After a momentary upward blip in the polls (Was it the holidays? A lower presidential profile? A non-disastrous State of the Union? The tax bill hype?) voters have gone right back to disliking President Trump — a lot. The latest Quinnipiac poll has the president’s approval rating down to 37 percent (with 58 disapproving), compared to a 40-percent approval rating on Feb. 7. And by a margin of 67 percent to 24 percent, they want him to release his tax returns.
In a demonstration that tribal loyalty predominates over obvious observation, “Trump has not been loyal to his spouse throughout his marriage, American voters say 56-18 percent, with 26 percent undecided. Republicans are the only group to say Trump has been loyal.” Really, Republicans, you think that, or do you not permit yourself even a moment of honesty? “Voters also say 66-30 percent, including 58-37 percent among men, that Trump does not respect women as much as he respects men. Again, Republicans are the only group taking Trump’s side.” And once again, as a group, Republicans seem to have given up any powers of discernment.
The numbers are truly awful for the president:
American voters say 57-41 percent that Trump is not fit to serve as president. There is a wide gender gap, with men divided 49-49 percent on whether Trump is fit. Women say 65-33 percent he is not fit.
There is also a gender gap as voters say 65-27 percent that the Trump administration does not do a good job handling issues that have a significant impact on women. Men say no 59-32 percent and women say no 71-22 percent.
Voters disapprove 59-22 percent of the way the Trump administration handled the case of Rob Porter, a White House aide dismissed after accusations of domestic violence. Someone accused of domestic violence by several people should not receive a security clearance, voters say 73-17 percent. Voters say 57-40 percent they do not like Trump’s policies and say 61-30 percent they do not like him as a person. American voters say 56-36 percent that Trump acts more like an autocrat than a typical American president.
When it comes to Russia, voters are capable of overlooking his antics, the poll found.
“American voters think 76-18 percent, including 55-35 percent among Republicans, that the Russian government did try to influence the 2016 presidential election, the highest number so far for this question. A total of 68 percent of voters are ‘very concerned’ or ‘somewhat concerned’ that the Russian government might try to interfere in the 2018 elections. Voters disapprove 57-30 percent to Trump’s response to the threat of Russian interference in the 2018 elections.”
To the extent the GOP-led House of Representatives has stuck with him, one would think it could leave Republicans open to the serious attack that they have failed to respond to the Russian threat.
Looking more closely at the data, one is struck by several phenomena. First, young voters really, really don’t like Trump. Seventy percent of voters under the age of 35 said they don’t approve of his performance — 60 percent of which said they strongly disapprove. Nearly 80 percent of younger voters dislike the Republican Congress.
Second, Trump’s support among white voters without college degrees has eroded. They approve of the job he is doing by only a slim 47- to 45-percent plurality. They certainly don’t like the president as a person (39 percent like/50 percent dislike), and a majority (59 percent) of these voters want him to release his tax returns, 44 percent of which believe he hasn’t done so because he has something to hide. Also, majorities do not believe he respects women, think the White House mishandled the Rob Porter situation, and think that Russia interfered with the 2016 election. A large plurality (46 percent) said he has mishandled the Russia scandal, and 50 percent believe he acts more like an autocrat than he does a typical president.
Third, a large majority (62 percent) said that Jared Kushner shouldn’t be playing a significant role at the White House, and even a majority of white voters without college degrees (54 percent) think it’s inappropriate.
If not for white men, the president’s numbers would be in the gutter. Eighty-one percent of African Americans, 54 percent of Hispanics and 55 percent of white women strongly disapprove of Trump’s performance. If Democrats were to campaign on an agenda of demanding transparency from Trump and his family, holding Russia to account for its election interference (and protecting our voting apparatus), protecting “dreamers” and border security, and reasonable new gun-safety laws, they may find an outpouring of support — especially among young, female and nonwhite voters.
In sum, although Trump has ticked up a few points now and then, public perception of him and his policies remain overwhelmingly negative. Since he is not one for self-reflection, it is unlikely he’ll undergo a remake, even if his party loses big in November. Republicans may then face the prospect — if he isn’t forced out — of running with a grossly unpopular president at the top of the ticket. They might want to start taking impeachment seriously; it might be their only hope in 2020.
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