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Voters Grow More Critical of Trump’s Economic, Foreign Policies

Friday, December 28, 2018

Perceptions of how President Trump is dealing with the economy and foreign policy have fallen slightly as his second year in office comes to a close.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 47% of Likely U.S. Voters still rate the president’s handling of economic issues as good or excellent, but that’s down from a high of 51% in October. Forty percent (40%) now view his performance in this area as poor. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Thirty-nine percent (39%) gave Trump positive marks for his handling of the economy when Rasmussen Reports first asked this question in July 2017.

Trump continues to earn more positive marks for his handling of the economy than Obama did during much of his presidency, particularly in his final years in office.

Forty-three percent (43%) of voters now feel Trump is doing a good or excellent job when it comes to foreign policy issues, down from 45% in October and a high of 47% in June. Slightly more (46%) say he is doing poorly.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely U.S. Voters was conducted on December 26-27, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Economic and consumer confidence remain at record highs. Retailers are reporting their best sales in six years this holiday season.

Partisan politics continues to color views of Trump’s job performance. While 78% of Republicans think he is doing a good or excellent job with the economy, only 22% of Democrats and 44% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree. Similarly, 71% of GOP voters give Trump positive marks for his handling of foreign policy, but just 19% of Democrats and 41% of unaffiliated share that perception.

Those under 40 are more critical of Trump’s efforts than older voters are. Blacks give him more negative marks than whites and other minority voters do.

Government employees are more likely than entrepreneurs and those working in the private sector to criticize the president’s economic and foreign policy performance.

Over 90% of voters who Strongly Approve of the job the president is doing rate him positively for his handling of both the economy and foreign policy. Among voters who Strongly Disapprove of Trump’s job performance, 85% say he is doing a poor job with the economy, and 94% say the same of how he is handling foreign affairs.

Voters who disapprove of his performance in one area are equally likely to disapprove of how he is handling the other.

Nancy Pelosi is poised to become the most powerful Democrat in Washington, D.C., but voters prefer that Trump lead the way.

With unemployment at record lows, Americans remain highly confident about the job market. Homeowners are more optimistic than ever that their home is worth more than they owe on it, and they expect that value to keep rising through 2019.

The president remains highly critical of the Federal Reserve Board, saying it is raising interest rates too fast. One-in-three Americans (33%) agree, but 21% are undecided.

Trump was criticized at a summit with European leaders in November for putting America’s interests ahead of global needs. Voters still share the president’s America First attitude but not as strongly as they did when he first took office.

Trump, intent on getting U.S. troops out of the Middle East, has angered hawkish members of both major political parties with his decision to withdraw from Syria. Voters tend to oppose his decision as well. The president said earlier in the year that the “primary mission” in Syria was to get rid of ISIS and that America had “completed that task.” Voters agree the United States is winning the war against ISIS.

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