Poll finds wor­ries about Trump

But sur­vey also sees grow­ing op­ti­mism about econ­omy

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

USA TO­DAY WASH­ING­TON Amer­i­cans over­whelm­ingly dis­agree with Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on just about ev­ery­thing from his mil­i­tary threats to North Korea to his com­bat­ive stance to­ward NFL play­ers who won’t stand for the Na­tional An­them.

But a USA TO­DAY/Suf­folk Univer­sity poll also finds an un­usual dis­con­nect: Amer­i­cans are in­creas­ingly op­ti­mistic about the na­tion’s econ­omy.

“He’s just re­ally in­tent on keep­ing the na­tion di­vided,” said Wil­liam Reed, 52, of Cleve­land Heights, Ohio, who voted for Demo­crat Hil­lary Clin­ton last year and was among those polled. “No em­pa­thy; no com­pas­sion; just all about him and tweet­ing.”

Trump’s de­fend­ers counter that he has faced tough prob­lems and un­re­lent­ing op­po­si­tion from his po­lit­i­cal foes. “It’s not a good cli­mate out there, and he’s nav­i­gat­ing through it,” John Sakach, 80, the owner of a con­struc­tion-sup­ply busi­ness in sub­ur­ban Chicago, said in a fol­low-up in­ter­view.

For the first time dur­ing Trump’s pres­i­dency, a ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans, 53 per­cent, say in the USA TO­DAY poll that the econ­omy is in a re­cov­ery. That typ­i­cally would lift views that the na­tion is headed in the right di­rec­tion. But this time, nearly two-thirds, or 64 per­cent, also say the coun­try is on the wrong track, up 21 points since the be­gin­ning of the year and the high­est of his ten­ure.

As Trump ap­proaches the one-year an­niver­sary of his elec­tion next month, his un­der­wa­ter ap­proval rat­ings and the pub­lic’s anx­i­ety hold per­ils for his pres­i­dency. They em­bolden his crit­ics and make it harder for him to push leg­isla­tive pro­pos­als such as a tax bill through Congress.

His­tor­i­cally, sag­ging pres­i­den­tial ap­proval rat­ings also sig­nal trou­ble for the party in power in midterm elec­tions.

Those sur­veyed say, by 5733per­cent, that they want to elect a Congress in 2018 that mostly stands up to Trump, not one that mostly co­op­er­ates with him. And that in­cludes al­most 1 in 5 Repub­li­cans, as well as the pre­dictable par­ti­san di­vide, with 9 of 10 Democrats call­ing for an op­po­si­tion Congress. In­de­pen­dents by 2-1 also hold that view.

Vice Pres­i­dent Mike Pence’s un­fa­vor­able rat­ing is bet­ter than Trump’s (57-34per­cent), but it’s still in neg­a­tive ter­ri­tory, at 44-36 per­cent.

When it comes to North Korea, Amer­i­cans are more likely to agree with the em­bat­tled sec­re­tary of state, Rex Tiller­son, than with his boss. Trump has said ne­go­ti­at­ing with North Korea is a waste of time.

By a 3-1 mar­gin, 61-20 per­cent, Amer­i­cans say the United States should pur­sue diplo­macy to try to cur­tail North Korea’s nu­clear pro­gram, not un­der­take mil­i­tary ac­tion.

Those sur­veyed dis­ap­prove of the pres­i­dent’s han­dling of North Korea by 56-34 per­cent.

The poll of 1,000 reg­is­tered vot­ers, taken by land­line and cell­phone from Sept. 27 to Oct. 1, has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 3 per­cent­age points.

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