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Emerson College National Poll: Trump’s Disapproval Matches All Time Low; Americans Are Optimistic About the New Year Despite Belt Tightening for the Holidays

The last Emerson poll of 2018 finds President Trump’s job disapproval rating fell below 50% for the first time this year, with approval at 43% and disapproval at 47% on his job performance. These are the strongest job numbers for the President in an Emerson poll since February 2017, when Trump had 48% approval/47% disapproval. This survey data was collected December 6-9, US Residents, MM, n=800, +/-3.6%.

Looking to the new year, Americans are positive: 47% expect that 2019 will be better than 2018, with 30% saying things will be worse next year. However, the poll also found that a plurality of Americans (42%) plan to spend less this holiday season than last year. 27% plan to spend more, and 31% indicate they will spend the same amount as last year.  About a quarter of Americans (24%) consider there to be a war on the word “Christmas,” while 51% said there is not.

National Politics

After gaining over 40 seats in US House races in November, the poll found a tightening in the Generic Congressional ballot test at 46% Democrat and 44% Republican. In the Emerson poll around Columbus Day in October, Democrats led 50% to 42%.

A Generic Presidential ballot test forecast a similar 2020 race with what was predicted in 2016, with 45% currently leaning for the generic Democrat and 43% for the generic Republican.  

Even with the turbulence of his presidency, a majority (56%) of GOP voters surveyed do not believe a Republican candidate should challenge President Trump in the 2020 Presidential Primary; 25% believe a Republican candidate should challenge President Trump.

On the Democratic side, six candidates were presented to likely primary voters, with former Vice President Joe Biden (26%) and Senator Bernie Sanders (22%) leading the field. Beto O'Rourke at 15% was the only other candidate to reach double digits. Biden is popular among baby boomers, aged 55-74, with 39%. Bernie Sanders has the support of those aged 18-34, with 36%. 

Regarding the issue of potential voter fraud in the 2018 Midterm Elections, the Emerson poll found overall people split, with 41% of Americans believing there was voter fraud, while 38% did not believe fraud took place in the recent election. By party, 47% of Democrats said there was fraud, and 30% said there was no fraud. Among Republicans, 35% believed there was voter fraud, while 44% said there was no fraud in the election.

Flu Season

As the country enters flu season, the majority of Americans (51%) said they did not get the flu vaccine this year. Among those polled, a majority of 55-74 year olds (65%) and those over 75 (62%) got a flu shot this year, as compared to only 35% of 18-34 year olds and 44% of 35-54 year olds. When asked why they did not get a flu shot, 53% said that it simply was not a priority for them.


Transparency Initiative


The national Emerson College poll was conducted December 6-9, 2018 under the Supervision of Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=800, with a Credibility Interval (CI) similar to a poll’s margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.6 percentage points. The data was weighted by gender, age, party affiliation, region and mode. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using both an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only (n=560) and an online panel provided by Amazon Turk (n=240). Visit our website at ​​.  

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