It’s been a rough month or so for President Trump. Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is racking up indictments while stunts from Trump’s clownish defenders in the House, such as Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), have boomeranged. The White House is in disarray in part because of the Rob Porter scandal and the revelation that many White House officials have been operating with only temporary security clearances. The massacre in Parkland, Fla., has changed the political landscape on guns, with Trump on the wrong side of public opinion, joined at the hip with the National Rifle Association. Moreover, despite his silly spin that Democrats do not want to help “dreamers,” the young undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children, it is plain to anyone who cares to see that the White House (which derailed the only viable compromise immigration bill) and right-wing anti-immigrant groups torpedoed a possible solution to the problem Trump created by rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
The polls reflect some brutal realities for Trump and the GOP. Trump’s approval is back to all-time lows. USA Today reports:
As President Trump sends mixed signals about what he’ll support when it comes to gun legislation, his approval rating has fallen to its lowest level in the USA TODAY survey since he was inaugurated last year. Just 38% now approve of the job he’s doing as president; 60% disapprove.
That’s a steep drop from the president’s standing one year ago, in March 2017, soon after his first address to Congress had received good reviews. Then, 47% expressed approval, a high-water mark for him in the poll; 44% expressed disapproval.
What’s more, the intensity of feeling is hardening against the president. Now, the percentage who “strongly disapprove” of him is more than double the percentage who “strongly approve,” 39% compared with 16%.
A new CNN poll released Sunday put Trump’s approval rating at 35%, his lowest level in that survey.
CNN’s survey also reflects his abysmal ratings with a number of subsets of voters. “Among women, just 29% approve of the way Trump is performing, compared with 42% approval among men. Only about one in five Americans under age 35 approve of the President (22%), compared with 43% approval among those age 50 or older. And while 42% of whites approve of the way Trump is handling his job, just 23% of non-whites agree.”
As other polls have shown, support for measures to restrict access to assault weapons, raise the age for obtaining weapons, and improve background checks has spiked.
In the USA TODAY survey: “By almost 2-1, 61%-33%, [voters] say tightening gun-control laws and background checks would prevent more mass shootings in the United States. By more than 2-1, 63%-29%, they say semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15, used by the Florida shooter, should be banned. By more than 6-1, 76%-12%, they say people who have been treated for mental illness should be banned from owning a firearm.”
Likewise, CNN finds: “Just a third of Americans approve of his handling of gun policy, 54% disapprove and another 12% say they have yet to make up their minds. Those who live in gun-owning households give him higher ratings than others: 52% in gun households approve of his work on gun policy; it’s 17% among all others.” In addition, “Overall, 70% now say they back stricter gun laws, up from 52% who said so in an October poll not long after a mass shooting in Las Vegas killed 58 people. Just 27% oppose stricter laws. Support for stronger gun laws has not been that high in CNN polling since a December 1993 survey conducted just after the Brady Bill was signed into law.” At least according to the CNN poll, the NRA’s historic advantage in voter intensity has reversed itself. “A majority, or 52%, say they ‘strongly’ favor stricter gun laws, well above the previous high mark of 37% in polling back to 2013. Strong support outpaces strong opposition by a nearly four-to-one margin, a massive increase compared with the 36% who were strongly in favor of such a move and 27% who strongly opposed the idea in the October survey.”
Recall that an overwhelming majority (80 percent in some polls) favor a path to citizenship for dreamers. And on Russia, several polls find large majorities of voters take the investigation seriously, do not like how Trump is handling the probe and want Mueller to complete his job.
In short, on the current set of issues, Trump is up against not just a majority of voters but an overwhelming majority. In some cases (e.g. protecting the dreamers), he’s even at odds with Republicans. Trump could adjust his position on guns, become more aggressive in fighting Russian interference and strike a deal on dreamers. He might ultimately be forced to do so. For now, however, he’s trapped by his far-right base on guns and dreamers and by his own unwillingness to cross Russian President Vladimir Putin.
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