Washington: President Donald Trump is more popular with likely voters than he is with the general public, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll that underscores why Republican lawmakers have largely stuck with the polarizing president despite his plunging approval ratings.
The poll, released on Wednesday, shows he polls better among people who voted in the 2016 presidential election than with the overall US adult population — a group that includes both voters and non-voters. Only about 60 percent of the voting-age public took part in last year’s election.
In October, for example, 44 percent of 2016 voters said they approved of Trump’s performance in office, compared with 37 percent of the general population. Among Republicans, 82 percent of voters approved of Trump in October, compared with 75 percent of all Republicans.
Some 85 percent of those who voted for Trump in 2016 said they would do so again, the poll found.
“It’s very difficult for any Republican candidate to distance themselves from Trump,” said Michael McDonald, an expert on voter turnout at the University of Florida.
Gillespie’s loss sparked debate among Republicans on the way forward on Wednesday. Trump suggested in a tweet that the outcome could have been different had Gillespie fully embraced him, but critics pointed out that exit polls showed that a third of Virginian voters had turned out to signal displeasure with Trump, double the number who cast ballots to express support for the president.
Reuters/Ipsos was able to compare the opinions of voters with the general public by creating two separate surveys: a poll of voters and a poll of the public.
For the voter poll, Reuters/Ipsos reconnected with people who took its exit poll on 8 November, 2016, the day of the US presidential election. Those voters were sent additional questionnaires in May, July and October that asked if they approved or disapproved of the president.
The two polls diverged in October, however, with voters expressing stronger levels of approval than the general public.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll is conducted online in English throughout the country. Some 1,206 of those 2016 voters took the survey between May 10-12, followed by 1,296 who took the July 11-12 survey and 1,195 who took the survey between Oct. 18-19.
Individual responses were weighted so they would reflect the latest population estimates, as well as the support their presidential pick received in the election. Each of the voter polls had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points for the entire group and 5 percentage points for Republican voters.
Updated Date: Nov 10, 2017 09:07 AM