According to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey of 900 adults conducted between January 20-23, approximately 63% of Americans believe the nation is “on the wrong track.”
In an NBC News report, journalist Mark Murray writes:
After the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history, six-in-10 Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction, and nearly 70 percent of them have negative opinions on the state of the nation today …
The survey also asks voters if they “approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president.” While 43% either “strongly” or “somewhat” approve, 54% “strongly” or “somewhat” disapprove.
When it comes to how the president is “handling the economy,” 51% approve, while 45% disapprove.
34% of voters view the Republican Party “very” or “somewhat” positively, while 35% feel the same way about the Democratic Party.
How do these numbers stack up against past surveys conducted by NBC/WSJ? Even though the survey was conducted before the end of the partial government shutdown, President Trump’s approval to disapproval ratio is roughly the same as it was throughout much of 2017/2018.
The president’s average approval rating from February 2017 to December 2018, according to prior NBC/WSJ surveys, stood at 42.4%, while his disapproval rating stood at 53.4%.
Trump’s economic numbers have actually gone up. From April 2017 to July 2018 (the most recent time this question was asked aside from the latest survey), Trump’s economic approval averaged 44.2% — more than six percentage points lower than this latest survey indicates.
When asked to use a word or phrase to describe “where America is headed in the next year,” 31% of respondents used positive descriptors, while 57% used negative descriptors. However, in January 2013 and January 2014, 58% and 62% of respondents, respectively, used negative descriptors.
While President Trump’s approval rating appears static despite the shutdown, former President Obama experienced a minor drop followed by a brief rebound during the partial government shutdown of October 2013.
According to Gallup:
After weeks of failed efforts at a compromise budget bill in Congress, the federal government was forced into a partial shutdown on Oct. 1, and, similar to what happened in March with sequestration, Obama’s approval rating immediately fell four points — from 45% in the last three days of September to 41% in the first three days of October.
Throughout October 2013, Obama’s approval rating rebounded to highs of 44% and 46% and fell to lows of 41% and 42%, reports Gallup.
The RealClearPolitics average has President Trump at 41.2% approval and 55.5% disapproval as of publication, a 14.3% spread, which is roughly on par with his May to December ratings.
The RealClearPolitics average for President Trump’s economic job approval stands at 49%, while an average 46% disapprove of his handling of the economy.
As for where the country is headed, the view among Americans is a bit more bleak, with 58.3% saying we’re on the “wrong track,” and 34.3% saying we’re on the “right track.” That said, the “wrong track” number hasn’t dipped below 50% in any poll featured on RealClearPolitics since August.