Each day in the ScottRasmussen.com Daily Tracking Poll, we ask 1,000 Registered Voters how they rate President Trump’s performance in office. In addition to the Job Approval rating, we also ask a follow-up question asking if things would be better worse or pretty much the same if Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election. Perhaps the most stunning piece of data for many political activists is that 26% of voters don’t think things would be all that different with Clinton in the White House today (see my column on the topic).
Another interesting finding comes from looking at that the number who disapprove of the president but believe things would be even worse if had lost the election. We call these voters “Conflicted Supporters” of the president.
While we do not have earlier results for direct comparison, data from other sources suggest that the number of Conflicted Supporters has been declining over time. On Election Day, 10% of all voters cast their ballot for Trump despite believing he was unqualified for the job. During the early months of his Administration, there was an 8-point gap between the number who approved of his performance and the total number happy that he had prevented a Clinton victory.
In all of these time frames, the total number who preferred someone other than Clinton in the White House remained consistently around the 50% mark. It is therefore possible that the recent gains in the president’s job approval ratings have come from people who already saw him as the lesser of two evils. If so, the gains do not represent a broadening of base support. It may also mean that a decline in his Job Approval ratings could potentially be offset by an increase in the number of Conflicted Supporters. We will measure this over time.
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By combining the results of these two daily questions, we have identified and will monitor 8 groups of voters in the Trump Spectrum:
Strong Opponents (27% of Voters): Strongly Disapprove of the president and Believe Things Would Be Better if Clinton was president.
Strong Supporters (19% of Voters): Strongly Approve of the president and Believe Things Would Be Worse if Clinton was president.
Disengaged (14% of Voters): Don’t have strong feelings about the president and Don’t Believe Things Would Be Much Different if Clinton was president.
Discouraged (10% of Voters): Strongly Disapprove of the president but Don’t Believe Things Would Be Much Different if Clinton was president.
Conflicted Supporters (4% of Voters): Disapprove of the president but Believe Things Would Be Worse if Clinton was president.
Conflicted Opponents (4% of Voters): Approve of the president but Believe Things Would Be Better if Clinton was president.
Soft Support (18% of Voters): Somewhat approve of the president and not in above categories.
Soft Opposition (4% of Voters): Somewhat disapprove of the president and not in above categories.
One interesting tidbit is that the overall voter attitudes of both Conflicted Supporters and Opponents is defined more by attitudes towards Hillary Clinton rather than President Trump.
NOTE: The voting percentages mentioned above are based upon surveys of 5,003 Registered Voters conducted from August 19-24, 2018. Updated information will be reported regularly. Each week, we will post updated crosstab information on these groups.