Grinnell poll: Trump's 'troubles' overshadow his high approval for economy

President Donald Trump speaks June 11, 2019, at a fundraiser in Des Moines. (Reuters)
President Donald Trump speaks June 11, 2019, at a fundraiser in Des Moines. (Reuters)

Historically, a good economy is good for presidential re-election, but that may not be the case for President Donald Trump in 2020, according to a new Grinnell College National Poll.

The poll of 1,003 adults by Selzer & Co. found that 50 percent of the respondents approve of the job Trump is doing with regard to the economy, but those numbers are not translating to sure votes in 2020.

“The warning lights should be blinking red inside the Trump campaign,” said Peter Hanson, Grinnell College associate professor of political science and national poll director. “Over half of Americans believe the economy is doing well and that they are moving closer to their personal financial goals, but just 38 percent think President Trump should be re-elected.”

In fact, the poll found that if the general election were today, only 38 percent of likely voters say they would definitely vote to re-elect Trump while 47 percent would definitely vote for someone else.

“The president is heading into 2020 weighed down by troubles that are overshadowing the strong economy,” Hanson added.

Those “troubles” include findings that 81 percent of the respondents who said it’s not right for political candidates to ask foreign governments to help them win election. That includes 81 percent of Republican, 85 percent of evangelicals Christians, 87 percent of rural voters — Trump’s 2016 base.

On impeachment, 42 percent said he should be removed from office. Feelings about impeachment were more aligned with 2016 voting patterns with 83 percent of Democrats, 62 percent of those who don’t profess a religious preference and 57 percent of suburban women supporting impeachment. However, 44 percent opposed impeachment, including 87 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of white males without college degrees and 63 percent of rural dwellers.


The poll, which has a margin of error of 3.1 percent, also found 66 percent of adults do not approve of Trump as a role model and 56 percent said their feelings about Trump have become “more unfavorable” since his election. Thirty-nine percent said their feelings toward Trump had improved.

Overall, Trump’s job approval rating has fallen 3 percentage points from November 2018 to 40 percent, Selzer & Co. found.

The Grinnell College National Poll was conducted Oct. 17-23. Respondents included 806 likely 2020 election voters. Detailed toplines and methodology can be found here.

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