Despite almost nonstop criticism from politicians, prominent business leaders and the media over President Trump's decision to suspend refugees for 120 days, the public still supports Trump by a margin of 51% to 48%, according to the latest IBD/TIPP poll. Trump, however, starts his presidency with very low approval ratings.
Trump's executive order, which he signed on Jan. 27, also temporarily blocked visas from seven countries known to harbor terrorists. The order sparked protests at airports and denunciations from Democrats and hundreds of companies.
Not surprisingly, there was a sharp partisan split on this question — 82% of Democrats oppose Trump's executive order, and 88% of Republicans approve. But more than half of independents (55%) back Trump.
The IBD/TIPP poll was conducted from Jan. 27 through Feb. 2, and includes a sample size of 885 people who were surveyed using live interviewers on cellphone and landlines. The poll's margin of error is +/- 3.3 percentage points.
The public's mood has considerably brightened since Trump took office, the poll shows.
For the first time since 2005, 50% say the country is headed in the right direction. Just before the election, only 40% thought so. A big driver of this gain came from independents: Just 29% were satisfied with the country's direction last fall, compared with 50% now.
The public is more upbeat about the economy, too, with 55% saying it is improving, up from 49% before the November elections. That includes 58% of self-described investors, who were cheered by the stock market rally since Trump's election and the Dow Jones industrial average topping 20,000.
What's more, 51% of Americans overall are satisfied with federal economic policies, up from 45%.
The poll also shows widespread confidence that Trump will make good on his key promises of bringing back manufacturing jobs (64% are confident he'll do this), building the border wall (58%), repealing and replacing ObamaCare (67%) and cutting and simplifying taxes (53%). Confidence in Trump's ability to defeat ISIS was split, 49% to 48%.
However, when it comes to Trump himself, the public gives him low marks.
Just 42% approve of the job he's doing as president, while 48% disapprove. While men approve of Trump's performance, 48%-43%, for women it's 36%-53%.
President Obama's overall approval rating had climbed to 55% by the end of his two terms in office, after being in the 40s for most of his presidency.
Fewer than half (46%) think Trump did a good job managing the transition, just 41% say he appointed the right people to Cabinet positions, and only 44% give him top grades for his overall performance.
"Americans see Trump moving on issues with a laser focus in lightning speed," said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica and director of the IBD/TIPP Poll. "He is taking actions on multiple fronts both domestic and foreign. This explains the confidence they have that Trump will fulfill his campaign promises and he means business."
But, he added, "Americans are not used to the speed and frank talk — such as on refugees — which make some people nervous."
In other poll findings:
- Just 43% of the public is confident that the news media will cover Trump fairly. Among independents, only 37% feel this way.
- The public is highly skeptical of trade deals, with 47% saying they've hurt job creation in the U.S., compared with 22% who say they've helped. Nearly two thirds of Republicans (65%) say trade deals hurt jobs, while only 24% of Democrats feel this way.
- Fully 77% say they are willing to pay 5% more for products made in the U.S. instead of those made abroad.
- While 42% say ObamaCare should be repealed, 34% say the law should be expanded and 20% say it should be left as is.