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Trump Rated Best on Terrorism, the Economy; Better on Taxes

Trump Rated Best on Terrorism, the Economy; Better on Taxes

Story Highlights

  • Slight majorities approve of Trump on terrorism, economy
  • Approval rating on taxes up nine points since November
  • Handling of relations with news media ranks last

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump's job approval ratings on various issues range from 34% of Americans approving of how he is managing relations with the news media to 52% approving of his handling of terrorism. Trump also earns bare majority approval, 51%, on the economy. But Americans view him significantly more negatively than positively on the federal budget, immigration, North Korea, relations with Russia and foreign affairs generally, in addition to the media.

U.S. Adults' Approval of President Trump on Issues
  Approve Disapprove Net approve
  % % pct. pts.
Terrorism 52 46 +6
The economy 51 47 +4
Foreign trade 46 49 -3
Taxes 46 52 -6
The situation with North Korea 41 55 -14
Immigration 41 58 -17
Foreign affairs 39 59 -20
The federal budget 37 59 -22
Relations with Russia 37 59 -22
Relations with the news media 34 65 -31
Gallup, Feb. 1-10, 2018


While 52% of Americans disapprove of how Trump has handled taxes, his 46% approval rating on the issue in the Feb. 1-10 poll is up from 37% in November, prior to passage and implementation of the Republicans' tax reform plan. It is also the highest of his presidency on taxes, with the only other reading being 35% last June.

Several of Trump's other relatively positive issue ratings in the poll roughly match or exceed his previous high points:

  • His 52% approval rating on terrorism is up from 46% last June, the only prior measure.
  • His 51% approval rating on the economy is up from 45%, while it matches his score in September.
  • His 46% approval on foreign trade is on par with a 45% approval score last February, the only previous rating on this issue.

Although relations with Russia ranks as one of Trump's weakest areas, the 37% of Americans approving today is a slight improvement from 30% last June.

The 41% who currently approve of Trump's handling of the situation with North Korea is also up slightly -- from 35% in November -- although it is similar to the 45% measured in September.

Meanwhile, the president's low approval ratings on immigration, the federal budget and relations with the news media are all in line with previous measures since he took office.


Republican Approval on Issues Ranges From 66% to 92%

Supporters of Trump's own party are largely positive about how he has handled all 10 issues rated in the new poll. However, the rank order of GOP approval is similar to that seen nationally, with 92% approving of him on terrorism and 90% on the economy, while far fewer, 66% approve of his handling of relations with the news media.

The order is similar among independents, although Trump's highest approval scores from this group -- twin 47% readings for terrorism and the economy -- fall short of majority approval.

Approval of Trump is low across the board among Democrats, with no more than 18% approving on any issue, and in several cases, less than 10%.

President Trump Issue Approval Ratings, by Party ID
% Approve
  Republicans Independents Democrats
  % % %
Terrorism 92 47 17
The economy 90 47 18
Taxes 84 40 15
North Korea 81 35 8
Immigration 80 36 8
Foreign trade 80 42 16
Foreign affairs 79 34 6
Russia 73 30 8
The federal budget 72 30 12
News media 66 29 7
Gallup, Feb. 1-10, 2018

Independents Warm Slightly to Trump on the Economy, Taxes

Trump's improved scores this month on the economy and taxes each reflect seven-percentage point increases in his approval ratings on these issues from independents since November.

At the same time, the uptick in his approval rating on terrorism since last June mainly reflects improved support from Republicans and, to a lesser extent, from Democrats.

Recent Trend in Trump Issue Approval Ratings, by Party ID
% Approve
  Republicans Independents Democrats
  % % %
2018 Feb 1-10 90 47 18
2017 Nov 2-8 89 40 19
2018 Feb 1-10 84 40 15
2017 Nov 2-8 82 33 9
2018 Feb 1-10 92 47 17
2017 Jun 7-11 80 48 13

Bottom Line

Trump's weekly overall job approval rating has ranged between 35% and 40% for most of his presidency. Nevertheless, his ratings on certain issues differ from his job approval numbers.

This month, he earns significantly better than 40% approval on terrorism, the economy, foreign trade and taxes, and below 35% approval for his handling of the news media. His ratings for all other issues fall closer to the band typically seen for Trump's overall job approval rating.

Trump is at or near the high points of his approval ratings on several of these issues, in part owing to improved ratings from independents. It will be important to see if this continues, as he needs to make such inroads with independents if he is ever going to expand his U.S. political base beyond the limited group that has supported him to date.

Explore President Trump's approval ratings and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 1-10, 2018, with a random sample of 1,044 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.

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