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New Report: Presidential Favorability Rates Fell Most Among Obama-Trump Voters

May 8, 2019

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For Immediate Release

May 8, 2019

Lauren Strayer
(202) 420-7928

Jack D’Amato
(404) 995-4500

New Report: Presidential Favorability Rates Fell Most Among Obama-Trump Voters

Longitudinal study uncovers potential support “ceiling” for President Trump and whether voters prioritize issue positions or demographics in a 2020 candidate.

Washington, D.C. — May 8,2019

The Democracy Fund Voter Study Group, a research collaboration of leading analysts and scholars from across the political spectrum, has released initial findings from its 2019 VOTER Survey, which captured how Americans are feeling about President Trump’s first two years in office. Notably, while a majority of Obama-Trump voters still have a favorable opinion of the president, they are more likely than other voters to have shifted away from him.

The data also show that 85 percent of Americans have not changed their mind about the president in the last two years — holding either a consistently positive (36 percent) or consistently negative (48 percent) view of him. Collectively, only half (49 percent) of Americans have said they have a favorable opinion of the president at some point in the last two years. The stability of President Trump’s ratings have been cited as a “floor,” but these 49 percent might be his support “ceiling.”

These and other findings from the survey of more than 6,700 Americans are captured in a new brief, “Two Years In: How Americans’ Views Have — and Have Not — Changed Midway Through Trump's Term,” authored by Rob Griffin, Research Director at the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group.

Additional findings relevant to the president’s agenda and the 2020 election include:

Presidential Candidates

  • Americans say that it is more important for the next president to have particular policy positions than particular demographic characteristics. For example, Americans say it’s more important that the next president advocate for racial and ethnic minorities (69 percent) than that they are a person of color (19 percent).
  • However, when asked about presidential characteristics, partisan divides become apparent. Democrats are about five times more likely than Republicans to say that it is important the next president is a person of color. Additionally, almost four in 10 (39 percent) black Americans say that it is “important” that the next president is a person of color, which is higher than any other racial or ethnic group.

Issue Priority

  • Democrats and Republicans prioritize different issues and the partisan gap is largest on climate change. Healthcare also shows strong partisan divides, with 84 percent of Democrats naming it a high priority versus only 52 percent of Republicans.
  • As the Democratic nomination contest takes shape, Democrats say their highest priority policies after healthcare are the environment (75 percent say the issue is “very important”), climate change (73 percent), education (73 percent), racial equality (69 percent), and Medicare (69 percent). By contrast, Republicans’ top priorities are the economy (79 percent), jobs (72 percent), and terrorism (69 percent).

“Two years into President Trump’s term, attitudes toward him remain remarkably consistent, with widespread support among Republicans but little sign that his popularity has expanded beyond his base,” said Griffin. “If you added up every person who ever had a favorable view of him, it would still be less than half the country. Heading into 2020, this might be a ceiling for him.”

The full report can be found at, along with other research from the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group.


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