Poll finds worries about Trump
But survey also sees growing optimism about economy
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.