By Glynn Wilson –
Due to a major national backlash against President Donald J. Trump and the Republicans in Congress for messing with people’s health care, the Democrats are now in a position to make major gains in the U.S. House next year, according to a new poll just out from Public Policy Polling.
Democrats now have a 49-38 lead overall on the generic Congressional ballot for the 2018 midterm elections, up from 47-41 a month ago, according to Tom Jensen, director of the survey research firm.
“Even more notable though is that among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to turn out in the 2018 election, the Democratic lead balloons to 27 points at 61-34,” Jensen said.
The outcome of lower turnout midterm elections often hinges on which side is more engaged, and Democrats have the clear advantage at this point on that front, he said, with 63 percent of their voters saying they’re ‘very excited’ about voting in next year’s election, compared to only 52 percent of Republicans who say the same thing.
“The American Health Care Act has been a complete disaster politically for Republicans,” Jensen said.
Only 25 percent of voters support it, compared to 52 percent who are opposed.
Even among Republican voters there’s only 49 percent support for the measure, while 76 percent of Democrats are considerably more unified in their opposition to it. Voters say by a 20 point margin that they’re less likely to vote for a member of Congress who supported the law, which has yet to pass in the U.S. Senate. Only 27 percent say they’re more likely to vote for a candidate who supported the new law, compared to 47 percent who are less likely to vote for such a candidate.
The health care debate has left Congress with a 15 percent overall approval rating, with 68 percent of voters disapproving of Congress messing with their health care already covered by the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare.
House Speaker Paul Ryan now only has a 25 percent approval rating, with 59 percent saying they disapprove of the job he is doing. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s approval rating has dropped to 21 percent, with 55 percent saying they disapprove of the job he is doing.
“They are both very unpopular,” Jensen said.
The current health care debate is also stoking new respect for the Affordable Care Act. By a 53-27 percent spread, voters say they prefer the current law to the new law.
“Just 29 percent of voters say they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act at this point,” Jensen said, “compared to 64 percent who would prefer to keep it and make fixes as necessary.”
On Trump, Comey and Russia
In other findings, the survey showed that “Americans don’t like James Comey,” Jensen said. “But they don’t like the decision to fire him either.”
Only 24 percent of Americans view Comey favorably, compared to 40 percent who hold a negative opinion of him, the survey found.
But only 37 percent support Donald Trump’s decision to fire Comey, compared to 48 percent who opposed his firing.
“Voters aren’t buying the officially stated reasoning behind Comey’s firing,” Jensen said.
A strong majority, 54 percent, think the FBI’s investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 election is the reason Comey was fired, compared to only 34 percent who say they don’t think that’s what it was.
“Even Trump voters are very clear that it’s not the job of the FBI director to be loyal to the President,” the survey found.
Only 23 percent of voters think the FBI director needs to be loyal to the President, compared to 66 percent who say that is not the job of the FBI director, who takes an oath to uphold the Constitution, not the administration who appoints him to the office.
While Clinton voters support this view by a margin of 87-8 percent, even 48 percent of Trump viewers understand this, compared to 38 percent who support the president’s view that Comey should have expressed his loyalty to Trump.
Voters Support Independent Investigation on Russia
The survey also found that 62 percent of voters say they support an independent investigation into Russia’s involvement in the election generally and the appointment of a special prosecutor, compared to 28 percent who opposed these ideas.
“We find that an increasingly large percentage of voters think that Russia did want Trump to win the election,” Jensen said — probably due to all the mainstream media coverage promoting that view.
The survey found that 60 percent of the American people now say that Russia was pulling for Trump compared to only 16 percent who claim they think Russia wanted Hillary Clinton to win the election.
Voters are still pretty evenly divided, however, when it comes to whether they think Trump’s campaign team and Russia directly worked together to try to influence the election. Only 43 percent say they think there was collusion between Russia and Trump’s aides, compared to 38 percent who don’t think there was.
“The stakes for Trump on this issue are high,” Jensen said. “If it does turn out his campaign coordinated directly with Russia, 54 percent of voters think he should resign, compared to only 34 percent who believe he should stay in office.”
The survey also found that voters do want to get to the bottom of this story. Only 33 percent consider it to be ‘fake news.’
Attitudes Toward Trump, His Tax Returns and Impeachment
At this point, only 40 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing, compared to 54 who disapprove.
“For the first time we find more voters (48%) in support of impeaching Trump than there are (41%) opposed to the idea,” Jensen said. “Only 43 percent of voters think Trump is actually going to end up serving his full term as President, while 45 percent think he won’t.”
Voters are both having buyer’s remorse about the outcome of the 2016 election and wishing they could return to the good old days of 4 months ago, Jensen said.
By an 8 point margin, 49-41 percent, voters say they wish Hillary Clinton was President instead of Trump. And by a 16 point margin, 55-39 percent, voters say they wish Barack Obama was still in office instead of Trump.
“One thing hurting Trump is that Americans expect honesty from their President and his aides, and they feel like they’re not getting it,” Jensen said.
Last week Trump tweeted that it was unreasonable to expect his press staff to always tell the truth, but 77 percent of voters say they expect the President’s press secretaries to tell the truth all the tim. Only 14 percent say that isn’t the expectation.
Only 38 percent of voters say they consider Trump to be honest, compared to 55 percent who say they don’t think he is. A majority of voters (51%) outright say they consider Trump to be a “liar,” compared to 41 percent who say they disagree with that characterization.
“One issue that’s not going away is Trump’s failure to release his tax returns,” Jensen said.
Now 62 percent of voters continue to think he needs to release them, compared to only 29 percent who think that’s not necessary.
Even 61 percent would even support a law requiring candidates for President to release 5 years of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot, with just 28 percent opposed to such a provision.
“When it comes down to it voters don’t think Trump has delivered on the core promises of his campaign,” Jensen said.
Only 34 percent think Trump is making America great again, compared to 55 percent who think he is not.
Looking Toward 2020
“It’s very early,” Jensen said, but Trump trails by wide margins in hypothetical match ups for reelection.
He does particularly poorly against Joe Biden (54-40 percent) and Bernie Sanders (52-39 percent.)
“There’s significant defection from people who voted for Trump in November in each of those match ups,” Jensen said.
Now 15 percent of Trump voters say they’d choose Sanders over Trump and 14 percent say they’d choose Biden.
Trump also trails Elizabeth Warren 49-39 percent, Al Franken 46-38 percent and Cory Booker 46-39 percent.
On Andrew Jackson and the Civil War
Only 16 percent of voters think that Andrew Jackson could have stopped the Civil War, as Trump has said, compared to 43 percent who don’t think he could have, especially since he was long dead before the Civil War started in 1861. He died in 1845.
© 2017, Glynn Wilson. All rights reserved.