Independents could hold key to Trump’s White House future

Glacier Media

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Photograph By ISTOCK

This week marks Donald Trump’s second anniversary as president of the United States. The past two years have brought their share of controversies, including the special counsel investigation on Russian interference, the negotiations toward a new free-trade agreement in North America and the Republican party losing its majority in the House of Representatives, following a severe setback in last November’s mid-term ballot.

Research Co. had the opportunity to ask Americans about their current head of state this month, as well as to review two topics that have dominated talk around the District of Columbia for the past few weeks: border security and the partial government shutdown.

Across the United States, 38% of Americans approve of Trump’s performance as president while a majority (58%) disapprove. Among self-described Republicans, Trump’s numbers climb to a more-than-respectable 64%, with just one in five (20%) disapproving of the way he has handled his duties.

It is not a surprise to see that only 6% of Americans who identify with the Democratic party believe Trump has done a good job as president, but independents – who were not entirely enamoured by Hillary Clinton’s campaign in 2016 – are starting to become more critical of Trump. In this demographic, the president’s approval rating stands at 36% and disapproval reaches 61%.

On January 8, speaking at the same venue where his predecessors addressed the country in times of doubt, tragedy and war, Trump pleaded his case to build a wall along the country’s southern border. The appeal did not resonate with a majority of Americans. In our survey, 54% disagree with Trump’s assessment of the current situation at the U.S.-Mexico border as “a crisis,” while 43% concur with their head of state. In spite of these countrywide numbers, Republicans are solidly behind Trump: 79% say what is transpiring on the southern border is “a crisis.”

When asked about their views on Trump’s proposal to build a wall along the entire U.S.–Mexico border, 55% of Americans disagree with the president and 40% agree with him. The political polarization of the country is unmistakable in this question: only 7% of Democrats side with Trump compared with 76% of Republicans.

Trump had also suggested that he might declare a “national emergency” over the current situation at the southern border. Almost three in five Americans (59%) believe this course of action would “definitely” or “probably” be unreasonable. But among Republicans, the proportion drops to a paltry 20%.

Finally, we asked Americans to state who is more responsible for the recent partial shutdown of the federal government. A third of respondents (33%) accuse the Democrats in Congress, while a majority (57%) say the president is primarily to blame. Once again, Republicans are standing by their former and future nominee: only 20% think this is, as the Democrats have branded it, a “Trump shutdown.”