President Donald Trump’s popularity is on the decline in Minnesota, according to a new Star Tribune/MPR News Minnesota Poll that shows a majority of likely voters disapprove of his job performance.
Statewide, 56 percent disapprove of Trump, while 39 percent approve. The Republican president remains popular with his base, with 95 percent of Republicans in support, along with 86 percent of those who voted for him in 2016.
Trump also won higher marks for his handling of the economy and jobs, with 48 percent approval vs. 45 percent who disapproved. Still, his overall negative rating his risen noticeably since the last Minnesota Poll in January, where he had a 45 percent approval rating across the state.
The decline tracks with national polling: A Quinnipiac University poll taken Sept. 6-9 found Trump’s nationwide approval rating at 38 percent — three points lower than another Quinnipiac poll taken a month earlier.
The Minnesota Poll was conducted with 800 likely voters on both landlines and cellphones. The poll’s margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
Trump draws the highest ratings in northern Minnesota, where 55 percent approve of his economic performance and 46 percent approve in general, and in the Twin Cities metro suburbs excluding Hennepin and Ramsey counties, where 53 percent approve of his handling of the economy and 42 percent approve of his overall performance.
But in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, just 38 back Trump’s handling of the economy, and 54 percent disapprove. Sixty-four percent of poll respondents in those counties disapprove of the president’s general job performance.
“I disapprove with a lot of how he handles himself and his rhetoric, and saying a lot of things without thinking,” said Christine Hubel, 36, a stay-at-home mom of three who lives in Burnsville and participated in the poll.
Hubel said several friends credit Trump with an uptick in the economy that has improved their small businesses, and her own household finances have slightly improved in the past two years as raises have become more available at her husband’s workplace.
“It does seem that there is some growth in the economy, so that’s a positive thing, but that doesn’t mean that everything he’s doing is being done right or done well,” said Hubel, who voted for Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson in the 2016 presidential election.
A majority in the poll said their household financial situation is about the same as it was two years ago, with 27 percent saying they are financially better off than they were when Trump took office. Just 16 percent said their finances have changed for the worse in that time.
People’s political leanings appeared to sway how they responded, with 53 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of Democrats saying they were better off.
Fifty-nine percent said that Trump does not generally speak the truth. But that varied widely by party: 91 percent of Democrats said the president does not speak the truth compared with 15 percent of Republicans.
Douglas Anderson, an enthusiastic Trump supporter, is among the 34 percent in the poll who said the president tells the truth.
“Most of the time,” said Anderson, an 80-year-old Austin retiree. “He might fib a little bit, but everybody does.”
Another Trump supporter who was polled, Loretta Walker, said, “I think he’s more honest than not, but he does lie. Sometimes it gets under my skin.”
Walker said she’s more bothered by Trump’s tweeting, though, and wishes he would use social media less.
“He’s not a normal politician, that’s for sure,” said Walker, 55, of Marshall.
Overall, she’s happy with Trump: “The economy is doing well. He’s doing very well.” Walker is pleased with the stock market, U.S. jobless rate, and the tax overhaul. She was worried early on about Trump’s trade tariffs but is now waiting to see what happens.
“He just acts like a schoolyard bully. ... He was a jerk when he was running and he’s a worse one now,” said John Johnson, a 79-year-old retired engineer from Plymouth who was polled.
Johnson said he believes Trump has hurt the country’s reputation abroad, that he cozies up to dictators, and lies all the time. He and his friends laugh at Trump; when he goes to his bridge club, few people have anything good to say.
“I guess the economy is going good, but that was because Obama turned it around,” Johnson said. “Trump hasn’t done anything positive for the economy — he just cut the rich boys’ taxes while raising mine.”