About 6 in 10 Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s overall job performance, according to a new poll released Thursday by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, which finds some support for the president’s handling of the U.S. economy but gives him weak marks on other major issues.
Just 36% of Americans approve of the way President Trump is handling his job as president; 62% disapprove.
The numbers may be ugly for a first-term president facing reelection in 14 months, but they are remarkably consistent. Trump’s approval rating has never dipped below 32% or risen above 42% in AP-NORC polls since he took office.
No other president has stayed within so narrow a band. Since Gallup began measuring presidential approval, Trump is the only president whose rating has never been above 50%. Still, several — Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush — logged ratings worse than Trump’s lowest rating so far at some point during their time in office.
Trump’s poor grades in the AP-NORC poll extend to his handling of several key issues: immigration, health care, foreign policy and guns. Views of the Republican president’s handling of the economy remain a relative bright spot despite fears of a potential recession, but at least 60% of Americans disapprove of his performance on other issues. The consistency suggests the president’s weak standing with the American people is calcified after two years of near-constant political crises and divisive rhetoric at the White House.
The new survey was conducted shortly after back-to-back mass shootings in Texas and Ohio left dozens dead and renewed calls from Americans for answers from their elected officials. Trump pledged immediate action in the immediate aftermath of the attacks but has since shifted back and forth on whether to push for stronger background checks on people seeking to buy guns.
According to the poll, 36% approve of Trump on gun policy, while 61% disapprove, numbers that mirror his broader approval rating.
Seven in 10 Republicans express approval of Trump’s handling of gun policy in the new poll, among his lowest ratings from the GOP. Self-identified moderate and liberal Republicans were slightly less likely than conservative ones to express approval, 64% versus 74%.
Beyond guns, Trump remains overwhelmingly popular within his own party.
Nearly 8 in 10 Republicans approve of Trump’s overall job performance, while 20% disapprove. As has been the case for his entire presidency, Democrats overwhelmingly oppose his leadership: 94% of Democrats disapprove in the new survey.
Independents remain decidedly low on Trump as well, with about two-thirds disapproving of Trump’s performance.
Significantly more Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, although even on that issue he remains slightly underwater: 46% approve and 51% disapprove of his performance.
Trump’s current economic rating represents a 5 percentage point drop from the same time last year, but for a president who has struggled to win over a majority of American voters on any issue, the economy represents a relative strength.
Even some Democrats approve: Just 5% of Democrats approve of his job performance overall, but 16% approve of his handling of the economy. Independents are closely divided — 44% approve and 47% disapprove — while 86% of Republicans approve of his economic leadership.
“He’s kind of a bully, but I’ve seen some improvement,” said Mandi Mitchell, a 38-year-old registered Democrat from North Carolina. “Our unemployment rate has definitely dropped.”
Mitchell, who is studying for her doctoral degree, said she didn’t vote for Trump in 2016 but might in 2020.
“I’m not going to be too hard on him,” she said. “I just think he doesn’t address America properly.”
Those who remain in the Republican Party do not share the negative assessment.
Greg Traylor, a 53-year-old small businessman from North Canton, Ohio, acknowledged that Trump is “rough around the edges,” but he praised his work on immigration and his support for Israel. On the economy, Traylor cheered Trump’s hard-line stance with China, while acknowledging it may cause some short-term pain.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,058 adults was conducted Aug. 15-19 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak Panel, which is designed to be representative of the U.S. population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods and later were interviewed online or by phone.