During a week featuring a three-day government shutdown, the job approval rating of President Donald Trump fell slightly in the latest SurveyMonkey tracking poll, wiping out a holiday “bump” that had lifted briefly lifted his rating as high at 44 percent.
This past week, 40 percent of Americans interviewed by SurveyMonkey say they approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president, while 58 percent disapprove. The approval rating dropped two percentage points from 42 percent in early January. It peaked at 44 percent at year's end.
Trump’s current 40 percent approval rating matches the average for SurveyMonkey’s tracking polling between August and mid-December 2017, a 22-week period in which the rating varied between 39 and 41 percent for all but 2 weeks.
The change in recent weeks is most evident among among Republican leaning independents, whose rating of the President rose to an all-time high of 89 percent at year’s end, but has fallen 5 percentage points, to 84 percent, so far in January. The sample for January 3-17 was also slightly more Republican in composition than usual, so the combination resulted in a two-point overall drop.
Currently, 23 percent of Americans say they strongly approve of Trump’s performance, which remains slightly higher than the 21 percent average seen in SurveyMonkey’s tracking between August and mid-December, 2017.
Virtually all of those who strongly approve of Trump either identify or lean Republican, so most of the recent change can be traced to those groups. Trump’s strong approval rating rose among both groups of Republicans in late December. The gains among Republicans identifiers have persisted, while the rise among Republican leaning independents has mostly reversed.
A subset of interviews the past week, conducted in partnership with NBC News, included questions on the shutdown itself. That survey found that 85 percent of Republicans blamed Democrats in Congress for the shutdown, 95 percent of Democrats blamed either Trump or Republicans in Congress, while more independents blamed either Trump (48 percent) or the Republicans (16 percent) than blamed Democrats (31 percent).
The same survey also found just 37 percent saying that Trump showed strong leadership during the shutdown, while 60 percent said he did not.
The news around the shutdown has helped fuel a slight rise – from 8 percent to 12 percent since late December – in the percentage of Americans who select “immigration” as the issue that matters most to them right now. Immigration now ranks as the third most mentioned issue behind jobs and the economy (27 percent) and health care (22 percent).
Methodology: This week’s SurveyMonkey Tracking poll testing President Trump’s approval rating was conducted online January 18 through 24, 2018 among a national sample of 14,166 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.