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Kalikow School Poll: Trump Approval Holds Steady

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President Trump’s overall approval rating and voter confidence in his handling of the economy are holding steady since the fall, even as less than half of all voters describe their personal financial situation as good, according to the latest Kalikow School Poll at Hofstra University.

Trump’s general job approval rating came in at 49 percent, compared to 48.7 percent in the Fall 2019 Kalikow School Poll. His rating on economic issues also remained essentially unchanged, with 55.3 percent of voters expressing confidence.

At the same time, however, there are signs that support among key swing voters may be eroding: the president’s job approval rating among Independents and suburban voters went down slightly, compared to the previous Kalikow School Poll, conducted in October 2019.

Craig Burnett, associate professor of political science and poll program director, noted that the escalating coronavirus pandemic puts Trump’s greatest strength among voters – the economy – and his most significant weakness – his handling of healthcare – in stark relief. Nearly 55 percent of voters surveyed disapprove of his performance on healthcare, including 58.4 percent of suburban voters.


“In the wake of his impeachment acquittal, Donald Trump’s reelection prospects appear to be largely unchanged since the fall,” said Craig Burnett, associate professor of political science and Kalikow School Poll program director. “Likely voters continue to report that his handling of the economy is his best issue, while healthcare remains the issue for which he receives the lowest marks.  President Trump’s handling of COVID-19 presents a unique challenge — and opportunity — for his administration, as likely voters indicate that both healthcare and the state of the economy are the most important issues to them when thinking about how they will vote in November. “

President Trump remains in a statistical dead heat with Vice President Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, with Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar the top-ranked vice-presidential choices.

Among Republicans, the more moderate Klobuchar was more than twice as popular as Warren (40 percent to 15.4 percent) to be Biden’s running mate, while Warren won out among Independents and Democrats. Suburban voters are just about evenly split between Klobuchar and Warren (25.3 percent to 27 percent), while urban voters overwhelmingly prefer Warren.

“As the Democratic Party moves toward endorsing Biden for the presidential nomination, who joins Biden on the ticket as the vice-presidential nominee is the next big question,” said Meena Bose, professor of political science and executive dean of Public Policy and Public Service programs at the Peter S. Kalikow School of Government, Public Policy and International Affairs. “Given Biden’s statement in the recent Democratic debate that a woman will be on the ticket, Senators Warren and Klobuchar are clear contenders.  Other strong possibilities are Senator Kamala Harris and former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. 

“High turnout by African-American voters has been key to Biden’s success in nominating contests from South Carolina onward,” Bose said,” and the Democratic Party will need to be attentive to gender as well as racial diversity in identifying a vice-presidential candidate who will encourage high turnout in November.”

The Kalikow School Poll, designed by Hofstra University’s Kalikow Center for the Study of the American Presidency and executed by YouGov, is based on interviews of 1,638 of YouGov’s panelists. The poll recorded responses from individuals who are 18 years or older and are likely voters in the 2020 election. The survey collected responses from March 5 – 12, 2020. The survey oversampled respondents who live in suburban areas of the country. The overall margin of error for the survey is 2.9. The margin of error for suburbanites is 3.5 (n=1,000), 6.5 for urban respondents (n=300), and 7.7 for rural respondents (n=200).

Among the other findings:

  • Concern about interference in the 2020 elections by a foreign government has waned since the first Kalikow School Poll. In October 2019, 63.9 of voters reported they were very or somewhat concerned about foreign interference, compared to 58.7 percent now.
  • Voters ranked eight issues based on their importance when it comes to evaluating presidential candidates. Respondents said healthcare and the economy were their top issues, with 71.7 percent and 69.7 percent rating them as “very important”.
  • An overwhelming number of voters – 70.2 percent – support travel bans to combat the spread of coronavirus, although that support has partisan contours: 56.8 percent of Democrats support travel bans related to COVID-19, while 88.8 percent of Republicans do.

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