Trump Holds Steady After Charlottesville; Supporters Think Whites, Christians Face Discrimination

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest national poll finds that Donald Trump’s approval rating is pretty steady in the wake of the Charlottesville attack, probably because his supporters think that whites and Christians are the most oppressed groups of people in the country. 40% of voters approve of the job Trump is doing to 53% who disapprove, little change from the 41/55 spread we found for him in July.

The reason Trump hasn’t lost more ground for his widely panned response to the attack is probably that many of his supporters agree with some of the beliefs that led white supremacists to rally in Charlottesville in the first place. Asked what racial group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 45% of Trump voters say it’s white people followed by 17% for Native Americans with 16% picking African Americans, and 5% picking Latinos. Asked what religious group they think faces the most discrimination in America, 54% of Trump voters says it’s Christians followed by 22% for Muslims and 12% for Jews. There is a mindset among many Trump voters that it’s whites and Christians getting trampled on in America that makes it unlikely they would abandon Trump over his ‘both sides’ rhetoric.

Overall 89% of Americans have a negative opinion of neo-Nazis to 3% with a positive one, and 87% have an unfavorable opinion of white supremacists to 4% with a positive one. Just 11% agree with the sentiment that it’s possible for white supremacists and neo-Nazis to be ‘very fine people,’ to 69% who say that’s not possible.

Confederate Issues

Voters have nuanced views when it comes to Confederate monuments. Overall 39% say they support monuments honoring the Confederacy to 34% who say they oppose them. That’s basically unchanged from the 42/35 spread we found on this question when we polled it in June. Trump voters support them by a 71/10 spread- to put those numbers into perspective only 65% of Trump voters oppose Obamacare, so this is a greater unifier for the Trump base. Even though voters narrowly support the monuments though, 58% also say they support relocating them from government property and moving them to museums or other historic sites where they can be viewed in proper historical context. There’s bipartisan support for that approach with Democrats (72/14), independents (52/27), and Republicans (46/42) all in favor of it. Voters don’t necessarily want Confederate monuments destroyed, but they also don’t necessarily think they need to be places where everyone is forced to walk by them every day.

Robert E. Lee has a 36/24 favorability with Americans, with 40% having no opinion of him either way. He’s at a 61/10 spread with Trump voters but just a 17/40 spread with Clinton voters. In a finding that says a lot about how we got to where we are today, Trump voters say they would rather have Jefferson Davis as President than Barack Obama 45/20. Obama wins that question 56/21 with the overall electorate.

Congress and 2018

Things are continuing to look good for Democrats in 2018, as they lead the generic Congressional ballot 49-35. The 14 point lead for Democrats may be too good to be true though- it’s a function of a highly divided Republican base at this point. While Clinton voters say they’ll vote Democratic for Congress next year 90-4, Trump voters say they will vote Republican by only a 74-13 margin. Part of the reason Republicans have done better than expected in 2014 and 2016 is they were divided earlier in the cycle and came together by the end, we will see if that trend continues in 2018.

A big part of the division among Republicans is being caused by extreme unhappiness with their Congressional leaders, perhaps driven by Donald Trump’s attacks on them. Both Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell now have the worst numbers we’ve ever seen for them. Only 16% of voters approve of the job Ryan is doing to 62% who disapprove. A big part of that is even among Trump voters he has only a 30% approval rating with 52% disapproving of him. Ryan comes out looking popular in comparison to McConnell though. His approval rating is just 9%, with 61% of voters disapproving of him. Among Trump voters he receives just a 15% approval rating to 59% disapproving of him, not all that dissimilar from his 68% disapproval with Clinton voters. The possible pitfall for Trump with the attacks on GOP Congressional leaders is disincentivizing his base to go vote for them next year.

Their failed efforts on health care are a big part of what’s causing Congressional Republicans problems. Only 25% of voters support the health care bill that was considered by Congress last month, to 57% who disapprove of it. Even among GOP voters there’s less than majority support, with 48% in favor of it to 34% who are opposed. At this point only 33% of voters think the best path forward on health care is repealing Obamacare, to 57% who think it’s keeping the current law and making fixes to it as necessary. Voters say by a 21 point margin that they’re less likely to vote for a GOP member of Congress who supported the repeal bill- 46% are less likely to vote for such a person to 25% who are more likely to, with 22% saying it doesn’t make a difference either way.

Overall Congress has a 9% approval rating, with 73% of voters disapproving of it. It’s at 12/77 with Trump voters and 8/73 with Clinton voters.

Trump, His Promises, and 2020

Trump continues to be unpopular, with a 40/53 approval spread. Voters think he has failed on two of the core promises of his campaign. Only 15% believe he has been successful in ‘draining the swamp,’ to 64% who say he hasn’t. Even among Trump’s own voters just 26% think he has delivered on this promise to 53% who say he hasn’t. When it comes to whether Trump has come through on ‘Making America Great Again,’ just 33% of voters say he has to 59% who say he hasn’t.

Some of Trump’s issues are related to policy. For instance only 31% of voters agree with his edict to ban transgender individuals from the military, to 57% who oppose it. Similarly only 34% of voters support his proposed wall with Mexico, to 55% of voters who oppose it.

Trump also has issues with how voters feel about his character. Only 39% think he is honest, to 55% who say he is not. In fact 49% of voters come right out and call Trump a liar, with only 43% disagreeing with that characterization. By a 39/34 spread voters express the belief that Trump is more corrupt than Richard Nixon.

Another thing hurting Trump’s standing is a perceived lack of transparency. 61% of voters still think he should release his tax returns to 33% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to. In fact by a 55/31 spread voters support a law requiring the release of 5 years of tax returns for a Presidential candidate to even appear on the ballot. 

The upshot of all this is for the fourth month in a row we find a plurality of voters in support of impeaching Trump- 48% say he should be impeached to 41% who disagree. And there continues to be a significant yearning for a return to the days of President Obama- 52% of voters say they wish Obama was still President to only 39% who prefer having Trump in the White House.

Trump continues to trail both Bernie Sanders (51/38) and Joe Biden (51/39) by double digits in possible 2020 match ups. PPP never found Hillary Clinton up by more than 7 points on Trump in 2016. Sanders and Biden each win over 12-14% of the folks who voted for Trump last year. Also leading Trump in hypothetical contests at this point are Elizabeth Warren (45/40), Mark Cuban (42/38), and Cory Booker and Trump Twitter Target Richard Blumenthal (42/39). Trump ties Kamala Harris at 39% each and John Delaney at 38% each.

Generally speaking just 57% of Republicans want Trump to be the party’s nominee again in 2020 to 29% who say they would prefer someone else. That 28 point margin for Trump against ‘someone else’ is the same as his 28 point lead over Mike Pence at 52/24. Both Ted Cruz (a 40 point deficit to Trump at 62/22) and John Kasich (a 47 point deficit to Trump at 68/21) are evidently weaker potential opponents than ‘someone else.’

Trump and the Media

With the absence of a ‘Crooked Hillary,’ ‘Lying Ted,’ ‘Little Marco,’ or ‘Low Energy Jeb’ to use as his foil while President, Trump has taken to attacking various media outlets as his new foes. He’s losing to them in a way that he never trailed during the campaign in our polling though:

Who do you trust more: Donald Trump or _____



ABC, 53/35


CBS, 53/35


NBC, 53/35

New York Times

New York Times, 53/36

Washington Post

Washington Post, 51/36


CNN, 50/35

And suffice it to say, Trump’s attacks on Amazon aren’t having much impact on the company’s image. 60% of voters see the company favorably to only 13% with a negative opinion of it. Amazon gets positive reviews from Clinton voters (67/9) and Trump voters (53/20) alike.

Full results here

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