While Donald Trump’s job approval rating has remained mostly steady during a turbulent first year in office, SurveyMonkey’s tracking reveals two key inflection points, one in early May and a second in late December.
The first, in early May 2017, as the U.S. House approved a Republican plan to “repeal and replace” President Obama’s signature health reform law and Trump fired then FBI Director James Comey, the president’s approval in SurveyMonkey’s weekly tracking dipped from the mid-40s to just at or slightly below 40 percent.
The second, in late December, as both houses of Congress passed a Republican tax plan into law, Trump’s approval rating nudged back up. Trump’s approval percentage has ranged between 40 and 44 since December 28th.
Fast forward to this past week, 43 percent of Americans polled by SurveyMonkey said they approve of the way Trump has been handling his job as president, while 55 percent disapprove.
Most of the increase has come from Republicans, with current approval among Republican identifiers (88 percent) and independents who lean Republican (85 percent) slightly topping results seen for most of 2017.
This week, approval among non-leaning, or “pure” independents ticked up to 36 percent – the highest number in SurveyMonkey’s tracking since September – after ranging between 33 and 35 percent so far in January and February.
The source of Trump’s modest gain is clearer if we average results over time. Among all Republicans and GOP-leaners, Trump’s approval rating rose four percentage points, from an average of 84 percent from August through November to an average of 88 percent in January and February. Among non-leaning independents, it increased by two percentage points over the same period (from 32 to 34 percent). Among Democrats and Democratic-leaners, it has remained unchanged at a paltry 7 percent.
The change has been similar for the number who strongly approve of Trump’s performance, which has recently nudged up from the low 20 percent level seen since May, to the mid–20s in January and February. This past week, 25 percent of Americans strongly approve of the job Trump is doing, while 44 percent strongly disapprove.
Once again, most of the increase comes from Republicans. Strong approval increased to 61 percent over the past three weeks among Republican identifiers, from the mid–50s for much of last year. It increased from the mid–40s to 48 percent this past week among Republican leaning independents.
The issues of greatest concern to Americans, as measured by SurveyMonkey tracking, have remained stable in recent weeks. When asked to select the issue that matters most, nearly three in ten (28 percent) now mention “jobs and the economy”, 21 percent “health care”, and 13 percent mention “immigration”, all unchanged from the previous week. All other categories are mentioned by 10 percent or fewer.
Methodology: This week’s SurveyMonkey Tracking poll testing President Trump’s approval rating was conducted online February 8 through 14, 2018 among a national sample of 13,293 adults. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data for this week have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points. More details on SurveyMonkey's methodology are available here.