Republicans blame bill, not Trump, for health care defeat

By Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus, Kabir Khanna and Anthony Salvanto

President Donald Trump’s overall job approval is at 40 percent, underpinned by continuing strong support from Republicans who don’t appear to blame him for the failed health care bill, a new CBS News Poll shows. 

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The president’s approval rating is about where it has been since he took office in January. It was at 39 percent in late February and 40 percent in early February.

Republicans surveyed by CBS News pointed to an unpopular bill -- or the Democrats -- as the reason the Republican health care effort to repeal and replace Obamacare failed in Congress, not the president’s approach to meeting one his hallmark campaign promises.

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In all, 49 percent of those surveyed said the Republican bill failed because it “just wasn’t popular,” while 41 percent of Republicans gave that response. Thirty-percent of Republicans said it didn’t pass because “Democrats didn’t compromise,” but only 14 percent of the entire group gave that response.

Russian meddling

Sharp partisan divides mark views on Russia and its interference in the 2016 U.S. election. Half of Americans suspect Russia tried to interfere in some way, including a large majority of Democrats and nearly half of independents. Most Republicans disagree, however.

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U.S. intelligence agencies have determined -- and President Trump himself has acknowledged -- that there was Russian interference in the U.S. democratic process, but Congress is still investigating allegations that Mr. Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia to gain an advantage in the election process.

While 40 percent of respondents said they believed Russia had interfered in the election process with the intention of helping Mr. Trump win, only 13 percent of Republicans agreed with that assessment. Among Democrats, 67 percent said the Russian meddling was aimed at helping Mr. Trump.  

Most Democrats and independents feel it is at least somewhat likely that Trump associates had improper contact with the Russian government. Three-quarters of Republicans, however, say they don’t see that as likely.

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Almost two-thirds of the Americans surveyed by CBS News say the FBI should investigate the claimed links between the Trump campaign and Russia. Most Democrats and Independents say so, and just over one-third of Republicans do as well.

Wiretapping

Most Republicans say they think it’s likely that Mr. Trump’s offices were wiretapped during the campaign. Half of independents do. Most Democrats don’t think so.

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The White House has yet to provide any evidence to back President Trump’s claim that President Obama tapped his phone during the campaign. After Mr. Trump first leveled the accusation on Twitter, the story from the White House changed, with Mr. Trump’s spokesman saying the alleged eavesdropping may not have involved a telephone.

President Obama has denied that he ever ordered, or had the power to order, such surveillance.

Speaker Ryan

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan gets majority approval from Republicans, but as with the President, only his own party seems to approve. His approval ratings – 33 percent overall but 60 percent among Republicans in the CBS News Poll -- are not as high as President Trump’s.

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Ryan’s job performance is better known to the public since the last time this poll asked about it in January 2016, when he was newer to the office. Then, 41 percent of Americans could not rate his performance, 30 percent approved and 29 percent disapproved.


This poll was conducted by telephone, March 25-28, 2017 among a random sample of 1,088 adults nationwide. Data collection was conducted on behalf of CBS News by SSRS of Media, PA.  Phone numbers were dialed from samples of both standard land-line and cell phones.

The poll employed a random digit dial methodology. For the landline sample, a respondent was randomly selected from all adults in the household. For the cell sample, interviews were conducted with the person who answered the phone.

Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish using live interviewers. The data have been weighted to reflect U.S. Census figures on demographic variables.

The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus four percentage points. The error for subgroups may be higher and is available by request. The margin of error includes the effects of standard weighting procedures which enlarge sampling error slightly.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.  

CBS News poll toplines