NBC/WSJ Poll Shows Trump Approval at 38 Percent

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has fallen to a historic low of 38 percent, according to a poll released on Sunday by The Wall Street Journal and NBC News.

The poll of 900 adults nationwide conducted October 23-26 found that 58 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s job performance.

The poll numbers are the lowest for Trump that have been measured by the two polling firms, Hart Research Associates, a Democratic firm, and Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican firm, WSJ reported. They are odd numbers to have when the nation is at peace, the Dow Jones industrial average is at record highs, and employers and consumers have the highest level of confidence in a decade.

The question now is: What can Trump do to turn public perception around? It seems talking up the economy is not the best first choice.

"There does appear to be a disconnect between the strong economy and public job approval," said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican consultant and chairman of the Travis County GOP in Texas. "That may be temporary ... What is not clear about President Trump is whether low poll numbers hurt him in the same way they did his predecessors. They certainly didn't hurt Trump in the campaign ... However, the perception of low public support does limit his political capital, which matters on Capitol Hill for moving his policy agenda."

The indictment of Paul Manafort, Trump's campaign manager during the Republican National Convention of 2016, is sure to be unhelpful to Trump, although Manafort was indicted for alleged financial crimes related to his work as a political consultant in Ukraine, not to his later work on the Trump campaign.

If Trump stays focused on governing, and the economic news is good, he can push the numbers back up, say pundits.

"[Trump] is staying focused, he acts and not just talks," said Jeffrey Lord, a contributor to Breitbart and The American Spectator, in an email to LifeZette. "As long as he keeps doing this he will be fine. Example: His executive actions on Obamacare were a plus. That is action. Pass that tax bill by Christmas. That would be excellent."

Not surprisingly, some political observers said Trump should temper his tweets.

"There are some things he can do that will get him higher," said Eddie Zipperer, an assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College. "Getting tax reform through would give him a bump. More judicious tweeting might help."

Tax reform, thus, becomes much more important for Trump, especially after the failure of the GOP-led Congress to repeal Obamacare, aka the Affordable Care Act.

President Trump needs wins, not just for the sake of winning, but to show his voters that he can deliver on his promises and make average Americans conclude that he is improving their lives.

"Passing tax reform by year's end will juice the economy and unify Republicans and the White House, giving them new momentum for early 2018, which will redound to his benefit in the short and long term," said Mackowiak.

Zipperer said polling has been especially hard for Trump, who was predicted to lose the 2016 presidential election, but won it with more than 300 electoral votes.

"The polls are mostly 'all adults,'" said Zipperer. "He's much higher among likely voters, which is the sample Rasmussen Reports uses where Trump is at 44, and that's what really matters. Also, those who do approve, approve enthusiastically, which is important in the same way that voter enthusiasm is important."

Zipperer said Trump has a lot that could break his way, bumping his poll numbers up later.

"I think if the Mueller investigation winds up without any evidence of Trump colluding with Russia, he'll get a huge bump," said Zipperer. "But overall, I think polling is in a very bad era. People don’t answer numbers they don't recognize, probability polling is expensive and is being replaced by cheaper yet less reliable online polling ... Also, Democrat disapproval [of Trump] is super-high, and we know that's nothing more than ideological disapproval."

Lord, a staffer in former President Ronald Reagan's administration, said Reagan suffered the same woes in 1981, his first year. A recession hit in the middle of the year, and Reagan initially took the blame. The Democrats played up the economic problems, even though Reagan inherited many problems from former President Jimmy Carter.

"I well recall Reagan's numbers tanking in the early 1980s, so much so there was constant chatter that he wouldn't run again in 1984," said Lord. "By 1984, he was riding high and won 49 states. Trump and staff must, and I'm sure they will, stay focused."

Last Modified: October 30, 2017, 8:51 pm

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