CAPS - Harris Poll on the Trump administration

February 22, 2017

A nationwide poll of 2,148 registered voters by Harvard University’s Center for American Political Studies (CAPS) and the Harris Poll reveals a strong yearning for compromise and bi-partisanship after a tumultuous honeymoon period for the Trump administration. More than 2 in 3 registered voters (68%) believe President Trump should compromise on his agenda and work together with Congress, and nearly 3 in 4 registered voters (73%) feel Democrats should look to cooperate with President Trump and his administration to make deals on the issues they support, rather than boycott and resist.

Overall, nearly half of registered voters (48%) approve of the job Donald Trump is doing as President, while more than half (52%) disapprove. About half of registered voters (51%) have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, while 45% view him favorably. 

The findings also demonstrate that the mood towards the U.S. economy is improving. More than 42 percent of registered voters feel the American economy is on the right track, compared to 39 percent who say it is off on the wrong track. 61 percent of respondents think the U.S. economy is strong today, compared to 39 percent who believe it is weak. However, only about 1 in 3 registered voters (34%) feel the country is now on the right track, while slightly more than half (52%) believe it is off on the wrong track.

The survey was conducted between February 11- 13 and looks at wide range of issues including the mood and concerns of the American electorate, support for President Trump’s executive orders, the roll-out of the immigration ban, and key priorities for the new administration as it prepares to present its legislative agenda. The study was designed by Harvard Professor Stephen Ansolabehere and former Presidential pollster Mark Penn, with support from Dritan Nesho of Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, together with their students at Harvard University.

Other take-aways from the poll, include:

  • According to registered voters, the top three most important issues facing the country today are Health care (41%), Economy and jobs (40%), and Terrorism/national security (37%). Immigration (25%) and national debt/federal budget deficit (21%) round out the top five.
  • One in three registered voters (35%) say stimulating American jobs should be the top priority for President Trump and Republicans in Congress.
  • More than half of registered voters (53%) believe criticisms of President Trump and his administration by Democrats are generally fair and within reason, while nearly half (47%) believe such criticisms are often unfair and over the top.
  • Registered voters are split evenly on who they trust more, President Trump (50%) or the media (50%). And, the same proportion believe the media has treated President Trump fairly (42%) as the percent who feel he has been treated unfairly (42%).
  • A small majority of voters (55%) believe that federal judges are ruling more on and more on their political views, rather than ruling based only on the law (45%).
  • And when it comes to the president’s social media presence, most voters agree – 68% believe President Trump should stop Tweeting, while 32% feel he should continue to Tweet.

More information on this poll can be found HERE. More information on all the polls conducted so far can be found HERE.


The survey was conducted online by the Harris Poll within the United States between February 11-13, 2017 among 2,290 adults aged 18+, including 2,148 registered voters. The theoretical margin of error is +/- 2%.

The poll is supervised by Mark Penn and Professor Stephen Ansolabehere as co-directors. Mark Penn has 40 years of polling experience and Stephen Ansolabehere has 25 years experience conducting survey research and experimental research in the field of political science. They both teach polling courses at Harvard. 

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 Harvard Center for American Political Studies.

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