Center for American Progress Action

RELEASE: New Poll Reveals 2018 Senate Battleground Voters Want Senate Democrats to Check President-Elect Trump and His Policies
Press Release

RELEASE: New Poll Reveals 2018 Senate Battleground Voters Want Senate Democrats to Check President-Elect Trump and His Policies

Press Contacts

  • Beatriz Lopez

CAP Action releases new polling revealing key insights from voters in states with 2018 Senate races: Florida, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

New poll shows that 61 percent of voters in these states, half of whom voted for Trump, want Senate Democrats to check President-elect Trump and his policies.

Washington, D.C. — As progressives debate how to approach President-elect Donald Trump’s administration, the Center for American Progress Action Fund today released new polling, surveying voters across the 14 key battleground states in which Democrats will be defending U.S. Senate seats in 2018, that sheds new light on the question. The poll of voters in these states—Florida, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin—reveals a broad disconnect between President-elect Trump, Trump and congressional Republicans’ stated policy priorities, and the voters that will be punching ballots in the 2018 Senate race.

The survey reveals a host of key findings about attitudes of voters in the 2018 Senate battleground states. Voters on both sides of the aisle, even those in states that went to Trump in the 2016 election, want Senate Democrats to serve as a check on President-Elect Trump and his policies. The new poll further reveals that Donald Trump’s own voters are ambivalent about him and his ability to do a good job as president; that most voters do not believe that Trump is doing enough to avoid conflicts of interest with regard to his business holdings; that a majority of voters think it is important for Congress to investigate Russia’s efforts to interfere with U.S. elections; that voters have concerns about Trump’s Cabinet nominees; and that Trump and congressional Republicans’ positions on health care-related issues—including Medicare privatization, cuts to Medicaid, Affordable Care Act repeal without a replacement plan, and defunding Planned Parenthood—put Trump deeply at odds with voters’ priorities.

“Despite losing the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans are pretending they have a mandate for their harmful policy agenda. Nothing could be further from the truth,” said Neera Tanden, President and CEO of CAP Action. “The evidence is clear: Voters, even those in red states, have serious concerns about Donald Trump’s presidency—and in fact, the one clear mandate Americans agree on is that Democrats stand up to Trump and act as a check and balance on him. When it comes to some of our nation’s most critical policy debates, a vast majority of voters side with Democrats.”

“In the 2018 Senate battleground states, many voters—including Trump’s own supporters—are ambivalent and uncertain about him and his presidency—and in turn, they are looking to Senate Democrats to oppose or block his most harmful policies,” said Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates. “Battleground state voters are particularly opposed to Trump and Congressional Republicans’ stated plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a plan to replace it, privatize Medicare, cut funding for Medicaid, and defund Planned Parenthood.”

Key findings from the survey include:

  • Voters across the battleground states want Senate Democrats to serve as a check and balance on Donald Trump, even if this means opposing and trying to block his policies on many occasions. By 61 percent to 25 percent, voters in the battleground states want Senate Democrats to be an independent check and balance on Donald Trump, even if this means opposing Trump’s policies on many occasions. Fifty-six percent of these voters want Senate Democrats to try to block Trump’s policies on many occasions. Across all 14 states in the survey, 59 percent of voters want their Democratic senator to be an independent check and balance on Donald Trump, compared with just 28 percent who want their senator to mainly support Donald Trump’s policies.
  • The desire for Democrats to be a check and balance on Donald Trump reflects the fact that many of Trump’s own voters are ambivalent and uncertain about him. While 61 percent of those who voted for Donald Trump say they supported him strongly, a substantial minority—37 percent—say they supported him with mixed feelings. Among all voters in the 14 states, only 39 percent say they have confidence that Donald Trump will do a good job as president. Nearly as many—37 percent—say they doubt that Trump will do a good job, while another 23 percent say they feel somewhere in between. One-quarter of those who voted for Trump on Election Day are not confident that he will be a good president.
  • Battleground state voters put a very high priority on cleaning up corruption and financial conflicts of interest in government, and most voters in these states believe that Donald Trump is not doing enough to avoid conflicts of interests between his business holdings and his role as president. Voters in the Senate battleground states put an exceptionally high premium on “cleaning up corruption and financial conflicts of interest in the government,” rating it only slightly behind “protecting Medicare for senior citizens,” the number one priority. However, only 34 percent of voters say that Donald Trump is doing enough to avoid conflicts of interests between his business holdings and his role as president, while 52 percent say he should be doing more to avoid conflicts of interests. A 54 percent majority of all voters want Congress to take action to prevent Donald Trump from receiving payments from foreign governments while serving as president.
  • Two-thirds of voters in the Senate battleground states believe that Russia under President Vladimir Putin poses a serious danger to the United States, and a majority of voters think it is important for Congress to conduct an independent investigation into Russia’s efforts to interfere with the U.S. elections.
  • The upcoming hearings on Donald Trump’s nominees for his Cabinet will provide a forum to address concerns that Trump is appointing people to his administration that are too conservative and too pro-business in their policies. A majority of voters say that Trump’s appointments give them significant concerns, including 41 percent of voters who express a lot of concern and 15 percent who express some concern.
  • The positions of Donald Trump and his appointees on health care issues are deeply at odds with the priorities of battleground state voters and constitute the largest source of vulnerability for Trump and his Republican allies in Congress. This is the case especially on the question of Medicare privatization but also applies to cuts in Medicaid spending, the decision to repeal the Affordable Care Act before presenting a replacement plan, and the effort to cut off funding for the healthcare services provided by Planned Parenthood. The most fervent opposition to Trump’s or congressional Republicans’ policy priorities occurs on health care-related issues.
  • In addition to health care issues, President-elect Trump and his Republican allies are out of step with battleground state voters on a number of other key policies, including on policies at the the heart of the Trump and Republican economic agenda. Policies that are at odds with Trump’s populist campaign rhetoric are unpopular among the working-class white voters who were the key base of Trump’s support in the election. Blocking any increase in the federal minimum wage, slashing tax rates for millionaires and corporations, and repealing the Wall Street reforms contained in the Dodd-Frank Act all polled poorly with 2018 battleground state voters.

Click here to read the full polling memo from Hart Research Associates.

For more information or to speak with an expert, contact Beatriz Lopez at blopez.af@americanprogressaction.org or 202.413.2375.