Republicans love Trump's policies so far

By Emily Guskin analysis

Students from high schools and colleges throughout New York city protest during a rally against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Photo / AP
Students from high schools and colleges throughout New York city protest during a rally against President Donald Trump's executive order banning travel from seven Muslim-majority countries. Photo / AP

This week, President Donald Trump dismissed "negative polls" by news organisations finding opposition to his temporary ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

While surveys show Trump's policies draw mixed reviews from the public overall, almost every one wins majority support from Republicans. Huffpost pollster shows 29.8 per cent of the electorate identify as independents, 34.5 per cent as Democrats, 28.1 per cent as Republicans.

What Trump may be reacting to then is that everyone he talks to - aka loyal supporters - seem to love his proposals even though polling shows them with middling support.

Take Trump's controversial ban on immigration from seven majority-Muslim countries.

Polls show support for Trump's proposal ranging from small majority support to small majority opposition, suggesting the public is roughly divided on the policy.

But even in the poll showing the most negative appraisal, Republicans are overwhelmingly supportive.

A Gallup poll last week found 42 per cent approve of Trump's temporary ban while 55 per cent disapprove. Support climbs to 83 per cent among Republicans, but dips to 42 per cent of independents and just 14 per cent of Democrats.

A CBS News poll found strikingly similar results, with 85 per cent of Republicans supporting Trump's immigration ban compared with 44 per cent of independents and 11 per cent of Democrats.

Border wall

One of the first things Trump did as president was sign an executive order to build a wall on the Mexican border. A Gallup poll last week found just under 4 in 10 Americans support Trump's plan to build a wall across the US southern border (38 per cent). But an 80 per cent majority of Republicans support a border wall, compared with 39 per cent of independents and just 8 per cent of Democrats.

Removing regulations

Trump pledged to slash business regulations, but a slight 51 per cent majority of voters in a January Quinnipiac poll disagreed with that stance, saying he should not remove regulations on business and corporations in general. A smaller 39 per cent supported loosening regulations.

Two-thirds of Republicans supported cutting back business regulations but support drops to 37 per cent among independents and 18 per cent among Democrats.

Voters are even less supportive of removing regulations specifically intended to combat climate change. In the same Quinnipiac poll, 59 per cent of voters voiced opposition to removing climate-focused regulations, compared with 32 per cent in support. But Republicans supported removing them by a 52 to 35 per cent margin.

That's not say every Trump policy is favoured by a majority of Republicans - and no one else. Another set of proposals have somewhat broader appeal, and even enjoy some support among Democrats.

Cutting business taxes

Trump said he wanted to cut taxes for businesses and corporations to keep them in the country. Cutting income taxes paid by businesses got a mixed reception overall in a January Post-ABC poll, but higher 65 per cent support from Republicans. Independents were split though, 48 per cent support to 46 per cent opposed while just over one-third of Democrats supported the idea (35 per cent).

Keystone XL Pipeline

Trump is looking to revive the Keystone XL pipeline, a move which a 55 per cent majority of Americans wanted the next president to support according to an 2015 Post-ABC poll. That included 79 per cent of Republicans and 56 per cent of independents. A slim majority of Democrats, 52 per cent, sought a president opposed to building the Keystone pipeline.

Renegotiating NAFTA

Trump pledged to renegotiate the NAFTA trade accord between the US, Mexico and Canada, a decision which 57 per cent of Americans support in a January Post-ABC poll, which swells to 80 per cent among Republicans. A 61 per cent majority of independents supported the effort, as did over 4 in 10 Democrats (42 per cent).

Pulling out of TPP

Trump has already pulled the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, but in an October 2015 Post-ABC poll 44 per cent of Americans wanted the next president to support the trade agreement while 33 per cent wanted someone opposed to it. A narrow 51 per cent majority of Democrats looked for a president who supported the agreement, while both Republicans and independents were split on it, with around 4 in 10 of each seeking a president who backed the policy.

Hiring freeze

The most popular thing that Trump might have done is instituting a federal hiring freeze, a move seemingly popular with Republicans, independents and even many Democrats. In 2012, a Fox News poll asked about a more drastic policy of reducing the number of government employees by 10 per cent in order to reduce the budget deficit. A 65 per cent majority of registered voters approved, including 83 per cent of Republicans and 69 per cent of independents. Nearly half of Democrats, 48 per cent, also supported the cutbacks.

Punishing businesses that move jobs from the US

On his first "official"day in the White House, Trump said companies who keep production in the US will be rewarded with incentives and that those who do not could face "major"tariffs. When asked about retaliation against outsourcing companies generally, 53 per cent of the adults in a January Post-ABC poll supported the move while 43 per cent were opposed.

Support for this plan is strongest among Republicans at 67 per cent, but 57 per cent of independents and 44 per cent of Democrats also said companies that move jobs from the US should be punished.

Broadly speaking, Trump's slew of executive orders doesn't seem to have had a major impact on his overall job approval ratings, though this is little comfort given that he entered office with historically low marks and heavy partisan polarisation.

Gallup found an average of 43 per cent of adults approving of Trump in interviews ending Monday. Just 8 per cent of Democrats and 41 per cent of independents approve of the 45th president, but among Republicans 86 per cent say he is doing a good job.

- Washington Post

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