Polled before the 35-day shutdown came to a temporary end on Friday, 28% of survey respondents told pollsters that the United States is headed in the “right direction.” In total, almost 70% of the sample have negative opinions regarding the state of the country today.
“Times are grim,” Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who conducted the survey, told NBC News. “The shutdown is front and center.”
During a government shutdown, Americans usually blame Congress. This time, however, they placed the blame on President Donald Trump. Fifty percent of respondents say Trump is most to blame, while 37% blame Democrats. Those numbers are of course split along partisan lines, but the blame directed toward Trump is more overwhelming; 90% of Democrats and 45% of independents blamed Trump, compared to 76% of Republicans pointing the finger toward Democrats in Congress.
While Americans are pessimistic about the direction of the country and blame Trump for the shutdown, the government closure didn’t greatly change views of Trump himself. His approval rating is unchanged from December at 43%, although this poll shows his job rating dipped slightly during the peak of the shutdown.
Pollsters also asked about Trump’s immigration policy, since funding for a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border was the key factor holding up the government. Thirty-nine percent of respondents approved of Trump’s handling of immigration and border security.