CAPS - Harris Poll on the State of the Country

August 24, 2017

New Harvard CAPS - Harris Poll looks at public opinion on the Trump administration, the economy, North Korean tensions, and Charlottesville incident.

Poll also tracks the state of the county and differences between Urban, Suburban, and Rural America. Full results will be posted shortly.

The seventh Harvard CAPS – Harris poll, released on Thursday, August 24, shows a slight decline in approval for the Trump administration despite a continued trend of rising optimism on the economy and the administration’s efforts on this front.

President Trump’s approval ratings remain at the low range for the poll, with 43% job approval (vs. 57% disapproval), and 41% personal approval. The lowest approval rating received by the President continues to be on his ability to administer the government – 39% approve vs. 61% who disapprove.

However, President Trump receives majority approval by voters on his efforts to create jobs (53%), stimulate the economy (52%), and the administration’s efforts to combat terrorism (51%). Although most voters believe that the country is off on the wrong track (59% vs. 30% on the right track), a growing number feels that the economy is on the right track and 66% believe it to be growing. When asked, 45% say that President Trump’s polices and positions have helped economic improvement, compared to 14% who say it they have hurt it and 40% who say no effect.

Among voters today, 43% of those polled continue to favor impeachment of the President vs. 42% who believe no action should be taken and 15% who say he should be censured by Congress. Overall, 60% say that the Russia probe is hurting the country rather than helping it.

Among the key findings is the collapse of the ratings of the Republican party over the last couple of months. The GOP receives 30% approval vs. 70% disapproval and Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell’s popularity has slid to 19% – the lowest for any elected representative in the country. This represents a nine-point plunge for the Republican party since April. Only 56% of Republicans are happy with what the party has accomplished with its majorities in the House and Senate.

By comparison, the Democratic Party has a 42% approval rating, with 48% disapproving. Seventy percent of Democrats say they’re happy with the job the party is doing.

Finally, the events in Charlottesville were a missed opportunity for President Trump to demonstrate leadership: although 51% believe there was violence on both sides and President Trump was right to condemn violence on all sides rather than singling out any one group, 57% also believe that Trump failed to seize an opportunity to unite the country and fueled the tensions regarding race relations. Today, 70% of voters believe race relations in America are getting worse and 59% believe that President Trump should do more to bring whites and blacks together in this polarized political situation.

More findings from the poll will be released next week, and will be followed by an in-depth report on public opinion among voters in rural, suburban, and urban America, to be released in September 2017. 

Go to Harvard Harris Poll for more results. Please visit The Hill ( for first look analysis of all the poll results. 

The survey was conducted by The Harris Poll online within the United States between August 17-22, 2017 among 2,263 registered voters.

The results reflect a nationally representative sample. Results were weighted for age within gender, region, race/ethnicity, marital status, household size, income, employment, and education where necessary to align them with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. The poll was supervised by Harvard Professor of Government and CAPS Faculty Director Stephen Ansolabehere, Mark Penn, and Dritan Nesho. Stephen Ansolabehere has 25 years’ experience conducting survey research and experimental research in the field of political science. Mark Penn is a former presidential pollster and has 40 years of polling experience. Dritan Nesho is a fellow at Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science with over a decade of polling experience.

Harris Insights and Analytics conducts the poll based on online methodologies they have been using for more than a decade and the results are donated to the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University.

The results are represented as the results of the questions asked according to The Harris Poll methodology.