Trump summit with North Korean leader Kim was top news event of 2018, poll finds


President Trump’s historic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in June to discuss the rogue nation’s nuclear weapons program was the most significant news event of 2018, according to a new The Hill-HarrisX daily poll released Wednesday.

Of registered voters surveyed, 22 percent picked the North Korea negotiations in Singapore as the top story for the year, ahead of the 18 percent who picked special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and ahead of the 17 percent who named the controversy around Trump’s former policy of separating families of undocumented immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.

That the the Trump-Kim meeting was judged the most significant by a plurality of Americans is a bit of a surprise, Republican pollster Jim Hobart said, given how many other major events that have taken place in the months since.

“In the Trump administration, people are so much more tuned into the news than they ever have been,” Hobart said on Wednesday’s episode of Hill.TV’s “What America’s Thinking.”

He cited his mother as an example of a previously apolitical American who now follows news coverage much more attentively.

“For her entire life, she would have no clue who the White House chief of staff is. Now she knows who it is, who might be the next one, who said ‘no.’ ”

Sixteen percent of the survey’s respondents named the November midterm elections as their most notable event of 2018, while 15 percent cited Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation. An additional 11 percent cited the ongoing controversy over whether to build a wall on America’s southern border.

Younger voters were much more likely to regard the North Korea negotiations as the top story with 31 percent of voters between the ages of 18 and 34 naming the summit as the most significant story. The Kim-Trump talks were cited as most important by 22 percent of respondents between 35 and 49, slightly less than the 23 percent who named the family separation controversy as the top story.

The Mueller investigation was the most significant story of 2018 for voters between 50 and 64, with 25 percent of the group listing it, while 20 percent of the same group said the North Korea summit was the top story.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation was the top story for respondents who were 65 years old and older. Twenty-two percent of them named it as most significant, compared to 15 percent who picked the Kim negotiations.

The Hill-HarrisX poll was conducted Dec. 19 and 20th among 1,001 registered voters with a sampling margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

— Matthew Sheffield

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