Trump mired at historically low approval level despite voters' economic optimism

Danny Woods
January 23, 2018

The president scored a 39 percent approval rating in this poll, the lowest in the survey's history for any modern president one year into his term.

The NBC/WSJ poll was conducted of 900 adults, almost half reached by cell phone, and it has an overall margin of error of plus-minus 3.3 percentage points.

President Donald Trump listens to a question during a town hall with business leaders in the South Court Auditorium on the White House complex in Washington, Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

One year into Donald Trump's presidency, the image of USA leadership is weaker worldwide than it was under his two predecessors. It's axiomatic that a successful economy doesn't guarantee presidential popularity, it merely makes it possible - and Trump's other challenges tie his shoelaces. Three divide the country about evenly: the federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants (46 percent say it's a good thing for the country, 47 percent a bad thing); reduced business regulations (44-42 percent); and a reduction in the federal workforce (44-43 percent).

The Washington Post-ABC News poll published early Sunday found that 36 percent of respondents approve of the job Trump is doing as commander in chief. Trump received the highest approval in Alberta, where 29 per cent viewed him positively, and 16 per cent had mixed feelings.

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Half of voters also believe the Trump campaign colluded with Russian Federation, the ABC News/Washington Post poll found. They were asked whether they approved or disapproved of the current U.S. administration.

Comparatively, China boasts an edge with its worldwide disapproval rating of only 30 percent.

Half of all Americans also say they believe Trump's campaign colluded with the Russians, and an nearly identical percentage say they believe the president tried to interfere with the investigation. In Asia, approval dropped to 30%, tying the previous low that Gallup measured during the Bush administration. Russia's score improved slightly from 26 to 27 percent. Among independents, one-third say Trump should get credit, compared with about half who give credit to Obama.

In the bluest states, by contrast, Trump's approval, the generic congressional ballot and issues like the tax law suggest large advantages for Democrats.

The survey is, of course, not the first to find America's standing in the world slipping around the world under Trump's leadership. Polls have shown that voters are dubious of the tax bill's benefits, which slashed corporate tax rates and eliminated several popular individual deductions, but Trump has insisted people will see more money in their paychecks. Less tangible than policy changes, but just as critical, will be how Trump's rhetoric, words and actions shape not only how citizens at home and in the broader world view American ideals such as a free press and fair elections, but the moral leadership that Americans - and the rest of the globe - have long expected of the us president. Trump rescinded the Obama program last fall and asked Congress to come up with a solution by March. About 2 in 3 say the president's use of Twitter has hurt his presidency.

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