Public approval of President Donald Trump’s handling of the economy reached its highest points since the election of 2016 even while his overall approval rating was effectively unchanged in January.
Fifty-one percent of Americans approve of President Trump’s management of the U.S. economy, according to the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll. That is up a percentage point from the last time the question was asked in July 2018. Before the Trump tax cuts were passed at the end of 2017, Trump’s economic approval rating was just 42 percent–around where it had been since his election.
The growing popularity of Trump’s economic policies defied predictions that the public would turn against the president due to stock market turmoil that lasted from October through Christmas Eve 2018. Both the stock market and economic data released in January have shown continued economic strength, although not quite at the heights reached in the third quarter of 2018, when the economy grew at a 3.5 percent rate.
But even as Trump has garnered the approval of the majority of Americans for his economic policies, opposition has arisen as well. The share of those who disapprove of Trump’s economic policies rose to 45 percent in January, up from 34 percent in July.
More Americans say Trump bears responsibility for the partial shutdown of the economy, with 50 percent assigning the president blame and 37 percent blaming Democrats in Congress. That’s a change from past shutdowns, in which the public tended to blame Congressional opposition to the president. Prior to the shutdown, Trump had announced that he would take responsibility for it.
Trump’s overall approval rating was not hurt by the shutdown. This held steady at 43 percent in the Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, unchanged since the survey taken 10 days prior to the shutdown. Fifty-four percent disapprove of the president’s job performance.
Trump remains both more popular and more disliked than Nancy Pelosi, the House Speaker, or the Republican Party. Twenty-seven percent of the public say they have “very positive” feels about the president, and 12 percent say they have “somewhat positive feelings,” for a total positive rating of 39 percent. The Republican party gets just an 11 percent very positive share and a 23 percent somewhat positive.
Nancy Pelosi has just an 11 percent very positive rating, the same as the Democratic party overall. But whereas the Democrats also have an additional 24 percent somewhat positive ranking, Nancy adds just 17 percent to the somewhat approval column.
Thirty-four percent of the public say they have a very negative view of Pelosi, while 43 percent say they have a very negative view of Trump.