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Trump Rated Best on Economy, Weaker on Other Issues

by Megan Brenan

Story Highlights

  • 45% approve of Trump's handling of the economy, 51% disapprove
  • Approval of handling of North Korea down 10 points since September
  • Ratings of handling of taxes and healthcare are low but steady

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Americans continue to rate President Donald Trump better on the economy than on taxes, the situation with North Korea, foreign affairs and healthcare policy. Although the economy is a relative strength for him at 45% approval, more Americans (51%) disapprove of Trump's handling of it.

Trump Approval Ratings
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling ... ?
Approve Disapprove
% %
Overall job approval 37 59
The economy 45 51
Taxes 37 55
The situation with North Korea 35 60
Foreign affairs 33 61
Healthcare policy 31 64
Gallup, Nov. 2-8, 2017

The survey was conducted Nov. 2-8 as Trump embarked on a tour of five Asian countries. While in Asia, Trump is addressing growing U.S. tensions with North Korea, an issue he has been grappling with for months. Meanwhile, back at home, Congress has taken up debate on an overhaul of the nation's tax system, a priority for the president.

Trump's approval ratings on North Korea (35%) and foreign affairs (33%) are down 10 and eight percentage points, respectively, since September, and his 37% approval rating for handling taxes is similar to what it was in June. Likewise, his 31% approval rating on handling healthcare policy is not significantly different from what it was in June. Trump has thus far been unable to keep his campaign promise of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

Trump's overall job approval rating, currently at 39% in Gallup Daily tracking, has been intractable lately, but his handling of the economy had been a sign of strength, rising to 51% in September. Still, despite losing some ground in Americans' perceptions of his handling of the nation's business, of the five issues Gallup tested in the latest poll, Trump's greatest strength remains his handling of the economy. This isn't new. One year ago, shortly after his victory over Hillary Clinton, a Gallup poll found six in 10 Americans expecting Trump to improve the economy.

Republicans Still Widely Approve of Trump

With near unanimity, 89% of Republicans approve of Trump's handling of the economy, while just 19% of Democrats do. Similar stark partisan divides occur across all of the issues measured this month. Republicans' approval of Trump on healthcare policy (70%) is the lowest rating he receives among his party's loyalists. Nine percent of Democrats approve of the president's handling of this issue.

Trump Approvals, by Party Identification
All adults Republicans Independents Democrats
% % % %
The economy 45 89 40 19
Taxes 37 82 33 9
The situation with North Korea 35 75 29 11
Foreign affairs 33 72 28 9
Healthcare policy 31 70 24 9
GALLUP, Nov. 2-8, 2017

Looking back at Gallup polling conducted at the same point in Barack Obama's presidency, a similar partisan divide was evident. On his handling of the economy, 75% of Democrats and 14% of Republicans approved. Democratic approval of Obama at that point was lower than Republican approval of Trump is now, but the U.S. was in the throes of the Great Recession.

Bottom Line

Between his long-awaited tax plan facing a tough battle on Capitol Hill and his diplomacy in Asia front and center right now, there's a lot at stake for Trump. If Congress succeeds in passing the tax cuts that Trump has long been championing, his approval rating on taxes is likely to improve, at least among Republicans. Likewise, Trump's performance on the international stage in the coming days could affect how Americans view his handling of not only North Korea but foreign affairs more generally.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 2-8, 2017, with a random sample of 1,028 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View survey methodology, complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.