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Assessing Trump’s Performance

An AP-NORC Poll conducted in October 2019 assesses Americans’ views of Trump. There continues to be large partisan differences in the public’s evaluation of the president.

​Overall, 42% of Americans say they approve of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president and 56% disapprove in the latest AP-NORC survey. These assessments are holding steady compared to the last AP-NORC survey conducted in September when 40% approved and 59% disapproved.

While Republicans remain overwhelmingly supportive of the president’s job performance, they are slightly less positive about his honesty, his discipline, and his respect for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions.

Sixty-one percent of Americans think Trump does not have much respect for the country’s democratic institutions;  38% think he does have some respect. Although Republicans are more likely  than Democrats to think Trump respects democratic institutions, still 26% say he has little or no respect.

Americans have mixed opinions when asked to assess Trump’s personal qualities. A majority see Trump as someone who stands up for what he believes in.  Fewer describe Trump as a strong leader, and someone who is honest or disciplined. Again, Republicans are more likely to have a more favorable view of Trump’s qualities than Democrats, but they are not enormously positive about his honesty or discipline.

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Question: Please indicate how well each of the following words or phrases describes Donald Trump.

Source: AP-NORC poll conducted October 24-28, 2019, with 1,075 adults nationwide.


Forty-six percent of Americans say Trump makes them feel angry, while 40% say he makes them feel overwhelmed. Fewer feel proud (32%) or excited (28%).  Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say President Trump makes them feel angry or overwhelmed. While in the minority, sizeable numbers of Republicans say Trump does not make them feel proud or excited.

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Question: For each of the following, please say if the word does or does not describe how Donald Trump makes you feel.

Source: AP-NORC poll conducted October 24-28, 2019, with 1,075 adults nationwide.

Fifty-four percent of Americans approve Trump’s handling of the economy compared to 44% who disapprove. Fewer approve of Trump’s handling of health care, trade negotiations with other countries, and  foreign policy. Republicans are more likely to approve of the way Trump is handling the issues.

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Question: Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as president?/ Overall, fo you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling...?. 

Source: AP-NORC poll conducted October 24-28, 2019, with 1,075 adults nationwide.

Forty-eight percent of adults say Trump’s actions as president have been good at strengthening the economy, 30% disagree. Twenty-one percent say they have been neither good nor bad.Fewer credit Trump with improving the U.S standing in the world: 39% have a positive view compared to 46% who disagree and 13% who report his actions haven’t had a good nor bad impact.  When it comes to the reduction of corruption in the government, 32% view Trump’s actions positively and 45% see them negatively. Thirty-seven percent think Trump’s presidency has been good for the fight against terrorism compared to 42% who say it’s been bad. 

Since Trump took office, 42% of Americans say they pay more attention to politics, and 43% say they pay about the same attention as they did before. Fifteen percent say they have less interest in politics. This is true across party lines.

Late in the evening on October 6, President Trump ordered the withdrawal of most United States forces from northern Syria. In the wake of this decision, there is little public agreement on the long-term consequences and Trump’s foreign policy tactics generally. 

Roughly equal proportions of Americans approve as disapprove of the troop pullout: 38% strongly or somewhat approve, while 34% somewhat or strongly disapprove. Twenty-six percent neither approve nor disapprove. More than 7 in 10 are at least moderately concerned that the move to withdraw American troops will lead to instability in the region. 

There are large gaps in attitudes between Democrats and Republicans when it comes to the troop withdrawal and its consequences. Republicans are more than twice as likely as Democrats to approve of the move (55% vs. 25%), and Democrats are more than twice as likely as Republicans to be extremely or very concerned about it leading to instability (59% vs. 22%). 

One area where there is broad agreement between partisans is on whether the U.S. military campaign against Islamic militants in Syria has been worth fighting: 65% of Democrats and 61% of Republicans say it has been. 

Forty-eight percent of Americans say the United States uses its military force in foreign conflicts too often while 42% say it’s used about the right amount. Nine percent believe military force isn’t used often enough. Democrats and Republicans share similar views on the use of military force.


The nationwide poll was conducted October 24-28, 2019, using the AmeriSpeak® Panel, the probability-based panel of NORC at the University of Chicago. Online and telephone interviews using landlines and cell phones were conducted with 1,075 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.  Nearly all the interviews, 97%, were completed before the president’s announcement on October 27 that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group, died during an American special forces operation in Syria.


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