Most “viral” takeaways?
1) Should people be able to freely criticize the president: citizens (81 percent), press (71 percent), federal government employees (62 percent), legal immigrants (50 percent).
Democrats are much more likely to believe and any given group can freely criticize the president. They run from 90 percent (citizens) to 85 percent (press) to 76 percent (federal government employees) to 65 percent (legal immigrants). Republicans for the same four groups: 70 percent, 52 percent, 43 percent, and 28 percent. Just 28 percent think legal immigrants should be able to freely criticize the president.
We did not poll this question in 2016, but it is unlikely that the Republicans, who were a very negative opposition to President Obama thought it was so inappropriate to criticize the president. Further, it is doubtful that Democrats would feel so strongly about not criticizing the president, even when it is their own.
2) Do people think Trump competent or corrupt? 38 percent of Americans maintain that President Trump has been a competent president, versus 41 percent who disagree (a lot of neither agree nor disagree). This question is closer to parity. We see two competing things, people see public incompetence in the work, but also see a lot of stuff getting done. Just 34 percent think Trump rolled out executive orders well (to 45 percent badly), but 44 percent think Trump has been productive with policy to just 35 percent unproductive. The success of implementing future policies on immigration and healthcare can sway this question a lot.
Just 35 percent of Americans find President Trump to be more corrupt compared to other politicians, versus 37 percent who say less corrupt. Again, a low percentage of the population has strong opinions, resulting in parity. But, unlike the competency question, there is a clear pattern on the components. “Do you think President Trump is making more or less money off the presidency than past presidents?”: 36 percent more and 27 percent less. “Do you think Trump’s family is making more or less money off the presidency than past presidents’ relatives?” 43 percent more and 25 percent less. “Has President Trump divested himself sufficiently from his business interests?” 28 percent yes and 42 percent no. “Is the government money spent on securing President Trump’s properties, such as Trump Towers, justified?” 32 percent justified and 47 percent unjustified.
3) Do people trust Trump? President Trump (47 percent), Democratic Congressional Leaders (46 percent), and Republican Congressional Leaders (44 percent). Politicians range from 44 to 47 percent. Do you trust: mainstream media (41 percent), Fox News (49 percent), the New York Times (51 percent), and CNN (53 percent). Specific mainstream media ranges from 49 to 53 percent. Do you trust: CIA (56 percent) and FBI (64 percent).
Trust in politicians has a clear partisan divide with Democrats trusting Democrats and Republicans trusting Republicans, but there is also an astounding age divide, where young people are much less trusting of politicians in general. Trump is trusted by 20 percent of Democrats, 86 percent of Republicans, 32 percent of 18-24 year olds, and 52 percent of people 55 years old or greater. Republican (Democratic) Congressional leaders are trusted by 30 (76) percent of Democrats, 72 (20) percent of Republicans, 37 (58) percent of 18-24 year olds, and 47 (43) percent of people 55 years old or greater. The racial divide is equally stark: Only 17% of Blacks and 27% of Hispanics report they trust President Trump. In contrast, congressional leaders are overall less polarizing than President Trump.
People distrust the “mainstream media”, but have news sources they trust. 41 percent trust the “mainstream media”, but 73 percent trust one of the three “mainstream media” choices we had: CNN, New York Times, and Fox News. Fox News is much less polarizing than the New York Times or CNN, but has a similar overall level of trust. Republicans claim to trust the “mainstream media” less than they trust Fox News, CNN, or New York Times, showing that this common question is not representing an average level of trust, but something closer to the trust of the least trusted media in the “mainstream media”.