see Trump’s tax returns, to only 35% who think it isn’t necessary for him to release them. Only 35% of voters think Trump has fulfilled his core campaign promise to ‘Make America Great Again’ to 53% who think he has not delivered. And for the fifth month in a row we find voters in support of impeachment- 48% favor it, to 43% who are opposed.

Without Hillary Clinton to kick around anymore Trump has tried to turn the media into his foil, but we continue to find that he is losing all of his battles with the media. For the first time we added ESPN to the list of outlets we compared Trump with this month, and voters say they trust ESPN over him by a 48/38 spread. A plurality of voters- 37%- nationally have no opinion about ESPN with 33% seeing it favorably and 30% unfavorably. Clinton voters give it a 44/11 favorability, while it comes in at 20/54 with Trump voters. Trump is losing the rest of his media fights by similar margins to what we’ve typically found:

Do you have a higher opinion of Donald Trump or… Winner
CBS CBS, 53/38
NBC NBC, 52/39
ABC ABC, 52/39
Washington Post Washington Post, 52/39
CNN CNN, 51/38
New York Times New York Times, 52/40
ESPN ESPN, 48/38

Trump continues to fare very poorly in possible match ups against Democrats for 2020. We tested Hillary Clinton against Trump this month for the first time, mostly as a baseline for comparison against other possible Democratic candidates, and Clinton leads Trump by 5 points at 47/42. 3 Democrats we tested clearly perform more strongly against Trump than Clinton- Joe Biden who leads by 13 points at 53/40, Bernie Sanders who leads by 11 points at 51/40, and Michelle Obama who leads by 10 points at 51/41. Biden and Sanders both win over 10% of people who voted for Trump last fall while losing almost no Clinton voters.

Other Democrats we tested against Trump are Cory Booker who leads him 47/40, Elizabeth Warren who leads him 47/41, Kirsten Gillibrand who leads him 42/39, and Kamala Harris who leads him 41/40. The percentage support the Democrat gets in these match ups varies from 41% to 53% probably depending on their name recognition, but Trump’s support is pretty constant in the 39-42% range against all of these possible challengers.

Voters also wish by a 52/41 margin that Barack Obama was still President instead of Trump.

Trump may be doing poorly with the overall electorate but he’s still in pretty firm control of the Republican Party. By a 34 point margin, 61/27, GOP voters say they’d rather have Trump be their candidate for President in 2020 than anyone else. His margins against specific potential Republican challengers are even more emphatic. He leads Mike Pence by 38 points at 59/21, John Kasich by 50 points at 68/18, and Ted Cruz by 53 points at 68/15. His leadership style might not be doing much to help him win over Americans in the middle but it’s helping him keep a strong hold on his party base.Other notes from our national poll:

-Only 15% of voters think Mexico is actually going to pay for a wall with the United States, to 71% who don’t believe that’s going to happen. Even among Trump’s voters just 32% think he will be able to deliver on his promise to make Mexico pay for the wall. Most Americans don’t want the wall anyway though- just 33% support it to 56% who say they are opposed.

-A rare thing that really does bring together Americans across the political spectrum is support for DACA- 74% of voters think children brought to the US by their immigrant parents and raised in the country should be allowed to stay and apply for citizenship to only 18% who don’t think they should be allowed to. That includes 92/5 support from Clinton voters and 52/34 support even from Trump voters.

-Sean Spicer has not been able to rehabilitate his image since leaving the White House. Only 23% of voters see him favorably to 41% who have an unfavorable opinion of him. Those numbers are a little worse even than the 24/37 spread he had in January right after prominently lying about the size of the crowd at Trump’s inauguration.

-Finally we find that the Trump era has ushered in a huge divide among Americans…about awards shows. Overall there is a pretty dim view of awards shows, with 22% of voters seeing them favorably to 49% who have a negative opinion about them. Clinton voters have mixed feelings about them- 31% favorable, 31% unfavorable. But Trump voters absolutely hate them- just 11% see awards shows positively with 73% having an unfavorable opinion of them.

Full results here

Related Polls