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Trump's Rating on Economy Still Top Strength, Hits New High

Trump's Rating on Economy Still Top Strength, Hits New High

Story Highlights

  • Trump's handling of economy (56%) and unemployment (54%) rank highest
  • 43% overall job approval rating remains higher than January readings
  • Handling Russia, race relations, government corruption, Syria rank lowest

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump's rating for handling the economy, 56%, is the highest of his presidency and the highest of his approval ratings on any of 14 domestic and foreign issues tested in the latest Gallup poll. Americans' approval of his handling of unemployment is nearly as high, at 54%. At the same time, his overall 43% job approval rating is essentially unchanged since earlier in February but appears to be stabilizing at a higher level than it had been in late 2018 and early 2019.

Still, his overall approval rating is likely dragged down by some of the issues that garner his lowest ratings -- relations with Russia (39%), race relations (38%), corruption in government (37%) and the situation in Syria (35%).

Americans' Approval Ratings of President Trump
Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling -- ?
  Approve Disapprove
  % %
His job as president 43 54
The economy 56 43
Unemployment 54 42
The situation with North Korea 51 45
National defense 50 47
Relations with China 47 48
Foreign trade 45 50
Taxes 45 52
Immigration 42 57
Foreign affairs 42 56
The federal budget 42 55
Relations with Russia 39 58
Race relations 38 59
Corruption in government 37 60
The situation in Syria 35 55
GALLUP, Feb. 12-28, 2019


The poll, conducted Feb. 12-28, found Trump's only other approval rating above the 50% mark was his handling of the situation with North Korea. This 51% approval rating is up five percentage points since August and is the highest Trump has received on the issue during his presidency. Most interviews in the poll were conducted during the runup to his second denuclearization summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un on Feb. 27 and 28, which ended abruptly when the two could not reach a deal. Other Gallup polling earlier in February found that Americans' perceptions of North Korea as the greatest enemy of the U.S. had plummeted in the past year.

As the summit with North Korea was taking place, Trump's former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified publicly in a congressional hearing which Trump has blamed, at least in part, for the failed denuclearization agreement. Cohen alleged that the president is a "con man" and a "racist" and shed doubt upon his campaign's relationship with Russia -- issues on which Trump earns his lowest approval ratings.

The president's approval ratings on a range of other issues are at or below 50%. These include national defense, relations with China, foreign trade, taxes, immigration, foreign affairs and the federal budget.

Sharp Partisan Differences in Views of Trump

Americans' views of Trump remain sharply polarized along partisan lines. Nine in 10 Republicans approve of the president's job overall and about as many or more approve of his handling the economy, national defense, unemployment, immigration, foreign affairs, the North Korean situation, relations with China and foreign trade.

Republicans' dimmest assessment of the president is for his handling of the Syria situation -- 71% approve, 18% disapprove and 12% have no opinion. Republican lawmakers have roundly criticized Trump's decisions about U.S. involvement in Syria since his announcement in December that he would abruptly withdraw all troops from the country. The Republican backlash and pleas from U.S. allies have slowed down that process, but last week Trump declared that all of the ISIS-controlled territory in Syria had been conquered, a claim disputed by many.

For their part, Democrats' approval of Trump's overall job is 6%, and their approval of his handling all 14 issues measured ranges from 5% to 21%. Democrats' highest approval ratings are 21% for unemployment, 20% for the economy and 17% for the situation with North Korea. Democrats give Trump his lowest ratings for handling relations with Russia, race relations, government corruption and foreign affairs, all garnering no more than 8% approval from Democrats.

Partisans' Approval Ratings of President Trump
  Republicans Independents Democrats
  % % %
Overall job 90 35 6
The economy 93 53 20
National defense 91 48 14
Unemployment 90 56 21
Immigration 89 32 10
Foreign affairs 88 31 8
The situation with North Korea 88 46 17
Relations with China 88 42 14
Foreign trade 87 41 9
Taxes 86 43 10
The federal budget 82 35 9
Race relations 81 30 6
Relations with Russia 80 31 5
Corruption in government 79 27 7
The situation in Syria 71 29 9
GALLUP, Feb. 12-28, 2019

Independents' overall job approval rating of Trump is 35%, and their approval of him on the issues tested ranges from 27% for his handling of government corruption to 56% for unemployment.

Trump's Approval for the Economy Is Highest Yet

Americans' assessments of the national economy have been mostly positive since Trump took office and his handling of it has been a relative strength for his public image. With the unemployment rate at 4% in January and the stock market performing better than it had been in December and January, Americans' approval of Trump's handling of the economy rose four points since early February.

Line chart. Americans’ approval of Trump’s handling of the economy since February 2017, currently 56%.

Gallup has asked Americans to assess presidents' handling of the economy with some regularity beginning with Reagan's presidency. Clinton had the record-high economic approval rating of 81% in 1999. The elder Bush had the record-low of 17% in 1992. The average rating is 43%, below both of Trump's February readings. In fact, Trump's approval on the economy has not fallen below 45% throughout his presidency.

Bottom Line

The president's greatest strength in the views of Americans remains his handling of the economy, although his overall approval rating lags far behind it. Americans' ratings of his handling of the economy and unemployment outpace 12 other issues tested in the latest Gallup poll, and at 56%, his rating on the economy is the highest of his presidency, up four percentage points from earlier this month.

Trump also enjoyed increased approval on the situation with North Korea in the latest poll, but the poll concluded just as the denuclearization talks ended without a signed agreement, and it is unclear what effect that will have on public evaluations in the coming weeks.

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

View complete question responses and trends.

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