Trump Fails To Reach Beyond Base As Independents' Disapproval Grows (NPR link): President Trump's support among independent voters has eroded since he took office. Though he still clings to a loyal base of supporters, his overall disapproval among Americans has reached record highs, according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. Just 37 percent of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing just over five months into his tenure, while 51 percent disapprove. Forty percent of those polled strongly disapprove of Trump's performance, twice the 20 percent who strongly approved.
The most pronounced swing seen in the poll was among independents. Over the past four months, their approval of the president has dissipated. In February, 40 percent of independents said they approved of the job Trump was doing, with 51 percent disapproving. Four months later in June, just 31 percent say they approve of the president with 59 percent of independents disapproving — a 17-point net-negative drop.
Despite almost full employment nationwide, independents are particularly dissatisfied with Trump on the economy. That's likely driving much of their overall disapproval. Just 31 percent of independents say they have confidence in Trump's ability to improve the U.S. economy, while 49 percent doubt he can do so. Just three months ago, 44 percent thought Trump could turn around the economy, while 38 percent didn't — a whiplash-worthy 24-point swing.
Lee Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion, said the scope of the shift over the past few months among independents should cause "alarm bells to go off" at the White House.
"Independents were certainly willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt when he entered office," Miringoff said, "but on issues like the direction of the country and the economy, they've really soured on him. It's hard for someone like him to make a second impression. Independents have come to the conclusion that what you see is what you get."
The good news for Trump is that his base hasn't abandoned him even as he has faced mounting investigations. Eighty percent of Republicans still approve of the job he is doing, including 91 percent who identify as strong Republicans. Trump has an 89 percent approval rating among those who voted for him last November. He has a 65 percent approval rating among white evangelical Christians, though almost a quarter disapprove of the job he is doing.
Overall, Americans' outlook under Trump is dismal. Almost double say the country is on the wrong track as those who think it's on the right track, 61 percent to 31 percent, a gap that has nearly doubled since February.
More people say they feel worse off — 40 percent — since Trump took office, than better off — 34 percent. There is a deep partisan divide on that question, of course — 73 percent of Republicans say they're better off, while 67 percent of Democrats say the opposite. Among independents, far more — 44 percent — say they're worse off, compared with just 27 percent who say they're better off.
Americans also think Trump has hurt the country on the global stage. Fifty-eight percent say the president has weakened the United States' position abroad, while 34 percent say he has strengthened it.
In addition, by a 24-point margin, Americans believe former President Barack Obama was, by far, a more effective leader in comparison to Trump, 58 percent to 34 percent. Among independents, there is an even more pronounced 36-point difference, 65 percent to 29 percent.