Fox News Poll: Voters give President Trump mixed reviews after 4 years

Barring a huge legal surprise that keeps President Trump in the White House, he leaves with positive ratings for his handling of the economy, but mixed reviews from voters on other issues — and for his performance overall.

In addition, a Fox News survey released Friday finds views on the economy are both similar, but changed compared to four years ago. One-third (33 percent) of voters rate economic conditions positively (excellent/good) and two-thirds negatively (66 percent only fair/poor). That is practically identical to the ratings in December 2016. 

However, there are changes at the extremes. Almost four times as many say the economy is in excellent shape now (11 percent) as did in December 2016 (3 percent). Likewise, more describe conditions as “poor” today (34 percent vs. 23 percent in 2016). 

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A record 20 percent of voters rated the economy as excellent in January 2020, the highest portion feeling that way in data going back to 1998. That number dropped to 12 percent in late March and went as low as 6 percent in May. President Trump declared a national emergency to deal with the coronavirus crisis on March 13, 2020. 

The survey also asks, “Are you better off than you were four years ago?” Ronald Reagan asked voters that question in a pivotal 1980 debate with then-President Jimmy Carter. 

Today, one-third answer yes, their family is better off now than four years ago (33 percent). Almost as many say they are worse off (30 percent). Another 36 percent say their situation is unchanged.

When it comes to whether the country is better off now than it was four years ago, 32 percent think it is, while a majority of 55 percent says it is worse off. Eleven percent say it’s the same.

Four in 10 voters (40 percent) expect the economy will be in better condition a year from now, while nearly as many think it will get worse (35 percent). 

Among partisans, 51 percent of Democrats expect the economy will get better next year. That’s nearly double the number who felt that way the last time question was asked in April (27 percent). It’s the reverse among Republicans: In April, 66 percent said things would get better next year, and fewer than half that say the same now (31 percent). In addition, twice as many Republicans (47 percent) as Democrats (23 percent) say they are better off now than in 2016. 

Currently, the president gets mixed ratings for his overall job performance: 47 percent approve, while 52 percent disapprove. That is close to his best marks, which were 49-49 percent in April 2020. Approval of Trump’s performance has never hit 50 percent, and the number who disapprove has been below 50 percent just three times. 

His best job ratings have consistently been on the economy. Currently, 52 percent of voters approve and 45 percent disapprove. That’s fairly typical, as his ratings on the economy have been in negative territory only twice over the last four years. 

Fewer than half approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy (45 percent approve, 50 percent disapprove), coronavirus (44-55), immigration (43-53), and health care (41-53). His approvals on foreign policy, immigration, and health care are near the high point of his presidency. 

Forty-five percent of voters have a favorable view of Trump as a person, while 54 percent view him unfavorably.  His best was in April 2020, when it was 47 favorable-50 unfavorable. 

Views split on Vice President Mike Pence: 49 percent favorable vs. 48 percent unfavorable. 

About 9 in 10 Republicans have a favorable view of Trump (86 percent) and Pence (85 percent). 

Pollpourri

In the four years since he took office, expectations about Trump’s political legacy have changed. When asked how history will remember Trump, 22 percent of voters think he’ll be considered one of the country’s greatest presidents, while about twice as many, 42 percent, say one of the worst. Another 16 percent think his presidency will rate as above average, 10 percent say average, and 8 percent below average. 

At the beginning of his term, 11 percent predicted Trump’s presidency would be one of the greatest and 31 percent said one of the worst. 

“Only 32 percent think we’re better off than before Trump took office,” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the survey with Democrat Chris Anderson. “That’s one reason why  half of voters say history will judge his presidency negatively.”

Among Republicans, in 2016 some 24 percent expected Trump would be one of the country’s greatest presidents. Today, that number is up dramatically to 44 percent thinking history will judge him that way. 

Most Democrats, 69 percent, say history will remember Trump as one of the worst presidents, up from 58 percent in 2016.

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Conducted December 6-9, 2020 under the joint direction of Beacon Research (D) and Shaw & Company (R), this Fox News Poll includes interviews with 1,007 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide who spoke with live interviewers on both landlines and cellphones. The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for all registered voters. 

Fox News’ Victoria Balara contributed to this report.