Continuing news on the latest Trump administration effort to modify the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature health reform law, appears to be putting downward pressure on the President’s job approval rating.
SurveyMonkey’s latest weekly tracking poll shows Donald Trump’s approval rating ticking down two points over the past week (to 39 percent) — matching previous lows from July and August — in a week when the White House announced plans to scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that make coverage more affordable to low-income people. Meanwhile, Trump’s disapproval rating clicked up two points to match previous highs of 59 percent.
While the change in overall approval is slight, our tracking also shows that worries about health care remained high for the past week. When asked to choose the issue that matters most, slightly more over the past week selected health care (24 percent) than jobs and the economy (23 percent).
Throughout 2017, responses to SurveyMonkey’s issue question have followed a consistent pattern: Concerns about health care spiked to between 24 and 30 percent five times — in March, May, late June, late July and in recent weeks — when Republican legislative efforts to scuttle the ACA received significant news coverage. Mentions of health care dropped to the low twenties or high teens when such news faded from the headlines.
Over the past month, however, concerns that increased in the midst of debate over the unsuccessful Graham-Cassidy bill, the most recent legislative effort to undo the ACA, have remained between 23 and 25 percent rather than dropping off as they did following similar episodes earlier in the year.
These results, coming along with the recent news regarding the ACA subsidies, suggest an explanation for the latest ticks in Trump’s approval. Most notable is the three point increase (from 45 to 48 percent) in strong disapproval of Trump’s performance, while the number that strongly approve remained flat (at 21 percent).
Over the course of 2017, increases in concern about health care that occurred during high profile efforts to repeal and replace the ACA have also coincided with several sharp increases in Trump’s strong disapproval. The same pattern appears to be at work now.
The more modest decline in Trump’s overall approval is a combination of two-point decline (from 32 to 30 percent) among independents who lean to neither party and a slightly more Democratic than usual sample. This week’s sample consists of 32 percent who identify as Democrats and 26 percent as Republicans. Our average result for 2017 has been 31 percent Democrat, 27 percent Republican (and SurveyMonkey does not weight national samples by party identification).
Methodology: This SurveyMonkey Tracking poll was conducted online October 12 through October 18, 2017 among a national sample of 14,717 adults ages 18 and up. Respondents for this survey were selected from the nearly 3 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. Data for this week have been weighted for age, race, sex, education, and geography using the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey to reflect the demographic composition of the United States. The modeled error estimate for this survey is plus or minus 1.5 percentage points.