Politics

Trump Takes Dive in the Polls as Focus Diverted from Jobs

President risks erosion of support as 'America first' agenda obscured by media firestorms

President Donald Trump is facing sagging poll numbers, including among some of the key parts of his winning coalition — and that is before surveys have fully measured the massive controversy over his firing of FBI Director James Comey.

A poll released Thursday by Rasmussen Reports — traditionally among the most favorable toward Trump — suggested 52 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s job performance. A Gallup survey released the same day shows 55 percent of voters disapproving, with only 38 percent approving. That is his lowest Gallup approval rating since April 2.

“There is no way to spin or sugarcoat these sagging numbers.”

Both of those surveys were conducted partly before and partly after the bombshell Comey news.

Those polls followed a batch of bad polls earlier in the week. A Morning Consult/Politico poll on Wednesday shows 48 percent of Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing. That is Trump’s worst performance in a poll that also generally has been on the kinder end of the scale.

That same day, a Quinnipiac University poll suggested 58 percent disapprove — with only 36 percent approving. That is close to an all-time low in that survey. Perhaps more troubling for Trump, his support is sagging with key parts of his winning coalition compared to an April 19 Quinnipiac poll:

  • Approval among independents declined from 38 percent to 29 percent.
  • Approval among white voters without college degrees declined from 57 percent to 47 percent.
  • Approval among white men dipped from 53 percent to 48 percent.

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“There is no way to spin or sugarcoat these sagging numbers,” Quinnipiac Assistant Director Tim Malloy said in a statement.

A Morning Consult poll on Thursday suggests the Comey firing has sharply divided Americans along party lines. Some 61 percent of Democrats said the dismissal was inappropriate, compared with 11 percent of Republicans. Among all voters, 37 percent said it was appropriate, 34 percent said it was inappropriate and 29 percent were undecided.

Trump voters are sticking with him — just 6 percent judged the firing inappropriate.

Political experts generally said it is far too early in Trump’s presidency to obsess over poll numbers.

“I wouldn’t be too worried right now if I were a member of the White House staff or President Trump,” said Kyle Kopko, director of the pre-law program at Elizabethtown College Pennsylvania.

[lz_graphiq id=atCg1G4x2kd]

White voters without college degrees helped propel Trump to victory in the Keystone State in November. Kopko said those voters in the long run will be much more influenced by the economy.

“If we were to see it turn and start heading in the wrong direction, I would start to worry if I were a White House insider,” he said.

Andrew Smith, director of the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, agreed. He said his polling suggests that the president’s position in the Granite State has changed little from February.

[lz_table title=”Eroding Approval” source=”Quinnipiac University Poll”]Approval rating in Quinnipiac Poll
|Group,May 10,April 19,
All Voters,36%,40%
Independents,29%,38%
Republicans,82%,87%
Democrats,7%,5%
All Men,41%,46%
All Women,31%,34%
No-College Whites,47%,57%
College Whites,29%,35%
[/lz_table]

“If economic growth improves and job growth improves, and that leads to wage increases, you’ll see people forgive a lot of personal sins,” he said.

Mark Meckler, president of Citizens for Self Governance, said his experience is that grassroots conservatives are not abandoning the president.

“What I can tell you is that I’m not hearing it,” he said. “I’m just not hearing any dissatisfaction.”

Meckler said Trump should focus on policy. He said many of the president’s initiatives have run into opposition from Congress and the courts.

“People aren’t blaming him for it, that I can see,” he said. “The key is to focus on the issues that people elected him on … I don’t really care about the polls.”

Eddie Zipperer, am assistant political science professor at Georgia Military College and a LifeZette contributor, argued Trump’s recent dip in the polls has been exaggerated.

“The ‘resistance’ is much more likely to take several minutes to answer polling questions than the typical Trump voter,” he wrote in an email. “The polls oversample large urban areas, and — historically speaking — it’s tough to poll Trump correctly.”

Still, Zipperer added, the Trump administration has done a poor job managing the media narrative and too often plays into negative framing.

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“The only way Trump will get this number up is when the apocalyptic, end-of-democracy narratives stop,” he wrote.

That is not to say that polls are completely meaningless, Smith said. He noted that presidents with high approval ratings have more leverage over Congress.

“Presidential power, to a great extent, is the ability to convince Congress to do what he wants to do rather than what they want to do,” he said.

Kopko said most voters do not pay attention to the details of public policy. Instead, he said, they react to the overall conditions of the country and the feeling they get about the president. He said people recognize that the things Trump says and tweets — while often controversial — are unlike any other president’s. That plays well with the president’s supporters who wanted to change Washington as usual.

“He is the unconventional president, and he’s shaking things up,” Kopko said.

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