Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing takes hit

6-POINT DROP FROM SPRING, POLL FINDS Amer­i­cans worry about progress, health care

The Washington Post Sunday - - FRONT PAGE - BY SCOTT CLE­MENT AND DAN BALZ

Pres­i­dent Trump’s stand­ing with the Amer­i­can peo­ple has de­te­ri­o­rated since the spring, buf­feted by per­cep­tions of a de­cline in U.S. lead­er­ship abroad, a stalled pres­i­den­tial agenda at home and an un­pop­u­lar Repub­li­can health-care bill, ac­cord­ing to a new Wash­ing­ton Post-ABC News poll.

Ap­proach­ing six months in of­fice, Trump’s over­all ap­proval rat­ing has dropped to 36 per­cent from 42 per­cent in April. His dis­ap­proval rat­ing has risen five points to 58 per­cent. Over­all, 48 per­cent say they “dis­ap­prove strongly” of Trump’s per­for­mance in of­fice, a level never reached by for­mer pres­i­dents Bill Clin­ton and Barack Obama and reached only in the se­cond term of George W. Bush in PostABC polling.

Al­most half of all Amer­i­cans (48 per­cent) see the coun­try’s lead­er­ship in the world as weaker since Trump was in­au­gu­rated, com­pared with 27 per­cent who say it is stronger. De­spite the fact that Trump cam­paigned as some­one skilled at mak­ing deals

would be good for the coun­try, ma­jori­ties also say they do not trust him in ne­go­ti­a­tions with for­eign lead­ers and in par­tic­u­lar Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin.

Just over one-third of all Amer­i­cans say they trust the pres­i­dent ei­ther “a great deal” or “a good amount” in any such for­eign ne­go­ti­a­tions. Asked specif­i­cally about Trump-Putin ne­go­ti­a­tions, al­most 2 in 3 say they do not trust the pres­i­dent much, in­clud­ing 48 per­cent who say they do not trust the pres­i­dent “at all.”

Per­cep­tions about the role of Rus­sia in the 2016 elec­tion and pos­si­ble col­lu­sion or co­op­er­a­tion with Trump cam­paign as­so­ci­ates con­tinue to be a drag on the pres­i­dent, though like many other ques­tions, re­sults show a clear par­ti­san di­vide.

The Post-ABC poll finds 60 per­cent of Amer­i­cans think Rus­sia tried to in­flu­ence the elec­tion out­come, up slightly from 56 per­cent in April. Some 44 per­cent sus­pect Rus­sian in­ter­fer­ence and think Trump ben­e­fited from their ef­forts. Roughly 4 in 10 be­lieve mem­bers of Trump’s cam­paign in­ten­tion­ally aided Rus­sian ef­forts to in­flu­ence the elec­tion, though sus­pi­cions have changed lit­tle since the spring.

Amer­i­cans’ views on Rus­sia’s role in the elec­tion con­tinue to di­vide along par­ti­san lines. Among Democrats, 8 in 10 be­lieve Rus­sia at­tempted to in­flu­ence the elec­tion and more than 6 in 10 think mem­bers of Trump’s team at­tempted to aid their ef­forts. But among Repub­li­cans, one-third think Rus­sia tried to in­flu­ence the elec­tion out­come, and fewer than 1 in 10 think Trump’s as­so­ci­ates sought to help them.

Last week, in­for­ma­tion was re­vealed by the New York Times that Don­ald Trump Jr. and two other se­nior cam­paign of­fi­cials met with a Rus­sian lawyer and oth­ers af­ter be­ing of­fered damthat ag­ing in­for­ma­tion about Hil­lary Clin­ton and told that the in­for­ma­tion was part of a Rus­sian gov­ern­ment ef­fort to help Trump.

Asked about this rev­e­la­tion, more than 6 in 10 Amer­i­cans say the meet­ing was in­ap­pro­pri­ate, with just about a quar­ter say­ing it was ap­pro­pri­ate. But al­most half of all Repub­li­cans call the meet­ing ap­pro­pri­ate.

Sus­pi­cions of Trump have eased at least slightly on one front. While 52 per­cent think he is try­ing to in­ter­fere with in­ves­ti­ga­tions into Rus­sia’s pos­si­ble elec­tion in­ter­fer­ence, that is down slightly from 56 per­cent in June.

The pres­i­dent’s strong­est as­sets con­tinue to be the healthy econ­omy and a view among many Amer­i­cans that the Democrats do not have a co­her­ent or pro­gram in op­po­si­tion, other than op­po­si­tion to the pres­i­dent.

Trump’s ap­proval rat­ing on the econ­omy, in con­trast to his over­all rat­ing, is about one-toone, with 43 per­cent giv­ing him pos­i­tive marks and 41 per­cent giv­ing him neg­a­tive rat­ings. Mean­while, fewer than 4 in 10 say the Demo­cratic Party cur­rently stands for some­thing, while a slight ma­jor­ity say it “just stands against Trump.”

Be­yond those ar­eas, Trump con­tin­ues to be deeply un­pop­u­lar. His stand­ing is a mir­ror op­po­site of Obama and Bush at this point in their first terms. Each held a 59 per­cent job ap­proval rat­ing in Post-ABC polling. Trump’s stand­ing is closer to that of Bill Clin­ton’s, who hit a record low 43 per­cent ap­proval in late June 1993, be­fore re­bound­ing later that year.

Half of Amer­i­cans say Trump is do­ing a worse job than most past pres­i­dents, while just un­der one-quar­ter say he is do­ing bet­ter, and a sim­i­lar share say he is far­ing about the same as pre­vi­ous pres­i­dents. A 55 per­cent ma­jor­ity say Trump is not mak­ing sig­nif­i­cant progress to­ward his goals.

The sur­vey points to many causes for Trump’s trou­bles. As Repub­li­can sen­a­tors at­tempt to pass ma­jor health-care leg­is­la­tion, the poll finds about twice as many Amer­i­cans pre­fer the Af­ford­able Care Act, oth­er­wise known as Oba­macare, to GOP plans for re­plac­ing it — 50 per­cent to 24 per­cent. About a quar­ter volunteer ei­ther “nei­ther,” say they want some­thing else or of­fer no opin­ion.

In­de­pen­dents are an im­por­tant fac­tor in the Repub­li­can law’s strug­gles. They fa­vor Oba­macare over the GOP re­place­ment by a 29-point mar­gin. Democrats are more strongly be­hind the current law, with 77 per­cent pre­fer­ring Oba­macare to the pro­posed al­ter­na­tive. Mean­while, only 59 per­cent of Repub­li­cans back their party’s pro­posal, though only 11 per­cent say they pre­fer Oba­macare. The re­main­ing 30 per­cent of Repub­li­cans say they pre­fer nei­ther, some­thing else or give no opin­ion.

On one key is­sue in the de­bate over the Repub­li­can plan, the pub­lic by 63 to 27 per­cent says it is more im­por­tant for the govmes­sage ern­ment to pro­vide health cov­er­age to low-in­come peo­ple rather than cut­ting taxes. Repub­li­can pro­pos­als in­clude ma­jor re­duc­tions in spend­ing in­creases for Med­i­caid, while elim­i­nat­ing many taxes and fees im­posed by the 2010 Af­ford­able Care Act to ex­pand the pro­gram.

What­ever Trump’s strug­gles, the poll shows clear risks of Democrats’ op­po­si­tion to Trump. Some 37 per­cent say the party cur­rently stands for some­thing, while 52 per­cent say it mainly stands against Trump. Even among Democrats, over one-quar­ter say their party pri­mar­ily stands in op­po­si­tion to Trump rather than for their own agenda.

The Post-ABC poll was con­ducted July 10-13 among a ran­dom na­tional sam­ple of 1,001 adults reached on cel­lu­lar and lan­d­line phones. The mar­gin of sam­pling er­ror for over­all re­sults is plus or mi­nus 3.5 per­cent­age points.

Over­all, 48 per­cent of Amer­i­cans say they “dis­ap­prove strongly” of Trump’s per­for­mance in of­fice, a level reached only in the se­cond term of George W. Bush in Post-ABC polling.

Emily Guskin con­trib­uted to this re­port.

ELSA/GETTY IM­AGES

A Wash­ing­ton Post-ABC News poll that was con­ducted in July says Pres­i­dent Trump’s over­all ap­proval rat­ing has dropped to 36 per­cent from 42 per­cent in April.

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