President TrumpDonald TrumpGOP grapples with chaotic Senate primary in Pennsylvania Trump social media startup receives commitment of billion from unidentified 'diverse group' of investors Iran thinks it has the upper hand in Vienna — here's why it doesn't MORE’s approval rating dipped slightly to 44 percent in December amid a partial government shutdown, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey released exclusively to The Hill.
The poll was conducted earlier this week during a tumultuous period for the White House, as a partial government shutdown now stretches into its seventh day. At the center of that shutdown is a bitter standoff between the president and Congress over $5 billion in funds for Trump’s border wall.
All told, 44 percent of poll respondents said they at least somewhat approve of the job Trump is doing in the White House — 20 percent strongly approve, while 24 percent somewhat approve.
That’s a two-point fall from a Harvard CAPS/Harris poll conducted last month that put the president’s approval rating at 46 percent.
Most voters surveyed — 56 percent — still disapprove of Trump’s performance in the Oval Office. Out of that total, 19 percent said they somewhat disapprove, while 36 percent strongly disapprove.
The polling numbers come as Trump finds himself under siege on multiple fronts.
Not only is he grappling with the fallout from the ongoing government shutdown, he is also facing a volatile stock market and intense criticism over his decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — a move that prompted the resignation of Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman Mattis The US can't go back to business as usual with Pakistan The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate nears surprise deal on short-term debt ceiling hike Overnight Defense & National Security — Pentagon chiefs to Congress: Don't default MORE and Brett McGurk, the U.S. special envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
Trump gets his highest marks for his work stimulating job growth, with 56 percent of respondents saying they approve of his efforts. Slightly fewer voters give Trump high marks for his stewardship of the economy, at 52 percent.
Meanwhile, 41 percent of respondents said they approve of Trump’s work administering the government. Only slightly more — 43 percent — give the president’s handling of foreign affairs a nod of approval, the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found.
“The stability of the president’s approval rating suggests that the controversies surrounding his actions are overblown,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris poll co-director Mark Penn.
“His biggest concern is not Syria or the shutdown, but a declining stock market,” Penn added. “Experts talking up a recession as around the corner caused Trump’s approval of the economy to fall to just 51 percent. Those who believe the economy is strong declined sharply to 62 percent, back to where it was when Trump started. Trump is correct when he says higher interest rates are the biggest pitfall he faces now.”
The president’s approval rating largely mirrors approval of the Republican Party’s overall stewardship of the country.
Forty-two percent of respondents said they approve of the way the party’s handling its job, while 58 percent disapprove. The findings come just days before a new Democratic majority is set to take power in the House, ushering a divided government into Washington for the first time in four years.
But Democrats will take control of the House faring only slightly better than Republicans in their approval ratings, the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll found. Forty-six percent of respondents said they approve of the way the Democratic Party is handling its job. Conversely, 54 percent disapprove.
The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,473 registered voters was conducted from Dec. 24-26.
The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2018.
Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.