Poll: 62% disapprove of Trump’s job performance
About 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s overall job performance, according to a new poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which finds some support for the president’s handling of the U.S. economy but gives him weak marks on other major issues.
Just 36 percent of Americans approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president; 62 percent disapprove.
The numbers may be ugly for a first-term president facing reelection in 14 months, but they are remarkably consistent. Trump’s approval rating has never dipped below 32 percent or risen above 42 percent in AP-NORC polls since he took office.
No other president has stayed within so narrow a band. Since Gallup began measuring presidential approval, Trump is the only president whose rating has never been above 50 percent. Still, several – Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush – logged ratings worse than Trump’s lowest rating so far at some point during their time in office.
Trump’s poor grades in the AP-NORC poll extend to his handling of several key issues: immigration, health care, foreign policy and guns. Views of the Republican president’s handling of the economy remain a relative bright spot despite fears of a potential recession, but at least 60 percent of Americans disapprove of his performance on other issues. The consistency suggests the president’s weak standing with the American people is calcified after two years of near-constant political crises and divisive rhetoric at the White House.
The new survey was conducted shortly after back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left dozens dead and renewed calls from Americans for answers from their elected officials. Trump pledged immediate action in the immediate aftermath of the attacks but has since shifted back and forth on whether to push for stronger background checks on people seeking to buy guns.
“He does whatever’s politically expedient. He’s awful,” said 60-year-old Robert Saunders, a retired police officer from New Jersey who’s not registered with either major political party and vowed not to vote for Trump in 2020.
According to the poll, 36 percent approve of Trump on gun policy, while 61 percent disapprove, numbers that mirror his broader approval rating.
In response to the shootings, Trump said he would pursue policy options with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and that he would like to see “very meaningful background checks.” Earlier this week, however, Trump said the U.S. already has significantly strict background checks in place and that many of his supporters are gun owners. On Wednesday, however, he again backed tighter background checks while speaking to reporters at the White House.
Seven in 10 Republicans express approval of Trump’s handling of gun policy in the new poll, among his lowest ratings from the GOP. Self-identified moderate and liberal Republicans were slightly less likely than conservative ones to express approval, 64 percent versus 74 percent.
Beyond guns, Trump remains overwhelmingly popular within his own party.
Nearly 8 in 10 Republicans approve of Trump’s overall job performance, while 20 percent disapprove. As has been the case for his entire presidency, Democrats overwhelmingly oppose his leadership: 94 percent of Democrats disapprove in the new survey.
Independents remain decidedly low on Trump as well, with about two-thirds disapproving of Trump’s performance.
Significantly more Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, although even on that issue he remains slightly underwater: 46 percent approve and 51 percent disapprove of his performance.
Trump’s current economic rating represents a 5 percentage point drop from the same time last year, but for a president who has struggled to win over a majority of American voters on any issue, the economy represents a relative strength.
Even some Democrats approve: Just 5 percent of Democrats approve of his job performance overall, but 16 percent approve of his handling of the economy. Independents are closely divided – 44 percent approve and 47 percent disapprove – while 86 percent of Republicans approve of his economic leadership.
“He’s kind of a bully, but I’ve seen some improvement,” said Mandi Mitchell, a 38-year-old registered Democrat from North Carolina. “Our unemployment rate has definitely dropped.”