Amid a seemingly endless stream of stories set in small-town restaurants wherein President Trump’s hard-core supporters explain they don’t care about his collusion with Russia, a major new poll underlines a hard truth: He is still really unpopular.
An ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that Trump enjoys a 36 percent approval rating, “the lowest six-month approval rating of any president in polls dating back 70 years, punctuated by questions about his competence on the world stage, his effectiveness, the GOP healthcare plan and Russia’s role in the 2016 election.” The topline number is down from 42 percent approval in April, the last time the poll was conducted.
Over the last 70 years, the only president to be this disliked so early in his tenure was Gerald Ford, in the immediate aftermath of Watergate. Forty-eight percent of respondents “strongly disapprove” of Trump, depths never reached by Bill Clinton or Barack Obama, and only managed by George W. Bush during the post-Katrina chapter of his second term. Trump is already four points less popular than Obama was at the nadir of his ratings, which came six years into his presidency.
Dig deeper into the numbers and things don’t look much better for the president. A sampling: Two-thirds of those polled said they don’t trust him to negotiate with world leaders. Forty-eight percent say America is weaker than it had been before Trump took office, with only 27 percent saying it’s stronger. And ahead of a possible Senate vote to repeal Obamacare, a move championed by the president, Americans prefer the Affordable Care Act to Republicans’ shambolic replacement plan by a 50-24 margin. Even more dramatically, “the public by a broad 63-27 percent says it’s more important to provide health care coverage for low-income Americans than to cut taxes.”
But the people who matter most to Trump are sticking with him, with 82 percent of GOP voters approving of his performance. (Among independents, it’s a dismal 32 percent.) He still does well among white Evangelical Protestants (61 percent approval) and white men without a college degree (55 percent). Trump’s handling of the economy also isn’t a disaster: Forty-three percent approve of it compared to 41 percent who disapprove and 16 percent who are unsure. And the partisan split on the Russia issue has grown even more extreme, with a mere nine percent of Republicans now believing that the Trump campaign helped Vladimir Putin influence the 2016 election. Overall, only 60 percent of Americans believe Russia tried to meddle at all, illustrating the power of partisan news media to deflect the findings of several U.S. intelligence agencies.
Still, given that Trump has yet to negotiate a serious foreign crisis, natural disaster, or economic emergency, it’s hard to spin much of this poll as good news — not that the president could possibly resist trying:
Shockingly, Trump’s claim is not, technically speaking, accurate at all: