Trump’s Job Approval Dips To A New Low In Two New Polls
President Trump's job approval hits a new low.
Two new polls are showing the President’s job approval numbers hitting new lows after a period during which they at leaat appeared to be stabilizing and even move upward to some extent.
First up, CNN shows President Trump’s job approval dropping to match the lowest levels of his Presidency to date:
President Donald Trump’s approval rating in a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS stands at 35%, down five points over the last month to match his lowest level yet.
The slide follows a January bump in approval for the President, a finding that appeared connected to a bullish stock market and strong reviews for the economy.
His new rating matches a December poll, which marked his lowest approval rating in CNN polling since taking office in January 2017.
The President also earns his lowest rating yet among Republicans, though he is still viewed positively among his own partisans. Overall, 80% of self-identified Republicans say they approve of the President, one point below his previous low mark of 81%, hit in late September of last year. Just 13% of Republicans say they disapprove of the President’s performance. Approval for the President stands at just 5% among Democrats and 35% among independents.
The findings follow several weeks of sharply negative news about the President’s White House staff, including the revelation that several key staffers lacked permanent security clearance, the implementation of a new policy to handle interim security clearances, and news that multiple White House staffers had resigned following accusations of domestic abuse.
While the poll was in the field, much of the President’s public agenda focused on gun laws, an area where the poll finds Trump earns mostly negative reviews. Just a third of Americans approve of his handling of gun policy, 54% disapprove and another 12% say they have yet to make up their minds. Those who live in gun-owning households give him higher ratings than others: 52% in gun households approve of his work on gun policy; it’s 17% among all others.
Trump’s approval ratings continue to lag behind those of previous presidents measured at the same point in their time in office. His current rating stands 12 points behind the previous low mark of 47% set by both Ronald Reagan at this point in 1982 and by Jimmy Carter in early 1978. Barack Obama was the only other modern president to hold an approval rating below 50% at this point in his presidency (49% approved).
Beyond partisan divides, the President’s ratings continue to be marked by sharp divisions by gender, race and age. Among women, just 29% approve of the way Trump is performing, compared with 42% approval among men. Only about one in five Americans under age 35 approve of the President (22%), compared with 43% approval among those age 50 or older. And while 42% of whites approve of the way Trump is handling his job, just 23% of non-whites agree.
In another poll from USA Today and Suffolk University, Trump also hits a new low:
[President Trump’s] approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in the USA TODAY survey since he was inaugurated last year. Just 38% now approve of the job he’s doing as president; 60% disapprove.
That’s a steep drop from the president’s standing one year ago, in March 2017, soon after his first address to Congress had received good reviews. Then, 47% expressed approval, a high-water mark for him in the poll; 44% expressed disapproval.
What’s more, the intensity of feeling is hardening against the president. Now, the percentage who “strongly disapprove” of him is more than double the percentage who “strongly approve,” 39% compared with 16%.
When it comes to Trump’s approval ratings, there also are some significant demographic divides. Younger voters are the least likely to approve of the job he is doing as president. Just 31% of those under 35 years of age express approval, compared with 42% of those 50 and older.
The president’s standing is strongest among whites, although a majority still disapprove of him, 44% approve-55% disapprove. Only about one in five Hispanics and one in ten African-Americans approve of the job he’s doing.
The partisan divide was sharp, if unsurprising: 88% of Republicans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, 89% of Democrats disapprove.
These new polls come after several weeks early in 2018 in which things appeared to actually be going somewhat better for the Trump Administration, or at the very least weeks in which the Administration and the President managed to avoid making any egregious mistakes. That didn’t last for very long, though, and the upward movement in Trump’s approval number that some on the right had been pointing to appear to have been short-lived due largely to the revelations over the past several weeks. During that time, the White House has been rocked by the scandal connected with the revelations about former Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who left his position after it was revealed that he had a history of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse of two ex-wives. That scandal led to the discovery that Porter did not have a final security clearance, which led to the discovery that several dozen current top White House staffer, and perhaps as many as over 100 people who work at the White House, do not have their final security clearances. There have also been additional revelations regarding the ongoing Russia investigations, including the indictment of thirteen Russian nationals in connection with a campaign to interfere in the 2016 election as well as expanded indictments against former campaign manager Paul Manafort and a guilty plea from Manafort’s close aide Rick Gates. Finally, the past two weeks have been consumed by the school shooting in Florida and its aftermath, something for which the President has received largely negative reviews. Given all of this, it’s not surprising to see that Trump’s upward trend seems to be coming to an end.
Looking at the polling averages things still look a bit better for Trump due to the fact that they are still tending to reflect the upward numbers he was seeing earlier in the year. The RealClearPolitics average, for example, shows the President’s job approval at 41.5% while his disapproval stands at 54.5%. On the specific issue of the economy, Trump’s numbers are better with 50.0% approving of the President’s performance and 43.7% disapproving. This is likely due to the generally healthy economy and the fact that the jobs market is continuing to improve while wages have begun to rise in measurable ways. Things aren’t quite so positive when it comes to foreign policy, though. In that area, RealClearPolitics shows that 39.8% approve of the job the President is doing in this area while 53.0% disapprove. In the Pollster average, Trump’s job approval stands at 43.0% and his disapproval stands at 52.5%. As has been the case for the past year, Trump’s numbers are overwhelmingly bad among self-identified Democrats and overwhelmingly good among self-identified Republicans. Among Independents, meanwhile, Trump’s job approval stands at 39.4% and his disapproval stands at 50.9%. Finally, the FiveThirtyEight average, which is weighted to account for pollster ratings and accuracy, Trump’s job approval stands at 39.1% and his disapproval stands at 55.6%
As the RealClearPolitics chart shows, Trump’s job approval did tick up a bit at the start of the year, but it has not raised very far beyond the roughly 40% approval floor that we’ve seen for most of his first year in office:
As I said, Trump’s numbers improved earlier in the year from the lows they hit in November and December, but to some extent that was inevitable From the beginning of his Presidency, we’ve seen that he has a solid core of supporters, amounting to about 40% of the public or so, that will be hardcore supporters of the President no matter what. These people have been with him since he entered the race for President in June 2015, they stuck with him for more than a year and a half campaign during which he made one outrageous, outlandish, and downright insulting claim after another, and they have stuck with him through the first year of a Presidency that has been both controversial and remarkably unproductive. They aren’t going to abandon him anytime soon, and it’s inevitable that their numbers are going to be supplemented from time to time by people in the middle who might be more upset by some of the President’s more controversial statements and actions, especially in light of the fact that the economy, which is by far the most important issue in the minds of voters regardless of the year, is doing relatively well at the moment. Nonetheless, the trend also shows that there is also a ceiling in Trump’s support somewhere in the low 40s, which is actually lower than the 45.93% of the popular vote he garnered in the 2016 election. What that means for the elections in 2018 or, looking even further down the road, the election in 2020, is too early to tell, but it could prove to be problematic for the President and his party.