8/16: Trump at Lowest Point With 35% Job Approval Rating

Marist National Poll

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating is at its lowest point since taking office with only 35% of Americans giving him a positive score.  55% disapprove of the job he is doing which is his highest negative rating as president.  Although still popular among his key constituency, notably, his job performance rating has dropped among strong Republicans from 91% in June to 79% now. In addition, by more than two to one, Americans who strongly disapprove of his job performance, 42%, outnumber those who strongly approve, 20%.  In June, his overall approval rating stood at 37%, and 51% disapproved.  At a similar time in President Obama’s tenure, 55% of registered voters approved of the job he was doing, and 35% disapproved.

“While Republicans are still largely in Trump’s corner, the cautionary tale for the president lies in the softening of support at his base,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “Since his numbers among Democrats and independents are weak, a crack among his most ardent supporters is something Trump can ill afford.”

More Americans also have a negative impression of the president. 60% of residents, including one in five Republicans, view Trump unfavorably, representing his most unpopular standing since assuming office.  Only 34% have a favorable view of him.  When this question was last reported in June, Trump’s negative score was 56%, and his positive rating was 37%.  There has been a drop in the proportion of strong Republicans who have a positive view of the president from 94% in June to 80% this time.

Many Americans, 60%, do not believe the president is honest and trustworthy.  37% think he is.  Not surprisingly, most Democrats, 86%, think Trump is not truthful while 78% of Republicans say he is.  Still, a notable 21% of the GOP think the president is deceptive.  Nearly two in three independents, 64%, think the president is not trustworthy.

75% of residents nationally, including 51% of Republicans, think President Trump is temperamental compared with 21% who say he is level-headed.  72% of Americans think the president’s Twitter communication is reckless and distracting while 20% say it is effective and informative.  While there has been little change on this question among residents overall, there has been a slight shift among Republicans.  A plurality of Republicans, 46%, are now displeased with the president’s tweets, and 41% do not mind the president communicating through social media.  In June, the GOP divided, 42% to 43%, respectively.

Overall, nearly two in three Americans, 64% up slightly from 60% in March, report they are embarrassed by President Trump’s behavior.  29%, comparable to 30% previously, say they are proud.

When asked to grade the president, only 32%, down from 37% in March, give the president either an “A,” 15%, or a “B,” 17%.  A majority, 51%, compared with 48% previously, rate Trump with a below average grade of either a “D,” 15%, or an “F,” 36%.  16%, similar to 15% in March, give the president a grade of “C.”

Americans divide about whether the U.S. economy has been strengthened, 44%, or weakened, 46%, by Trump’s decisions as president.  In June, 39% and 42%, respectively, shared these views.

However, by nearly two to one, U.S. residents perceive President Trump’s decisions to have weakened the role of the United States on the world stage, 62% up slightly from 58%.  33%, comparable to 34% previously, believe the president has strengthened the nation’s global position.  Again, there has been a change among Republicans.  While 67% of the GOP believe President Trump has strengthened America’s global reputation, this is down from the 76% of Republicans with this view in June.

“There’s not much consensus among Americans about the president’s impact on the economy,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.  “But, they are sending a clear message to the president about his role internationally.  More than six in ten Americans, including a notable proportion of the president’s own party, think Trump is falling short on the global stage.”

Which policy area should be the top priority for President Trump and Congress?  Health care, 31%, tops the list followed by jobs, 21%.  Terrorism receives 14%.  13% of U.S. residents want to rebuild the country’s infrastructure, and 12% think tax reform should take precedence.  Only 7% want the president and Congress to address immigration, and 2% say the same about trade agreements.

Regardless of party, health care takes the number one spot.  Jobs is the second most important issue for Democrats, 27%, and Republicans, 20%. Tax reform, 19%, also places highly among Republicans.

So do Americans think President Trump is winning or losing when it comes to his agenda?

Majorities of Americans say President Trump is winning on his campaign promises to appoint conservative justices to the United States Supreme Court, 59%, and to more strictly screen non-Americans who enter the country, 58%.

But, the winning stops there.  President Trump receives mixed reviews on his pledge to bring manufacturing jobs to the United States.  45% of Americans say Trump is winning the issue while 48% say he is losing it.

Four in ten residents, 40%, think the president is making progress on his promise to renegotiate trade deals.  37% believe Trump is delivering on his pledge to defeat ISIS.

About one in three residents say the president is making progress on improving relations with Russia, 34%, or rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, 33%.  Only 28% of Americans say President Trump is keeping his campaign promise to pick the best people to run the government, and an identical number agree he is winning on tax reform.  25% think he has made progress on building a wall, and 24% believe he is advancing the effort to bring about peace in the Middle East.  Just 23% and 21%, respectively, think the president has the upper hand on the repeal of Obamacare or the opioid crisis.

Even among Republicans it’s not all winning for President Trump.  Among the GOP, Trump does best on his pledge to bring jobs back to the United States, 78%, to appoint conservative judges to the Supreme Court, 75%, to create stricter screening procedures for non-Americans entering the United States, 74%, and to renegotiate trade deals, 74%.

But, on President Trump’s promise to build a wall and address the opioid crisis, only a plurality of the GOP, 48% and 40%, respectively, believe the president is winning. Half of Republicans, 50%, describe Trump as losing on the repeal of Obamacare, and 42% say he is having success.

And, when it comes to his signature slogan, “Make America Great Again,” only 36% of Americans say the president is winning compared with 59% who characterize him as losing.   75% of Republicans believe the president is making good on this campaign promise compared with 10% of Democrats and 35% of independents.

“In light of the difficulty President Trump has had with Congress  and the series of controversies and distractions he  has had advancing his agenda, it is not surprising that, in the view of Americans, the president has been unable to put together a winning streak,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. 

Although 59% of Americans are following the news about the investigation involving the president, his associates, and Russia either a great deal, 26%, or a good amount, 33%, 40% say they are not following the news very much, 26%, or not at all, 14%.  This is unchanged from July when 59% of residents nationally reported they were keeping an eye on these developments, and 40% had little or no interest in doing so.

Turning to the ballot box for the 2018 congressional elections, the Democrats advantage Republicans, 47% to 40%.  In June, the Democrats, 48%, had a 10-point advantage over the Republicans, 38%.

Among those who consider themselves to be Republican or identify as independents who lean toward the Republican Party, 47% think President Trump is doing more to unite the GOP than to divide it, 43%.  Notably, a majority of those who identify as Republicans, 51%, consider the president to be a unifying force while 52% of those who identify as Republican leaning independents perceive him to be divisive.

And, what about a GOP primary for president in 2020?  Republicans and Republican leaning independents overwhelmingly support President Trump over a hypothetical primary challenge from John Kasich, 64% to 23%.

If Vice President Mike Pence chose to challenge his boss, the contest is closer.  In this scenario, Trump receives 56% to 33% for Pence.  The key here are independents who lean toward the Republican Party.  Only 2 points separate Trump, 44%, and Pence, 42%, among this group of voters.  Among those who identify strictly as Republicans, Trump, 61%, has a 32-point lead over Pence, 29%.

The current backdrop for the political debate is one in which more than six in ten Americans, 62%, believe the nation is heading in the wrong direction.  33% say it is moving in the right direction, and 5% are unsure.  This is little changed from June when 61% thought the country was off track, and 31% believed it was on course.

Complete August 16, 2017 Marist Poll Release of the United States

Complete August 16, 2017 Marist Poll of the United States (Tables of Adults and Registered Voters)

Marist Poll Methodology

Nature of the Sample