North Korea – Biggest Threat, Support for DACA, Canada as Good Neighbor, Views on Catalonia Independence, Men better suited for politics, and 2020 Pres. Race

A new Emerson College national poll finds President Donald Trump with a 44% job approval rating with registered voters and a 50% disapproval rating. The President has seen a 7 point drop from Emerson’s last National poll in February when 48% approve/47% disapproved of the President’s job performance. Similarly, 40% said the country was headed in the right direction while 50% said we were headed in the wrong direction. The poll was conducted October 12-14, 2017, among registered voters, with a sample size of n = 820 and a margin of error of +/- 3.4%.

When asked about the popularity of some public figures, voters gave the President a 44% favorable/53% unfavorable opinion which is more popular than Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, who is viewed favorably by 33% of voters and unfavorably by 43%.

Voters are split on who is more truthful – Donald Trump or the news media. 51% of registered voters opted for news media versus 49% who side with Trump, a statistical dead heat.

Foreign Policy

North Korea was viewed as the biggest threat to the United States by a plurality of voters (44%); Russia came in second at 21%. China and Iran tied for third at 8% each.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is more disliked (2% favorable/92% unfavorable) than Russian President Vladimir Putin (11% favorable/73% unfavorable) among voters. German chancellor Angela Merkel; however, captured the most favorable ratio with American voters at 41% favorable/33% unfavorable.

Regarding our neighbors to the North and South, 64% of voters said Canada is a better partner for the United States with 13% choosing Mexico.

A plurality of Americans – 38% – have no opinion about Catalonia’s secession from Spain, 31%, say they support the move for independence, and 24% are opposed. Seven-percent (7%) said they had not heard about this issue.

Domestic Issues

The poll finds Americans divided on a host of other issues as well. Notably, Trump’s decision to rescind DACA protections for young, undocumented immigrants puts him at odds with those polled. Fifty-four percent (54%) of registered voters approve former President Obama’s executive order on DACA, 35% of voters support ending the program, of which 80% voted for Trump in the 2016 election.

In a process known as gerrymandering, Congressional district lines are drawn by elected officials to favor the political party in power in that state. A plurality of voters – 39% – believes they live in a gerrymandered Congressional district: 34% say they are unsure. Only 26% say that they think they do not live in a district that has been gerrymandered. The results come as a major gerrymandering case was recently argued before the Supreme Court of United States.

Presidential Politics 2020

There are currently about two dozen States’ working on a law requiring Presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns as a requirement to be on their state ballots. 51% of those polled support this requirement and 33% are opposed, 17% were unsure. Democrats view this as an important issue (70% support/16% oppose) as do Independents (56% support/28% oppose). Republicans oppose the legislation nearly 2:1 (26% support, 54% oppose).

Voters were asked if they agree or disagree with the following statement: Most men are better suited emotionally for politics than most women. Overall 14% agreed and 71% disagreed with the statement. Yet, among Trump 2016 voters, 23% agreed and 59% disagreed, while among Clinton 2016 voters, 6% agreed/ 83% disagreed – a relevant finding about voter preferences and attitudes on such issues.

In a series of hypothetical 2020 matchups, former Vice President Joe Biden appears to be the strongest candidate against Trump at this early stage, taking 51% of the vote to Trump’s 42%. Senator Elizabeth Warren, a prominent and vocal critic of the Trump administration, ties the President 44%/44% in a hypothetical match-up. The one potential candidate Trump tops in a hypothetical match-up is billionaire businessman and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who takes 36% to the President’s 43%, with 22% undecided.


The national Emerson College poll was conducted October 12th through October 14th, 2017, in both English and Spanish, under the Supervision of Professor Spencer Kimball. The sample consisted of registered voters, n=820, with a margin of error (MOE) of +/- 3.4 percentage points. The data was weighted by gender, age, region and 2016 election results. It is important to remember that subsets based on gender, age, party breakdown, ethnicity and region carry with them higher margins of error, as the sample size is reduced. Data was collected using an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system of landlines only.

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