How Voters Grade Trump, Three Years Into His Presidency

Overall marks have stayed about the same since Trump's first year, but he’s getting more A’s on jobs, economy
President Donald Trump speaks during a Jan. 16 event in the Oval Office. A new poll found voters are grading the president better on jobs and the economy, although overall perceptions of his work in office are unchanged. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)
January 21, 2020 at 12:01 am UTC

Key Takeaways

  • Overall, 38% of voters gave Trump an F, while 21% gave him an A.

  • Trump received his best grades on jobs and the economy.

  • 43% say his performance will get worse, 21% said it will stay about the same, while 30% predict it will get better.

President Donald Trump is beginning the last year of his first term in office with improved marks from voters on his handling of jobs and the economy, but grades on his overall job performance are virtually unchanged since the end of his first year

Asked to grade Trump’s job as president on scale from A to F, the lion’s share (38 percent) of voters gave him an F, while 21 percent gave him an A, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico poll. Combined, 38 percent of voters gave Trump positive grades (A or B), while 49 percent gave him unsatisfactory grades (D or F). 

The Jan. 10-12 survey polled 1,996 registered voters and has a margin of error of 2 percentage points. 

The overall grades were mostly unchanged from a similar survey conducted in January 2018, one year into Trump’s presidency, with the exception of modest increases in the share who gave Trump an A and an F and a slight drop in the share who gave him a C.

The lack of change and the hardening of sentiment mirrors the steadiness in his overall job approval rating, where Republicans and Democrats have grown more enthusiastic in their diametrically opposed opinions of the president. The latest poll found 43 percent of voters approve of Trump’s job performance, compared with 44 percent in 2018, and 54 percent disapprove, compared with 51 percent a year into his presidency.

Despite the stagnation in views on general performance, voters are grading Trump more favorably on jobs and the economy, two issues viewed as key to his electoral success since they’re usually top of mind for voters. Since 2018, the share of voters who gave Trump an A on his handling of jobs increased 9 points, to 33 percent, and 32 percent gave him the highest mark for his handling of the economy, up 7 points over the same time frame.

Trump also saw an improvement in how voters graded his handling of fighting terrorism: While 32 percent gave him an F, the share who gave him an A (30 percent) increased 8 points since the one-year mark. 

Trump received the worst marks from voters on his handling of climate change and global warming, a key issue among the youngest voters; immigration, where he scored highly with his Republican base; and foreign relations, an issue that has risen to the forefront amid tensions with Iran. On those three issues, more than 4 in 10 voters gave him F’s. 

As for voters’ predictions for this year, 3 in 10 voters said they expect Trump’s performance will get better, while 21 percent said they think it will stay the same and 43 percent said it will get worse. 

A headshot photograph of Eli Yokley
Eli Yokley
U.S. Politics Analyst

Eli Yokley is Morning Consult’s U.S. politics analyst. Eli joined Morning Consult in 2016 from Roll Call, where he reported on House and Senate campaigns after five years of covering state-level politics in the Show Me State while studying at the University of Missouri in Columbia, including contributions to The New York Times, Politico and The Daily Beast. Follow him on Twitter @eyokley. Interested in connecting with Eli to discuss his analysis or for a media engagement or speaking opportunity? Email [email protected].

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