SAINT LEO, FL – A new national survey from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (http://polls.saintleo.edu) shows the political mood of the country is still divided and ambivalent following the election of Donald J. Trump as president. In a nonpartisan survey conducted with 1,001 adults nationally from November 27 through November 30, 2016, less than half reported some level of satisfaction with the outcome.
“Even though the Trump campaign has claimed this election as a landslide and a mandate, the public is clearly not buying it,” said Frank Orlando, director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, and political scientist at the university. The survey specifically asked its online respondents:
Please think about the final outcome of the presidential election. Regardless of your voting preference, please indicate how satisfied you are with the final outcome – the election of Donald Trump as our 45th president. Would you say you are…
|Combined percent of satisfied responses
|Not at all satisfied
|Combined percent of dissatisfied responses
The respondents included roughly even percentage levels of Republicans (27.6 percent) and Democrats (26.6 percent), and 39.2 percent who consider themselves independent.
In response to another question, more than half the respondents, 54.3 percent, strongly or somewhat agreed that the election itself was “generally fair and honest”—something Trump had publicly questioned during the campaign, before he won. Those strongly or somewhat disagreeing that the election was fair and honest amounted to 36.6 percent.
“It’s interesting to see the change in opinions about the fairness of the electoral process before and after the election,” Orlando said. “Before the election, Republicans were much more likely to fret about voter fraud, while Democrats largely dismissed these concerns. After the election, this relationship was flipped.”
What Mattered in Voting
Survey respondents were also asked to read a list of events that might have played a role in the election outcome, and then selected the factors (with multiple choices permitted), they considered most important in the results. Respondents were advised to answer focusing just on the factors, regardless of which candidate they preferred. The most frequently occurring response was that voters wanted change, identified by 64.7 percent. More than half, at 57.5 percent, considered Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton corrupt.
Additionally, 34.5 percent said that FBI Director James Comey’s letter shortly before Election Day alerting Congress of inquiry into emails possibly related to Clinton played a significant role. A separate question in the survey that asked only about the significance of the Comey letter showed that 55.3 percent of the respondents believed the Comey letter had a very significant or somewhat significant impact.
Another factor on the list of possible influences, and that was cited by more than one-third of those answering (34.3 percent), was the increase felt by some in the price of insurance through the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare). That result resonated with another part of the survey in which respondents were asked to choose from a list the single most important issue facing the nation. Jobs and the economy, following a consistent pattern with the poll, was the most frequent response, cited by 29.7 percent. Health care followed at 14.6 percent.
Still, more than half of respondents, 54.8 percent, gave departing President Barack Obama a positive job approval rating. “Despite this being an election during which almost two-thirds of voters wanted change, over half of the public approved of the job President Obama did,” Orlando said. “A large failure of the Clinton campaign was in getting voters who approved of President Obama to the polls and voting for Hillary Clinton.”
Predictably, 89.1 percent of Democrats gave the president a positive approval rating; 59.2 percent of independents did as well. Of Republican respondents, 13.4 gave Obama a positive rating.
Opinions on Protests
The survey also noted the occurrence of protests following Trump’s election, and asked respondents which of two reactions came closest to their views. Far more were disapproving of the protests than were tolerant of them. The question was asked this way with the following results:
Protests that are permitted under the United States Constitution have occurred in several cities and on campuses since the election of Donald Trump as our next president. Which of the following best reflects your views on these protests?
|The protests are reasonable and warranted
|The protests are unreasonable and have gone too far
|Unsure/unaware of the protests
Some sub-populations were more likely to say the protests were unreasonable. They answered in proportions higher even than the 57.1 percent. These survey respondents included Republicans, at 90.6 percent, and/ or political conservatives at 82.6 percent. Disapproving respondents also included 66.4 percent with a high school education only; 63.9 percent of white people; 63.1 percent of those ages 56 or higher; and 63 percent of Protestants answering.
“These numbers show that there are a decent number of citizens who don’t like Trump, but also don’t approve of the protests. If protests grow and intensify throughout the Trump presidency,” Orlando commented, “it could lead to a backlash against the causes of the protests which President Trump could take advantage of.”
The people most likely to say the protests were reasonable and warranted (in percentages greater than 35 percent) were politically liberal at 71.7 percent, and/or Democrats at 60.5 percent. Among African-American respondents, 52.3 percent said protests were reasonable. The protests were also deemed reasonable by 46.4 percent of people with no religious preference or affiliation, and by 43.8 percent of those between ages 18 and 35.
Media contacts: Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications email@example.com or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text). Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications firstname.lastname@example.org or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text).
More About Our Research
METHODOLOGY: All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The national poll of 1,001 adults was conducted from November 27 through November 30, 2016 and has a plus or minus 3.0 percent margin of error. A sample of 501 adults in Florida were also surveyed from November 27 through November 30, 2016. The findings from the Florida survey have a plus or minus 4.5 percent margin of error.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantage of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive—usually $1 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.
The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can be found here: http://polls.saintleo.edu. You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.
About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University (www.saintleo.edu) is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever our students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. We welcome people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourage learners of all generations. We are committed to providing educational opportunities to our nation’s armed forces, our veterans, and their families. We are regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and we guide all our students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.
We remain the faithful stewards of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where our founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 15,000 students, we have expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintain a physical presence in seven states. We provide highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 82,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.