Trump's approval rating holds steady at 45 percent amid government shutdown: poll

Trump's approval rating holds steady at 45 percent amid government shutdown: poll
© Getty Images

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE’s approval rating held steady in the first weeks of 2019 despite an ongoing partial government shutdown that is now in its fifth week.

A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill showed that 45 percent of U.S. voters approve of the job Trump is doing in the Oval Office. That’s largely unchanged from a similar survey conducted last month that put his approval rating at 44 percent.


Trump, who has largely tied his political success to economic growth, gets his highest approval marks for stimulating jobs – 57 percent, according to the survey. Likewise, his handling of the economy gets 54 percent approval.

But approval of Trump’s work administering the government is underwater at 41 percent, according to the poll. His handling of foreign affairs doesn’t fare much better, with just 44 percent of respondents approving.

Mark Penn, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris poll, said that despite the ongoing government shutdown, Trump’s approval rating has been buoyed largely by a positive perceptions of his economic performance.

A similar poll conducted last month showed approval of his handling of the economy at 52 percent.

“Trump’s job approval has held up during the shutdown and is helped by improved perceptions of the economy from the December poll,” Penn said.

“This represents a better start of the election cycle than either [former Presidents Barack] Obama or [Bill] Clinton had, but so far he has shown little ability to climb past this point.”

While Trump’s approval rating in the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll largely held steady, the survey offered a dimmer projection of his reelection prospects in 2020.

According to the poll, only 36 percent of voters said that they would either definitely or probably vote for Trump next year. By comparison, 43 percent said that they would either definitely or probably vote for the eventual Democratic nominee.

Ten percent of respondents said they plan to vote for an independent or other candidate in 2020, while another 11 percent are unsure about how they will cast their ballot in the next presidential election, the poll found.

The survey also showed Trump’s likability underwater. Only 29 percent of respondents said they “like him personally,” compared to the 58 percent who said they dislike the president on a personal level. Thirteen percent said they were unsure.

The most recent poll results came as Trump finds himself locked in a bitter feud with congressional Democrats over the ongoing partial government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.

At the center of the fight is Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion in funding for his long-promised border wall.

The president has insisted that any spending package must contain the border wall funds, but Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have rejected the request.

Over the weekend, Trump rolled out a proposal to break the deadlock, offering temporary legal protections for certain immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children in exchange for border wall funding. Democrats have called that proposal a nonstarter.

A broad field of Democrats is expected to vie for the party’s nomination to challenge Trump next year. So far, roughly half a dozen Democrats have thrown their names into the running, including Sens. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenKrystal Ball: Elites have chosen Warren as The One; Lauren Claffey: Is AOC wrong about the Electoral College? Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona McConnell rejects Democrats' 'radical movement' to abolish filibuster MORE (Mass.), Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandOvernight Defense: Two US service members killed in Afghanistan | Trump calls on other nations to take up fight against ISIS | Pentagon scraps billion-dollar missile defense program Sanders targets gig economy as part of new labor plan Senate Democrats push for arms control language in defense policy bill MORE (N.Y.) and Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisPoll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Rising Warren faces uphill climb with black voters Inslee drops out of 2020 presidential race MORE (Calif.), who announced her candidacy on Monday.

But several others are expected to announce their decisions in the coming weeks, including former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona Giuliani says he discussed Biden with Ukrainian official MORE and Sen. Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 candidates have the chance to embrace smarter education policies Bernie Sanders Adviser talks criminal justice reform proposal, 'Medicare for All' plan Poll shows Biden, Warren tied with Trump in Arizona MORE (I-Vt.), creating the potential for one of the largest primary fields in the Democratic Party’s history.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,540 registered voters was conducted from Jan. 15-16.

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 2019.

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.