Americans have given President Trump the lowest six-month approval rating of any president in polls dating back 70 years, punctuated by questions about his competence on the world stage, his effectiveness, the Republican health care plan and Russia’s role in the 2016 election.
Just 36 percent of Americans polled in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of Trump’s job performance, down 6 points from his 100-day mark, itself a low. The previous president closest to this level at or near six months was Gerald Ford, at 39 percent, in February 1975.
Sixty-three percent in this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, say it was inappropriate for Trump’s son, son-in-law and campaign manager to have met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign. Six in 10 also think Russia tried to influence the campaign, and among those who say so, 67 percent think Trump aides helped, similar to results in April.
Yet the Russia controversy is just one on the list of Trump’s troubles. Just 38 percent say he’s making significant progress toward his goals; 55 percent think not. With no apparent help from the G-20 summit, two-thirds don’t trust him to negotiate with other world leaders — or with Russian President Vladimir Putin specifically — on America’s behalf. And about half say the country’s world leadership has grown weaker under Trump; just 27 percent say it’s gotten stronger.
On his party’s signature campaign issue — health care — Americans, by a 2-1 margin, prefer Obamacare over the Republican plan to replace it, 50-24 percent. Another quarter either want something else entirely, 17 percent, or are undecided, 9 percent. “Strong” preference for the existing law surpasses strong preference for the Republican plan by 20 percentage points. Relevant to proposed cuts in the growth of Medicaid, the public, by a broad 63-27 percent, says it’s more important to provide health care coverage for low-income Americans than to cut taxes.
Asked to make their own comparison, half of Americans say Trump is doing a worse job than most previous presidents vs. 23 percent who say he’s doing better, including 38 percent “much” worse vs. 17 percent “much” better. The rest, 24 percent, say he’s performing about the same as his predecessors in general.
Results are similar when it comes to the world stage: Americans by 48-27 percent say the United States has become weaker rather than stronger on the world stage under Trump, again with a substantial share, 23 percent, saying this has remained about the same.
But two factors temper the situation for the president to some degree: weakness in his Democratic opposition and greater strength on the economy.
On the first of these, only 37 percent of Americans say the Democratic Party “stands for something,” while 52 percent say it just stands against Trump. The perceived lack of an affirmative agenda may weaken the Democrats’ efforts to capitalize on Trump’s failings.
On the second, Trump’s overall job approval rating (36-58 percent, approve-disapprove) is surpassed by his rating for handling the economy, 43-41 percent, roughly an even split. An unusually large 16 percent aren’t ready to rate his economic performance; it was only 3 percent for President Barack Obama at six months.