One year after the 2016 presidential election, the vast majority of Donald Trump voters have no regrets.
According to a POLITICO/Morning Consult poll conducted on the eve of the first anniversary of Trump’s historic election, 82 percent of those who say they supported Trump last year would vote for him again if they had to do it over. That’s slightly more than those who say they would vote for Democrat Hillary Clinton again — 78 percent — if they had the chance.
Only 7 percent of Trump voters and 8 percent of Clinton voters say they would vote for a different candidate if they could complete their 2016 ballot again.
Trump’s supporters have largely rallied around the president, despite his poor overall approval ratings, the chaos of his first year in office and the ongoing investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
But there are worrying signs for Trump that voters are less inclined to give him a second term three years from now if he decides to run for reelection.
Those red flags go beyond the natural, downward trajectory of most new presidents. Like Trump, Barack Obama and George W. Bush saw their parties lose governorships in both New Jersey and Virginia the year after their first elections as president. But both Obama and Bush had job-approval ratings over 50 percent at this point.
More voters say Trump is changing the federal government for the worse, 40 percent, than say he is changing it for the better, 34 percent.
While most Trump voters would back him in a 2016 do-over, some defect when asked whether they will vote for Trump or a generic, unnamed Democrat in 2020. About three-quarters of Trump voters, 76 percent, back Trump in the 2020 matchup, while 8 percent would support the Democrat.
Compare that to Clinton voters: 90 percent would vote for the Democrat, and only 3 percent would vote for Trump. Roughly twice as many Trump voters (16 percent) are undecided about whom they would support in 2020 as Clinton voters (7 percent), suggesting Trump’s support is softer than it appears on the surface.
Similarly, 84 percent of Democratic voters would choose the Democratic candidate, but just 74 percent of GOP voters would back Trump, the poll shows. Nine percent of Democrats are undecided, compared with 17 percent of Republicans.
Among independents, 40 percent would pick the Democrat, and 30 percent would vote for Trump, with another 30 percent undecided. An identical 40 percent of independents strongly disapprove of Trump’s job performance, a cohort of voters that Trump will likely struggle to bring into the fold.
Overall, among all voters, a generic, unnamed Democrat leads Trump, 46 percent to 36 percent, with 18 percent undecided.
In another recent survey, a CNN poll conducted by the firm SSRS, a remarkable 62 percent of registered voters said Trump does not deserve to be reelected in 2020. Only 35 percent of voters said he deserves reelection.
It’s already the second time this fall that CNN has put that question on a survey questionnaire. That’s a rare occurrence: Few pollsters tested Obama’s reelection chances until 2010. In April of 2010, a CNN/ORC poll found Obama 8 points ahead of Mitt Romney — who, while not exactly as anonymous as a generic Republican, had a higher favorable rating than unfavorable rating in the poll.
In another ominous finding from the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, voters have questions about whether Trump will even complete his term in office. The Constitution sets the president’s term into January 2021, but only a narrow majority of voters, 52 percent, think it’s likely that Trump completes his four-year term as president — 37 percent believe it’s more likely he will leave office early.
The poll didn’t ask what voters thought might hasten the end of Trump’s presidency, such as impeachment, resignation or some other incapacity. But, notably, nearly two-thirds of self-identified Clinton voters, 66 percent, think Trump will leave office early. By contrast, 85 percent of Trump voters think it’s more likely Trump finishes his term.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll finds voters are split on whether they are better off financially now than they were a year ago when Trump was first elected. Just over a quarter, 26 percent, say they are better off now, but 28 percent say they are worse off. A 41 percent plurality say their financial situation is about the same as it was a year ago.
“Voters who support President Trump have a markedly sunnier outlook on their own financial situation than those who don’t,” said Morning Consult Co-founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “Among those voters who strongly approve of the president, 41 percent say they’re doing better off financially than last year. Among voters who strongly disapprove, that number falls to just 18 percent.”
The problem, again, for Trump: Just 23 percent of voters strongly approve of his job performance.
More voters say Trump is changing the federal government for the worse, 40 percent, than say he is changing it for the better, 34 percent. Sixteen percent of voters say Trump isn’t changing the government much at all.
But among Trump voters, the president is viewed as a positive agent for change: nearly two-thirds, 66 percent, say he is changing the government for the better. Only 8 percent of Trump voters say he is changing it for the worse.
Also in the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll — conducted October 26-30, in conjunction with the first anniversary of last year’s presidential election — a 53 percent majority say Trump’s victory in that race was legitimate. But a third, 33 percent, say it was not legitimate.
That’s greater resistance to Trump’s election than Bush’s, despite the seemingly more controversial nature of the 43rd president’s election. A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll in July 2001 found 73 percent of Americans viewed Bush as a legitimate president some eight months after the Supreme Court resolved the 2000 election (and before the September 11 attacks), while only 11 percent said they would never view Bush legitimately. The remaining 15 percent said they didn’t view Bush as a legitimate president but might in the future.
Results from the POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released last week also showed voters are split on whether it is likely Trump acted improperly when it comes to any alleged coordination between his campaign and the Russian government.
The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll was conducted October 26-30, surveying 1,990 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.