Donald Trump’s approval rating is at a new low — and that’s before claims that he disclosed sensitive information to Russian officials in the Oval Office and tried to shut down an FBI investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn.
A new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey but before the two latest blockbuster revelations, shows Trump’s approval rating at 42 percent, with half of registered voters disapproving of the job Trump is doing as president. In the previous poll, conducted last Tuesday through Thursday, 46 percent of voters approved of Trump’s job performance, and 47 percent disapproved.
Even more strikingly, twice as many voters “strongly disapprove” of Trump (38 percent) compared to those who strongly approve (19 percent). A 64-percent majority of Democrats strongly disapprove of Trump, but only 43 percent of Republicans strongly approve. Just 42 percent of self-identified Trump voters in last year’s election strongly approve of his job performance, while 70 percent of those who said they voted for Hillary Clinton last fall strongly disapprove of Trump.
Trump’s approval rating overall remains high with Republicans, however, despite the dampened enthusiasm. Seventy-nine percent of GOP voters approve of the job he is doing, while only 16 percent disapprove. That’s a mirror image of Trump’s approval rating among Democratic voters: 15 percent approve, versus 79 percent who disapprove.
Independent voters tilt against Trump, however: Only 39 percent approve of the job Trump is doing, compared with 50 percent who disapprove.
Trump’s 42-percent approval rating is his lowest yet in POLITICO/Morning Consult’s weekly survey, which has tended to show more positive results for Trump than most other public polls. The 50-percent disapproval rating matches the previous high — in late March, following the collapse of the first GOP-drafted health care bill in the House.
"President Trump’s approval has fallen from 51 percent in mid-April to 42 percent today," said Morning Consult Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. "A less reported-on trend is the waning enthusiasm for Trump in his base. When Trump took office, 56 percent of his voters strongly approved of his job performance. Today that number stands at 42 percent."
The poll was conducted last Friday through Sunday, in the days following Comey’s dismissal but before news broke Monday that Trump shared classified information with senior Russian government officials in the Oval Office last week and a Tuesday New York Times report that Comey detailed in a memo that Trump asked him to drop the probe into Flynn’s activities.
A separate POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, conducted immediately following Comey’s firing, found voters divided on whether Trump acted appropriately, with nearly a third undecided. In the new poll, however, there is an uptick in the percentage who think Trump’s action was improper.
The percentage of voters who said Trump was right to remove Comey as FBI director, 34 percent, is virtually unchanged from the 35 percent who previously said Trump did the right thing. But the percentage who said Trump should have allowed Comey to continue leading the FBI increased from 33 percent in the initial survey to 40 percent now. Around a quarter, 26 percent, are undecided, down from 32 percent in the previous poll.
Similarly, 35 percent of voters say Trump’s decision was appropriate, down marginally from 37 percent earlier last week. Forty-two percent say Trump acted inappropriately, up from 34 percent in the previous poll.
The Comey news came just days after the House advanced one of Trump’s key legislative goals, passing a bill that would make significant changes to the nation’s health care system and replace many of the initiatives enacted by the 2010 Affordable Care Act.
The new survey shows a plurality of voters continue to oppose the new GOP health care bill. In the new poll, 38 percent of voters approve of the new bill, unchanged from a week before. And 45 percent disapprove, statistically unchanged from last week’s 44 percent.
Trump’s other major legislative goal — rewriting the nation’s tax code — also faces some headwinds, according to the poll. While a survey two weeks ago showed initial openness to Trump’s proposal, this week’s poll suggests Trump and the GOP could struggle to sell voters on key elements of the proposal, including lowering rates for upper-income individuals and corporations. Majorities of voters say both corporations (59 percent) and upper-income Americans (62 percent) pay too little in taxes.
But lower tax rates for small businesses and lower- and middle-income Americans could be more popular. Half of voters or greater say small businesses (52 percent), lower-income Americans (50 percent) or middle-income Americans (56 percent) pay too much in taxes. And 57 percent of voters say they personally pay too much in taxes.
The poll surveyed 2,001 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.
Morning Consult is a nonpartisan media and technology company that provides data-driven research and insights on politics, policy and business strategy.