Voter Opinions on the Shutdown and the Path Forward

January 11, 2019


New polling from Civis Analytics reaffirms Democrats’ strategy on the shutdown and shows that President Trump’s intransigence is costing him with voters.  Even as Trump’s standing with voters has deteriorated, the potential damage to his numbers could worsen more if he follows through on his plan to declare a state of emergency in order to build a wall without congressional approval.

Congressional Democrats’ position of fighting to re-open the government without funding for a border wall is right on both the policy and the politics. Democrats should stand strong in the face of Trump’s hostage-taking with the knowledge that the American people are on their side. 

Notably, this holds true even before hundreds of thousands of federal workers miss their first paycheck, a development that is sure to amplify the political ramifications for Trump.

Standing with Voters

Trump’s approval stands at 42% approve to 56% disapprove among likely 2020 voters, a net-drop of 5 points from where it stood prior to the shutdown in December (44 / 53).

Approximately 62% of voters that have an opinion think that Donald Trump should sign the budget without border wall funding in order to re-open the government as opposed to 38% believing Democrats should agree to a budget with the border wall funding. Civis tracked this question over the course of a week and found that momentum is moving against Trump, with support for Trump caving increasing by approximately 3 percent over the course of the week.

While there is a real education gap, a majority (51 percent) of non-college white voters who have an opinion believe Trump should cave. This is Trump’s base and a group he claims to be trying to appease with his hardline approach.

The potential path forward for Trump is even more bleak. More than 70 percent of voters who have an opinion believe that Trump should not declare a state of emergency. If he follows through on his threats, he will further alienate these voters who disagree with his approach.

About This Poll

This data was collected by Civis Analytics via its national continuous tracking web panel. The surveys were weighted to be a representative national cross section of likely 2020 voters. In total, 4,617 respondents answered the question about whether Trump should sign the budget without border wall funding between January 4th and January 11th, and 2,190 respondents answered the question about declaring a national emergency between January 9th and January 11th.