Health Care a Mine Field for Republicans; Many Trump Voters in Denial on Russia

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest national poll continues to find that health care is a mine field for the GOP, while most Trump voters are just choosing not to acknowledge the Russia story.

Only 20% of voters support the health care bill that was being considered by Congress until last night, to 57% who are opposed to it. Even among Republicans there’s only very narrow support for it- 35% in favor, 34% opposed, and 31% not sure. Democrats (10/72) and independents (17/61) are each strongly opposed to it. 58% of voters say they want Congress to keep the Affordable Care Act in place and make changes to it as necessary, to just 35% who think the best path forward is repealing the ACA and starting over.

Health care could have big electoral implications in 2018. 53% of voters said they were less likely to vote for a member of Congress if they supported the health care bill being considered, to only 21% who said they’d be more likely to support a member who voted yes. One thing that’s particularly notable is the division even within the Republican base on that front. Only 36% of GOP voters would be more likely to support a member of Congress if they voted for that health care bill, to 32% who would be less likely to. That suggests bucking the party on health care isn’t the kind of thing that’s so unpopular it would have much chance of leading to a successful primary challenge from the right.

The current political climate is already looking dicey for Republicans as the 2018 midterms loom. Democrats have a 50/40 lead on the generic Congressional ballot. Much gets made of Donald Trump’s unpopularity and certainly it’s true voters don’t care for him- only 41% approve of the job he’s doing to 55% who disapprove. But Trump comes out looking positively popular compared to Paul Ryan (24/57 approval) and Mitch McConnell (18/58). Congress overall has an 11% approval rating, to 75% of voters who disapprove of it. Democrats should have the opportunity next year to turn them into bogeymen much as Republicans have with Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in recent years.

Health care is turning a lot more Republican leaning voters against their own party’s leadership than Russia is. On Russia related issues we find a certain degree of willful ignorance among Trump voters that can possibly best be summarized by this finding: only 45% of Trump voters believe Donald Trump Jr. had a meeting with Russians about information that might be harmful to Hillary Clinton…even though Trump Jr. admitted it. 32% say the meeting didn’t happen and 24% say they’re not sure.

That finding is in keeping with the general attitude of Trump voters toward the Russia story which is ‘don’t know, don’t care’:

-72% of Trump voters consider the Russia story overall to be ‘fake news,’ only 14% disagree.

-Only 24% of Trump voters even want an investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia, 64% are opposed to an investigation.

-Even if there was an investigation, and it found that the Trump campaign did collude with Russia to aid his campaign, 77% of his supporters think he should still stay in office to just 16% who believe he should resign.

-Only 26% of Trump voters admit that Russia wanted Trump to win the election, 44% claim Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win, and 31% say they’re not sure one way or the other.

-Just 13% of Trump voters believe that members of Trump’s campaign team did work with the Russians to help his campaign, to 81% who say they didn’t. On a related note only 9% believe that either Donald Trump Jr. or Jared Kushner engaged in illegal activity to help Trump get elected, to 77% who say Kushner didn’t and 79% who say Trump Jr. didn’t.

None of that is to say Trump’s overall position isn’t bad. Only 41% of voters approve of the job he’s doing, to 55% who disapprove.  Just 37% of voters consider Trump to be honest, to 57% who say he isn’t. And 52% outright call him a liar, with only 40% disagreeing with that characterization.

Trump does a lot of losing in our poll. Voters wish that either Barack Obama (53/40) or Hillary Clinton (49/42) was President instead of Trump. Trump loses by wide margins in hypothetical matches against Joe Biden (54/39) or Bernie Sanders (52/39) for reelection. Trump loses 12-13% of the folks who voted for him last fall to either Biden or Sanders. Trump also trails in hypothetical contests against Elizabeth Warren (49/42), Cory Booker (45/40), and Kamala Harris (41/40). The one Democrat Trump manages a tie against is Mark Zuckerberg, at 40/40. Zuckerberg is actually not a particularly well known figure nationally- 47% of voters say they have no opinion about him to 24% with a positive one and 29% with a negative one.

Trump also does a lot of losing to the media in our new poll. Voters say they trust NBC and ABC each more than him, 56/38. They say they trust CBS more than him 56/39. They say they trust the New York Times more than him 55/38.  They say they trust CNN more than him 54/39. And they say they trust the Washington Post more than him 53/38.

Only 35% of voters support his border wall with Mexico to 57% who are opposed. 61% of voters still want to see Trump’s tax returns, to only 34% who say it’s not necessary. In fact 56% would support a law requiring Presidential candidates to release 5 years of tax returns to even appear on the ballot, to 35% opposed to that.

Trump does win on one question in our poll- asked whether they think he or Richard Nixon is more corrupt, Trump wins out 42/35. Only 35% of voters think he has ‘Made America Great Again’ to 57% who say he has not. And a plurality- 45%- support his impeachment- to just 43% opposed.

Trump’s right about one thing though- he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Avenue and not lose most of his support. 45% say they would still approve of him even if he shot someone to 29% who say they would disapprove, and 26% who aren’t sure one way or the other.

Finally we asked a few questions about redistricting on our national poll, and found it’s a rare issue that unites voters across party lines:

-Only 16% of voters think politicians generally draw lines for Congressional and Legislative districts that are fair, to 60% who think they’re usually unfair. Just 23% of Republicans, and 13% of Democrats and independents think that district lines are currently being drawn in a way that’s generally fair.

-68% of voters would support laws in their states requiring that Congressional and Legislative district lines be drawn in a nonpartisan fashion, to only 10% opposed to those kinds of laws. 71% of independents, 70% of Democrats, and 63% of Republicans support nonpartisan redistricting.

Full results here

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