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New Pew poll: the public prefers congressional Democrats to Trump on most issues

But not the economy.

Nancy Pelosi Mark Wilson/Getty Images

A new poll from the Pew Research Center shows that the public prefers congressional Democrats to President Trump on the majority of policy issues — with a couple of important exceptions related to the economy.

That Democrats are preferred is not exactly a huge surprise — Trump is unpopular with a 42 percent approval rating, and Democrats did just win the House of Representatives with a large majority of the vote — but the details of where Trump is strongest and weakest are somewhat interesting. Democrats, in particular, appear to have a huge advantage on the environment which is an issue they’ve generally been reluctant to emphasize, along with large edges on their preferred issues of health care and ethics.

Trump’s effort to make the midterms all about immigration, meanwhile, may have fallen short as an electoral strategy because his approach to immigration is not particularly popular. He successfully operated as the assignment editor for the New York Times and Washington Post, generating extensive A1 coverage of “the caravan” that mysteriously stopped dominating the media once the voting was over, but Democrats are preferred on immigration with a large number of undecided voters.

Trump’s actual strong suit is the economy, for which he is now receiving credit from the public, and that has given him some subsidiary strength on the related issues of taxes and trade.

During the final weeks of the campaign, Trump would sometimes pretend that he supported a 10 percent middle-class tax cut. Had Republicans held the House, they would in fact have pushed their Tax Reform 2.0 bill — a regressive giveaway to the rich — but since they lost, Trump, at least in theory, could turn around and actually support the policy he pretended to support.