Expand chart
Data: Survey Monkey online poll conducted Oct. 17-23, 2018 among 3,919 U.S. adults. Total margin of error is ±2.5 percentage points. Modeled error estimates: African-American women ±7.5, age 18 to 34 ±5.0, suburban white women ±5.0, “Never Hillary” Independent voters ±8.0, Rural voters ±4.5; Poll methodology; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Most Americans think President Trump hasn't been tough enough with Saudi Arabia in response to the killing of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi agents, with just one third saying his response has been "about right" and only 5% thinking he has been too tough, according to a new Axios/SurveyMonkey poll.

Why it matters: Trump's approval rating on foreign policy has actually jumped, from 41% in August to 45% now, just shy of his 46% overall approval rating. But when it comes to the Khashoggi case, 37% of Republicans believe he has been too soft on the Saudis, along with 55% of independents and 78% of Democrats.

  • That's also the view of majorities of all five voter subgroups Axios is tracking ahead of the midterm elections — including rural voters and "Never Hillary" independents, who have been more supportive of Trump on other issues.

Trump's repeated statements that Saudi Arabia is a "strong ally" of the U.S. are also out of step with public opinion. Asked whether Saudi Arabia is an "ally" of the U.S., "friendly but not an ally," "unfriendly" or an "enemy," more Americans chose "unfriendly" (the top choice) or "enemy" than the first two options.

How it breaks down...

  • Ally: 10% overall, 14% of Republicans, 7% of Democrats
  • Friendly: 35% overall, 44% of Republicans, 29% of Democrats
  • Unfriendly: 37% overall, 31% of Republicans, 45% of Democrats
  • Enemy: 12% overall, 9% of Republicans, 15% of Democrats

There's also a partisan divide on Trump's response to Khashoggi's killing. Most Republicans (56%) think he's getting it "about right," compared to 11% of Democrats. Most Democrats (78%) think he has been too soft, along with 37% of Republicans.

The bottom line: The Khashoggi case has been a top news story for three weeks now leading up to the midterms, and Americans generally disapprove of how Trump is handling it. Still, they have bigger concerns. Just 4% consider foreign policy their top issue.

Methodology: This analysis is based on SurveyMonkey online surveys conducted Oct. 17-23 among 3,919 adults in the United States. The modeled error estimate  for the full sample is plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Sample sizes and modeled error estimates for the subgroups are as follows:

African-American Women (n=215 +/- 7.5%), Millennials Age 18 - 34  (n=642 +/- 5% ), White Suburban Women  (n=720 +/- 5% ), NeverHillary/Independent voters  (n=254 +/- 8% ), Rural  (n=963 +/- 4.5% ). Respondents for this survey were selected from the more than 2 million people who take surveys on the SurveyMonkey platform each day. More information about our methodology here. Crosstabs available here.

Go deeper

Updated 23 mins ago - World

At least 50 killed, 3,000 injured after massive explosion rocks Beirut

Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images

A major explosion has slammed central Beirut, Lebanon, damaging buildings as far as several miles away and injuring scores of people.

Driving the news: The cause of the explosion is unknown. Lebanon's health minister said in televised remarks that more than 50 people have been killed and over 3,000 injured.

59 mins ago - Podcasts

The debate over COVID-19 liability protections

Stimulus talks continue to move slowly, with Democrats and Republicans unable to agree on whether or not to include coronavirus-related liability protections for businesses, health facilities and schools.

Axios Re:Cap digs into the debate, which could reset the cost-benefit analysis for businesses thinking about reopening and employees thinking about returning.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 18,364,694 — Total deaths: 695,848 — Total recoveries — 10,965,634Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 4,742,277 — Total deaths: 156,133 — Total recoveries: 1,513,446 — Total tests: 57,543,852Map.
  3. States: New York City health commissioner resigns in protest of De Blasio's coronavirus response — New York ER doctor on pandemic advice: "We know what works"
  4. Public health: 59% of Americans support nationwide 2-week stay-at-home order in NPR poll Atrium Health CEO says "virtual hospital" has treated 13,000 COVID patients.
  5. Politics: Republicans push to expand small business loan program Trump tells "Axios on HBO" that pandemic is "under control," despite surges in infections.
  6. Sports: Indy 500 to be held without fansRafael Nadal opts out of U.S. Open.