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MCAP Poll: Erie voters give Trump poor marks

Monday, October 30, 2017

Almost a year after helping Donald Trump win a narrow victory over Hillary Clinton in the race for President of the United States, registered voters in Erie County give him poor marks for his job performance, according to a poll released Monday by the Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP).

Only 32% of voters polled approve of the job he is doing as President, while a solid majority (55%) say they disapprove. MCAP pollsters interviewed 409 Erie County voters between Oct. 16 and Oct. 24 in the second in a series of planned polls designed to monitor the evolution of public opinion in Erie County for the duration of the Trump administration.

The first poll, conducted in February, found 41% of respondents approving and 49% disapproving of the President’s job performance.

In addition, six of every 10 voters (60%) today say they have a somewhat (19%) or strongly (41%) unfavorable opinion of him, compared to 52% (13%=somewhat unfavorable, 39%=strongly unfavorable) eight months ago.

“It would appear that Erie County voters are anything but pleased with Donald Trump’s job performance, and this should be of serious concern for the President,” said MCAP Director Joseph Morris. “If what voters are thinking here in Erie County is similar to what's going on in the minds of voters in other counties in the Rust Belt, the President has reason to be seriously concerned. To the extent that Erie is a microcosm of the Rust Belt, the President may need to rethink his priorities.”

Nearly two-thirds of voters (64%) say the nation is off on the wrong track (29% say it’s headed in the right direction), and pluralities or majorities of voters disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling 11 of 14 issues facing the nation.

A plurality of voters approve of Trump’s performance on three issues -- the economy, terrorism and national defense. However, since February 2017, the percentage of Erie County voters expressing disapproval of the President’s handling of nearly every issue has increased. Voters’ disapproval of the President’s handling of health care has increased by 11 points; America’s infrastructure by 13 points; illegal drugs by 12 points; and gun violence by 19 points.

The one bright spot for the President is Erie voters' perceptions of the national economy; however, voters are not seeing much improvement in their local economy. 

Erie County voters polled also give Congress and the news media low marks.

A majority of voters (68%) say they have an unfavorable opinion of Congress compared to only 27% who say they have a favorable opinion. These numbers are similar to those obtained in February 2017.

Today Erie County voters are slightly less trusting that news media will report the news fully, accurately, and fairly than they were in February of 2017. A majority (56%) of voters say they have “not much” trust or “none at all” in the veracity of news reporting, up three points since February. At the same time, a majority see the President’s criticism of news media as unfair and unjustified.

Visit MCAP for complete poll results.