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Republicans, Democrats Agree Trump's In Charge

Love him or hate him, voters agree President Trump is charting the course for the country, and no one else is even close.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 42% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the Republican president sets the agenda in Washington, DC these days. The GOP-led Congress is in distant second, with 19% who think it's calling the shots. Thirteen percent (13%) say the national media is in charge. Only eight percent (8%) feel the Democratic opposition is setting the agenda. Nearly as many (7%) think it’s someone else, and 12% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)  

On nearly every political question Rasmussen Reports asks in the Trump era, there is a wide partisan difference of opinion, but 45% of both Republicans and Democrats agree that the president is setting the national agenda. However, only 35% of voters not affiliated with either major party share that view, but these voters are also the most likely to think it's someone else or be undecided.

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Democrats think Congress is more influential than Republicans and unaffiliated voters do. GOP voters and unaffiliateds rate Congress and the national media nearly equal when it comes to determining the national agenda. Even among Democrats, only 11% think their representatives are setting the course.

Trump is starting his second year in the White House with job approval ratings comparable to those earned by Barack Obama at this stage of his presidency.  

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 27-28, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology

Nearly half of Democrats think there’s a good chance the president won’t make it to the end of his first term in office, but two-out-of-three Republicans see four more years in Trump’s future.

The older the voter, the more likely he or she is to believe Trump is setting the agenda in Washington. Younger voters give Congress more credit for leading the way than their elders do. 

Women (38%) are less likely than men (46%) to believe Trump sets the agenda, but 17% of women aren’t sure who the agenda setter is.

Whites and blacks are in general agreement that the president is calling the shots, but black and other minority voters are more confident than whites are that the Democratic opposition is paving the way.

Fifty-three percent (53%) of voters who Strongly Approve of the job Trump is doing believe he is setting the national agenda. Even among those who Strongly Disapprove of the president's job performance, 42% say he's in charge.

Forty percent (40%) of all voters now say the country is headed in the right direction. These weekly findings generally ran in the mid- to upper 20s during the final year of Obama’s presidency. 

Voters are evenly divided, though, over whether Trump or Obama is responsible for the current economic boom, with Democrats insisting it's due to the former president. 

Voters agree that recent presidents haven’t put America’s interests first and share Trump’s belief in the importance of a strong economy. Most voters supported the president's successful push for major tax reform, although Democrats worry that Trump and Congress will cut taxes too much. 

Voters last year recognized Trump as a man with a mission, with 48% believing the president has a plan for where he wants to take the nation. Thirty-nine percent (39%) disagreed, and 14% weren’t sure. 

Most GOP voters still say they want their party to follow Trump, not Senate Republicans.

Prior to the 2016 election, 62% of all voters believed the national media were setting the agenda for the presidential race. 

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 27-28, 2017 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

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