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Public Sees Better Year Ahead; Democrats Sharpen Focus on Midterm Elections

Pew – Control of Congress a bigger voting factor than in recent midterms – “A majority of Americans say 2018 will be a better year than 2017, a shift from a year ago when public expectations were far less positive. The change has been driven almost entirely by Democrats, who are more likely than Republicans to cite this fall’s midterm elections as a reason for optimism. And significantly more Democrats than Republicans say they are “looking forward” to the elections. Donald Trump begins the year with a job approval rating of 37%, which is little different from his rating shortly after his inauguration last year (39%). Large majorities continue to view Trump negatively on such traits as being trustworthy, well-informed, empathetic and even-tempered. As was the case last year, one of Trump’s stronger traits is his ability to get things done; 50% say he is able to do this. But on what had been his most positive characteristic a year ago – keeping his promises – Trump is now viewed more critically. Just 39% say Trump keeps his promises, down from 60% last February. The decline has come among members of both parties, though Republicans continue to be much more likely than Democrats to say Trump keeps his promises. The new national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted Jan. 10-15 among 1,503 adults, finds that 61% of the public thinks this year will be better than last year; a year ago, 49% said 2017 would be better than 2016. Optimism among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents remains very high (88% expect this year will be better than last) and has increased substantially among Democrats and Democratic leaners (from just 24% last year to 42% today).”

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