Elon Poll: Public Approval Down For Trump

Oct 4, 2017

Elon University conducts regular public polling.
Credit Elon University

The latest Elon University Poll asked registered North Carolina voters what they thought of President Trump, Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, immigration reform, climate change, NFL players taking a knee and what ought to happen to Confederate monuments.

More than 930 voters responded, and here's what they had to say:

Is President Trump doing a good job?

Pollsters asked if people thought President Trump was doing a good job.
Credit Elon University

The poll asked, "Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?" About 34 percent of respondents said they approved and 58 percent said they disapproved. That's a decline from the last poll, according to poll director Jason Husser.

Three-quarters of respondents thought the president should work with members of the opposite party.
Credit Elon University

"This shift from April, in which we found higher support at 41 percent, tends to parallel a national pattern, in which the president has tended to decline in public perception over the course of the summer," Husser said.

Husser also noted there were a couple of brief moments where Trump peaked over the summer, largely after making deals with Democrats. The poll found that a majority of voters would like to see him do that more often, and 75 percent of those polled thought Trump should make deals with Democrats to pass legislation, even if it means working against many in his own party. 

Should Confederate monuments remain in place?

Debate about the place of Confederate monuments spiked after the white supremacist rally and deadly attack in Charlottesville. With Gov. Roy Cooper and the North Carolina legislature in disagreement about Civil War monuments at the State Capitol grounds, and a high profile protest in Durham where activists toppled a monument and faced arrests, the majority of North Carolinians surveyed think the monuments should remain in place.

"But those demographics varied a lot," Husser said. About 57 percent of African-Americans wanted the monuments removed, while only 20 percent of whites wanted the same. Rural voters were much more likely to respond"remain in place" than people in the six urban counties in the state.

Should the president support legislation to grant legal status to children of undocumented immigrants?

Pollsters asked about immigration.
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The poll was taken shortly after Trump rescinded the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, calling on Congress to take action on immigration reform.

While a majority of respondents were in favor of a measure that would grant legal status to the former DACA recipients, another 22 percent opposed. Republicans were evenly split, and Democrats were largely in favor of a measure like the DREAM Act, which never passed. 

"To me this suggests that there will be a sizable piece of opposition for Republicans trying to pass legislation for Dreamers," Husser said. "But overall, it does seem that if enough Republican elites get behind it, you'll see the Republican Party having a slight majority in favor."

What about Republican efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act?

A narrow majority of respondents opposed the effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Credit Elon University

The poll showed that opinions on recent efforts by Republican Congress members to repeal Obamacare split, much like Congress itself, largely upon party lines.

An effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act fell just short in the Senate and Republican leaders have abandoned the effort for now.

A narrow majority of survey respondents opposed the effort to repeal the ACA.

Do you think NFL players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired?

Husser said his team was preparing the poll just after Trump's controversial comments about NFL players who kneel during the national anthem hit the nightly news. So, the Elon Poll decided to ask North Carolinians what they thought. Thirty percent agreed and about 63 percent disagreed with the president that players following Colin Kaepernick's lead should be sacked. 

How likely is climate change to negatively impact the coastal communities in North Carolina within the next 50 years?

The Elon Poll asked the same question in April, but chose to survey the public again after a particularly brutal hurricane season. Husser said the stormy weather didn't cause much change in public opinion since the last round.