A majority of voters say they believe President Donald Trump is keeping his campaign promises, according to a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll that confirms what is expected to be the central theme of his first speech to a joint session of Congress.
Trump, in a speech Tuesday night on Capitol Hill, will tout what the White House sees as a productive six weeks since taking office. The president and his administration believe they’ve begun to secure the nation’s borders, bring jobs back to the U.S. and has started the arduous process of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Voters seem to agree, regardless of how they feel about Trump’s priorities. A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll shows that 56 percent of 2,000 registered voters polled Feb. 24 through Feb. 26 say that Trump is staying true to his 2016 campaign message, and 66 percent say Trump has accomplished what was expected of him — or more. Overall, half of voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 45 percent disapprove.
“While Americans are divided on President Trump’s policy agenda, most say he is making headway on it,” said Morning Consult’s Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “An overwhelming majority of Trump’s supporters, and even many of his critics, see a president who is delivering on his promises.”
The stakes are high. Trump comes to Capitol Hill Tuesday night to face a chamber that’s growing restive. Republicans are still lined up lockstep behind Trump but are wary of his off-message missives. Top congressional leaders privately say they are happy with his policy preferences, but they less pleased with his tweets and frequent targeting of the intelligence community and other national institutions.
But the White House says the Tuesday address will attempt to unify the country. The president, according to the White House will, “lay out an optimistic vision for the country that crosses the traditional lines of party, race and socioeconomic status.” In the prime-time address, the president will discuss his desire to rewrite the tax code, replace the health care law, fix inner cities, reform the education system and spark a “great rebuilding of the American military.”
But the poll — which carries a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points — has some serious notes of caution, which Trump might look to combat in his address. Congressional Democrats edge Republicans in who is most trusted to handle health care, 42 percent to 40 percent, with 18 percent unsure of whom to trust. Republicans are more trusted on other key issues, like the economy, jobs and immigration.
In recent days, various Republicans have voiced notes of skepticism about the political will to replace the health-care law. Former House Speaker John Boehner said repealing and replacing the law won’t happen, and after a week of bruising town halls, some lawmakers might grow wary of stripping health care from a large number of Americans.
Although he’s unlikely to detail his Obamacare replacement plan, Trump will have some policy preferences he’s likely to discuss. His budget — which will be released March 16 — adds $54 billion in military spending, in addition to asking for an additional emergency lump of $30 billion this year. The White House says that the uptick in spending will not add to the national debt.
But public sentiment about U.S. spending might help explain Trump’s spending blueprint, which leaves untouched pricey entitlements while boosting military spending. A stunning 73 percent of those polled said foreign aid contributes a great deal or fair amount to the national debt, far outstripping concerns about entitlement spending. Foreign aid is a tiny slice of the budget, while most Republicans and Democrats believe entitlement programs are the main drivers of the nation’s debt. But a plurality of voters say the national debt will increase with Trump as president.
As Trump readies to rewrite a ban on travel from seven Middle Eastern countries, the nation is deeply split on the role of immigrants in America. Forty-three percent say immigrants strengthen the United States because of “their hard work and talents,” while 43 percent say immigrants are a “burden on our country because they take our housing, health care and jobs.”
Amid an apparent uptick in deportations, 46 percent of voters think undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the U.S. and eventually apply for citizenship. Thirty-eight percent say they should be required to leave the U.S., and 7 percent think they should be able to stay but not earn citizenship.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.