As he gears up for a difficult midterm election, President Donald Trump has campaigned on a record of massive accomplishments: a nuke deal with North Korea, the death of Obamacare and a sweeping tax reform package that has benefited America’s middle class.
Much of it is Trumpian embellishment. And a new Ipsos poll conducted for The Daily Beast shows that the public, simply put, isn’t buying it.
In the poll, only 6 percent of respondents said they believe North Korea had “destroyed its stockpile of nuclear weapons in the last year;” 68 percent said the country had not; and 26 percent said they don’t know. Trump has claimed that North Korea is “no longer a nuclear threat” though international inspectors say it is still building its arsenal. Those who have not bought the president’s line include his fellow Republicans, 66 percent of whom said that North Korea had, in fact, not destroyed its stockpile.
The survey also asked whether the Affordable Care Act had “been fully repealed.” Just 6 percent of respondents believed—erroneously—that that was the case while 70 percent said that was false and 23 percent said they did not know. Among Democrats, 76 percent said that the law known as Obamacare had not been fully repealed and among Republicans, 75 percent said the same. President Trump has oscillated in his approach to the subject at campaign rallies. More often than not, he criticizes the deceased Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) whose last-minute “no” vote sunk the Senate’s repeal effort. But because the individual mandate was repealed as part of the Republican tax reform package, he often concludes that the ACA was “essentially dead.”
The Ipsos survey also asked voters whether the aftermath of Hurricane Maria was “handled well by the government.” Just 18 percent said that it was while 60 percent said it was not and 22 percent said they did not know. Trump has said his administration has done a “fantastic job” in Puerto Rico and cast doubt on the number of people killed in the storm. Only 39 percent of Republicans said his government did a good job in the storm’s aftermath.
Taken together, the results suggest that Trump’s reputation as the consummate salesman has not matched reality. The president has repeatedly said that no one in office has accomplished more in such a short time than he has. But even his own supporters believe that he’s engaged in resume inflation.
That’s true even when it comes to Trump’s concrete legislative accomplishments. According to the Ipsos poll, only 29 percent of those surveyed believe that “federal taxes on the middle class decreased” in 2018, while 44 percent said no and 27 percent said they did not know. Only 50 percent of Republicans responded that federal taxes went down for the middle class. The bill does reduce taxes on middle class earners but not nearly at the scope that it benefits upper income earners.
That latter point has been registered by voters. A total of 45 percent of those surveyed said federal taxes had gone down for the wealthy, while 28 percent said they had not and another 28 percent said they didn’t know. Of that total, 53 percent of Democrats agreed that the wealthy had gotten a tax cut; 40 percent of Republicans said the same; and 41 percent of Independents said yes as well.
These results mirror a recently leaked internal poll from the Republican National Committee finding that by a 2-to-1 margin, those surveyed believed that the tax cut legislation benefited corporations and rich Americans over middle class families. The signature legislative achievement of Trump’s administration has also, in recent elections, essentially disappeared as a issue of focus in Republican campaign advertising.
A sample of roughly 1,004 adults 18 and older were interviewed online in English for the poll. The sample includes 361 Republicans, 344 Democrats, and 197 Independents.