A year after his surprise election victory,Â President Donald TrumpÂ is underperforming expectations and lagging behind his predecessors, with the lowest job approval of any postwar president at this point in office, broad distrust across a range of issues and majority belief that heâ€™s not delivering on his campaign promises.
Yet for all his shortcomings, Trump runs a dead heat withÂ Hillary ClintonÂ among 2016 voters in a hypothetical rematch in this ABC News/Washington PostÂ poll, underscoring Clintonâ€™s own enduring unpopularity. Ninety-one percent of Trump voters say theyâ€™d support him again (albeit down from 96 percent in April). And marking a still-struggling opposition, 61 percent of Americans say Democratic leaders are mainly criticizing Trump, not presenting alternatives.
Democratic disarray, though, doesnâ€™t negate Trumpâ€™s own challenges. Just 37 percent of Americans approve of his job performance, the lowest for any president at nine months in office in polling dating to 1946. Fifty-nine percent disapprove, numerically a new high for this president, but essentially unchanged since summer. Half disapprove â€œstrongly,â€ another high — twice as many as strongly approve.
And Trump has big deficits on key issues and personal attributes alike. Consider these results from this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates:
Fifty-five percent say heâ€™s not delivering on his major campaign promises, up sharply from 41 percent in April, at his 100-day mark.
Views of Trump as a â€œstrong leaderâ€ have plummeted by 13 percentage points, from 53 percent at 100 days to 40 percent today — lower than the worst rating on this question for either of his two predecessors throughout their two terms in office.
As the president travels in Asia, a remarkable 67 percent of Americans donâ€™t trust him to act responsibly in handling the situation involving North Korea — up 5 points from September. Also relevant to his travels, a majority, 53 percent, now says Americaâ€™s leadership in the world has gotten weaker under Trump.
Two-thirds (65 percent) also now say heâ€™s accomplished anywhere from â€œnot muchâ€ to â€œlittle or nothingâ€ as president — up from 56 percent who said so after his first 100 days, and sharply contradicting the presidentâ€™s own claims to be highly productive.
Again two-thirds (66 percent) say Trump lacks the personality and temperament it takes to serve effectively as president, and essentially as many (65 percent) say heâ€™s not honest and trustworthy.
Scores also are negative (if somewhat less broadly so) on some of his campaign hallmarks: Sixty-two percent of Americans say he doesnâ€™t understand their problems, 58 percent reject the idea that heâ€™s â€œgood at making political dealsâ€ and 55 percent say he has not brought needed change to Washington. (The latter includes his best positive score in this series; 42 percent say he has brought needed change.)
Even with muted expectations when he took office, moreover, Trumpâ€™s falling short. At the time of his inauguration, for example, 61 percent expected him to do an excellent or good job handling the economy. Today just 44 percent say heâ€™s doing so, a 17-point dropoff.
Similarly, 44 percent expected Trump to do well improving the health care system, while now just 26 percent say heâ€™s delivering on this issue. Heâ€™s 13 points below expectations on dealing with terrorism — 56 percent expected good work, 43 percent say heâ€™s delivering it. And while just 40 percent expected Trump to do a good job handling race relations, again many fewer, 28 percent, say heâ€™s actually doing so.
Declines from expectations of Trump last January to his performance ratings now are broadly based, but steepest in a few groups. In the biggest shortfall, 66 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds expected him to do an excellent or good job handling the economy; just 34 percent say thatâ€™s now occurring. Heâ€™s also underperforming economic expectations by 25 points among independents, 23 points among suburbanites and 16 points among college-educated white women.
Trumpâ€™s troubles extend further. Fifty-five percent of Americans think heâ€™s biased against women, including 59 percent of women; and 50 percent think heâ€™s biased against blacks — including an overwhelming 73 percent of blacks themselves. His approval rating among blacks is just 11 percent; among women, 34 percent. But heâ€™s underwater among whites (46 percent approval) and men (40 percent) as well. The gender gap indeed is its smallest of his presidency.
On another policy matter, moreover, 59 percent think heâ€™s trying to make the current federal health care law fail — and 85 percent of them oppose his doing that.
Within his party, Trump has company from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who has a mere 25 percent approval rating, with 51 percent disapproval (another quarter have no opinion). Regardless, Republicans and GOP-leaning independents donâ€™t see it as a time to band together; 71 percent of them say Republican leaders should speak out when they disagree with Trump, up from 62 percent during the primary campaign.
The presidentâ€™s difficulties also are reflected in comparison with the election. Most strikingly, he won 81 percent of conservative voters a year ago — but has just 63 percent approval from conservatives now, a career low. Trump won 61 percent support from working-class white women, versus approval from just 46 percent in this group now. His approval rating lags his 2016 vote share among political independents by 13 points, among men by 12 points and among whites by 11 points.
Trumpâ€™s 13-point decline on strong leadership since April also is particularly noticeable among a few groups: college graduates, down 20 points to 31 percent; moderates, down 18 points to 33 percent; and those with $100,000-plus incomes, down 17 points to 37 percent.
Those groups, among others, also have soured on Trumpâ€™s temperament. Among all adults, 31 percent see him as having the personality and temperament needed to be an effective president, down 7 points in the last six months. Again thatâ€™s fallen most steeply among college graduates and $100,000-plus earners.
By historical standards, Trumpâ€™s approval rating at nine months isnâ€™t just weak, but glaringly so. Heâ€™s seen more negatively than positively by a 22-point margin, 59 vs. 37 percent. Next closest at about this point wasÂ President Gerald Ford, -3 points. All others in polls dating toÂ President Harry TrumanÂ were in positive territory; Trumpâ€™s predecessor,Â President Barack Obama, for example, had a 17-point net positive rating a year after he first was elected, with 57 percent approving.
Approval ratings can be situational;Â President George W. BushÂ stood at a lofty 92 percent approval at this point in 2001, as the nation rallied behind him after the 9/11 attacks. That said, the average job approval rating for the previous 12 presidents at about nine months is 64 percent, and the median is 61 percent. Trump lags those benchmarks by 27 and 24 points, respectively.