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Many Americans Are Giving Trump The Benefit Of The Doubt On Manufacturing Jobs

Forty-four percent of Americans believe either that President Donald Trump has brought manufacturing jobs back to the country or that he’s likely to do so, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll taken after a spate of General Motors layoffs. That’s roughly similar to the 49 percent who said this last April and nearly identical to the 45 percent who said the same in November of last year.

The optimistic group is divided roughly in half on what the president has accomplished so far: about 22 percent of Americans say that Trump has already succeeded in bringing manufacturing jobs back and about 23 percent say that he’s likely to do so in the future. Some 36 percent of Americans think the president is unlikely to fulfill that promise.

Those people who believe Trump has already kept his promise to bring back blue-collar jobs are among his staunchest backers: 71 percent strongly approve of his job performance. The ones still waiting for Trump to revitalize the manufacturing industry are also supporters, but less enthusiastic ones: About 80 percent approve of his job performance, but just 39 percent say they approve strongly. The people who think it’s unlikely the jobs will return under Trump’s watch are, overwhelmingly, critics of his presidency as a whole.

On the campaign trail in 2016 and in rallies since taking office, Trump has pledged to restore those jobs.

“Let me tell you folks in Ohio and in this area, don’t sell your house,” the president told supporters in Youngstown in July 2017. “We’re going to get those jobs coming back, and we’re going to fill up those factories or rip them down and build brand-new ones. It’s going to happen.” This week, GM announced that its plant in Lordstown, Ohio, was among the locations the company plans to shutter as it cuts up to 14,000 jobs in North America.

Seventy-two percent of Americans consider those GM job cuts to be at least a somewhat serious problem for the U.S., although only 31 percent call it “very serious.” Americans say by an 11-point margin that the cuts weren’t inevitable ― 39 percent say the job losses could have been prevented by better government policies and 28 percent say they couldn’t, with the rest unsure. But they’re split on how much responsibility, if any, Trump bears for the layoffs. While 38 percent say he shares at least some responsibility, 40 percent believe he deserves little or none of the blame.

Trump has long earned his best ratings for his handling of the economy, the strength of which has quite possibly kept his overall job rating from sinking lower than it stands.

He is not, however, broadly seen as a champion of the average American. Half the public says that Trump’s economic policies favor the rich, compared to just 9 percent who believe he favors the middle class or the poor, and a quarter who think he treats all the groups equally. And while 36 percent believe the president is working for the interests of people like them when he makes decisions, half say he’s either working against them or not considering them at all.

But so far at least, the president’s ratings on those metrics have remained remarkably stable. In six HuffPost/YouGov polls taken starting in April 2017, the percentage of Americans who think Trump has their interests in mind has stayed between 31 and 38 percent. And after a pre-inauguration poll in which 44 percent thought Trump would favor the wealthy, five subsequent surveys dating back to August 2017 have all found that number hovering around or just over the 50 percent mark.

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted Nov. 26-28 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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