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56% of U.S. Voters Say Trump Does Not Deserve Reelection

56% of U.S. Voters Say Trump Does Not Deserve Reelection

Story Highlights

  • 68% of voters say "most members of Congress" do not deserve reelection
  • 60%, however, believe their personal House representative does deserve it

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The majority of U.S. registered voters, 56%, believe President Donald Trump does not deserve to be reelected, while 43% say he does. Voters are even less likely to think "most members of Congress" deserve reelection (29%), although six in 10 say their own House member does.

Views on Elected Officials' Deservedness of Being Reelected
Please tell me whether you think each of the following political office-holders deserves to be reelected, or not. How about ... ?
Yes, deserves No, does not No opinion
% % %
The U.S. representative in your congressional district 60 35 5
President Donald Trump 43 56 1
Most members of Congress 29 68 4
Based on registered voters in the U.S.
Gallup, Sept. 30-Oct. 15, 2020

These data are from a Sept. 30-Oct. 15, 2020, Gallup poll.

The percentage of voters who say Trump deserves reelection to a second term is down seven percentage points from Gallup's previous measure in January -- a much different time in Trump's presidency, when confidence in the U.S. economy was high, the Senate was preparing to vote to keep Trump in office during his impeachment trial, and only a few cases of COVID-19 had been confirmed in the U.S.

The percentage of voters who currently say Trump deserves to be reelected matches his latest overall job approval rating from the same poll. Gallup's previous measures of Trump's reelection deservedness were each within three points of his approval rating, and the significance to reelection is clear. As Gallup reported in May: "Historically, all incumbents with an approval rating of 50% or higher have won reelection, and presidents with approval ratings much lower than 50% have lost."

As would be expected, nearly all Republicans (93%) say the president deserves to be reelected, while few Democrats (3%) agree. Among independents, 36% say Trump deserves reelection and 61% say he does not.

House Representatives Viewed as More Deserving in Presidential Election Years

Six in 10 registered voters say their own district's House representative deserves to be reelected -- similar to what Gallup found in the recent presidential election years of 2012 (59%), 2008 (59%) and 2004 (63%).

Since 2006, voters have been more likely to support the reelection of their own member of Congress in presidential election years (59%, on average) than in midterm elections (52%). This aligns with the more mercurial nature of midterm elections -- which, particularly recently, have been wave elections for the president's opposition party.

Voters are much less likely to view "most members of Congress" as deserving of reelection as they are their own district's member. The current 29% saying most members deserve another term is not the lowest final preelection reading Gallup has found. Still, from a longer-term perspective, voters have become less likely to view most members as deserving of reelection over time -- paralleling Congress' sinking approval ratings.

Line graph. Americans views on whether their personal U.S. House Representative and most members of congress deserve re-election. 60% of Americans say their own representative deserves re-election, while 29% indicate most members of congress deserve re-election.

There is little daylight between Republicans' (70%) and Democrats' (65%) views on whether their representative deserves reelection, while less than half of independents (47%) agree.

Among both Republicans and Democrats, 32% say that most members of Congress deserve reelection, while a smaller 23% of independents say the same.

Bottom Line

Trump secures small majorities of support for his handling of the economy and his recent U.S. Supreme Court nomination, but the current percentage of voters who see him as deserving of a second term falls short of the 50% mark less than two weeks away from Election Day.

With little time left and many Americans voting early, this could pose a challenge for Trump's prospects in November. The president's last best chance to sway voters in his favor may be in Thursday's final presidential debate -- though historically, debates have rarely changed voter preferences.

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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