On the eve of his second State of the Union address, President Donald Trump faces a country in a foul mood after the lengthy government shutdown and the bitter battle over constructing a border wall. The public's view of the economy has soured as well, according to the IBD/TIPP Poll.
The latest IBD/TIPP Poll shows declines across the board: on presidential approval, direction of the country, financial stress, and whether the economy is improving or not.
Trump's approval rating dropped 3 points, bringing him down to 39% and erasing last month's gain. Fifty-seven percent say they disapprove of the job Trump is doing; it was 54% last month.
Trump's net favorability dropped to -15, with 40% having a favorable view of the job he's doing, and 55% unfavorable. That's 3 points worse than in January.
Trump also lost ground in the IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index, an exclusive measure that combines questions on approval, favorability and leadership. The index fell 4.8% in February to 41.9.
The historically long (and ultimately inconclusive) government shutdown and growing economic uncertainty appear to be weighing on the public.
Just over a third (35%) are satisfied with the direction of the country, with 63% dissatisfied, according to the IBD/TIPP Poll. That's a sharp drop from last month, when 41% said they were satisfied and 58% dissatisfied.
Driving the decline were sharp drops among independents (down 7 points) and Republicans (down 10 points).
When asked to grade his performance on the budget negotiations with Congress, just 31% of the adults polled by IBD/TIPP gave him an A or a B grade. In contrast, 54% gave him either a D or an F.
And while two-thirds of Republicans gave Trump top marks, only 29% of independents and 4% of Democrats did.
"Trump's approval ratings and Direction of Country have been hurt by the longest shutdown in history," said Raghavan Mayur, president of TechnoMetrica Market Intelligence, which conducts the monthly IBD/TIPP Poll. "The shutdown brought to the fore the intransigence and the inability of the two parties to work together to solve problems."
Economic Worries Grow
On the economy, fewer than half (49%) now think it is improving. That's the first time this number has been below 50% since Trump took office. Last month, 51% said the economy was improving, and just before the November midterms, 56% said it was improving.
When Trump took office in January 2017, 63% said the economy was improving.
Meanwhile, the IBD/TIPP Financial Stress Index hit 55.3 this month, up almost 7% from last month. Anything over 50 indicates stress. This is only the third time this index topped 55 under Trump. Even with the climb, however, it's still well below the 57.7 average over President Obama's second term.
The share of "job sensitive" households also climbed in February to 27%, despite the recent surge in hiring. This measure combines the share of households who say that either someone is looking for work, or is worried about losing their job. That's up from 22% at the end of last year.
It's worth noting, however, that the increase came entirely from the share of households reporting "one or more looking for employment." That could reflect the fact that more people have re-entered the workforce amid the job boom.
The poll also found that Trump still gets relatively high marks on the economy, with 44% giving him either an A or B grade.
Most Side With Trump On Border Threat ...
On the battle over the border wall, Trump has convinced most of the public that there's a growing crisis on the southern border.
The IBD/TIPP Poll found that 52% agree with Trump on that claim, despite a concerted effort on the part of Democrats and the mainstream press to convince the public otherwise.
Not surprisingly, 88% of Republicans agree with Trump on this security threat. But so do nearly half of independents (48%) and more than a quarter of Democrats (26%).
There's a substantial gender gap on this issue as well. While 56% of the men polled side with Trump on the security threat posed by the porous southern border, only 49% of women do.
... But Not On Border Wall
However, Trump still hasn't made the case for building a wall on the southern border. The poll finds the split is essentially unchanged from last month, with 53% opposed to a wall and 45% supporting it.
The huge gender gap on this issue also continues, with 52% of men backing the wall, but only 39% of women.
Warning Sign For Dems
The poll also found that the public sees Democrats largely as obstructionists bent on opposing Trump at all costs.
Fully 60% agreed with the statement that "Democrats in Congress are more concerned about opposing the president than getting deals done on issues such as government funding and immigration reform." Only 39% disagreed.
The poll found that 63% of independents feel this way about Democrats, as do 28% of Democrats. Not surprisingly, the vast majority of Republicans (92%) see Democrats as Trump obstructionists.
This could come back to bite Democrats, if the public sees them as putting their desire to see Trump fail above the needs of the country.
"Trump can still recover from potentially positive events in the horizon — an ambitious State of the Union tomorrow, signing of a trade deal with China, a second summit with North Korea," Mayur said.
Methodology: IBD/TIPP conducted the February poll from January 24 to February 1. It includes responses from 905 adults nationwide, who were asked questions by live interviewers on phones. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.3 percentage points. (Toplines from the poll will be posted here later this week.)
The IBD/TIPP Poll has been credited as being the most accurate poll in the past four presidential elections, and was one of only two that correctly predicted the outcome of the November 2016 presidential election.
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