Trump approval at highest due to economy boost

But slight majority of Americans disapprove of him, still find him unpresidential: Survey

WASHINGTON • Aided by a strong economy and perceptions that he has dealt with it effectively, President Donald Trump's approval rating has risen to the highest point of his presidency, though a slight majority of Americans continue to say they disapprove of his performance in office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey highlights the degree to which Mr Trump has a narrow but real path to re-election.

His approval rating on most issues is net negative and more than six in 10 Americans say he has acted in ways that are unpresidential since he was sworn into office.

Still, roughly one-fifth of those who say he is not presidential say they approve of the job he is doing and he runs even against four possible Democratic nominees in hypothetical presidential election matchups. He trails decisively only to former vice-president Joe Biden.

Mr Trump's approval rating among voting-age Americans stands at 44 per cent, edging up from 39 per cent in April, with 53 per cent saying they disapprove of him. Among registered voters, 47 per cent say they approve of him while 50 per cent disapprove. In April, 42 per cent of registered voters said they approved while 54 per cent said they disapproved.

More than a year before the election and long before the Democrats will select their nominee, the 2020 contest is playing out against the backdrop of an electorate deeply divided over the President, with a small percentage of registered voters up for grabs.

Both Democrats and the President enjoy solid bases of support, but more Americans say it is extremely important that Mr Trump not win re-election than those who say it is extremely important that he is re-elected.

  • TRUMP'S REPORT CARD

    44% US President Donald Trump's approval rating among voting-age Americans.

    53% Those saying they disapprove of him.

The survey highlights significant differences between women and men in their candidate preference, a continuation of a trend that has been evident throughout Mr Trump's presidency. Those gender differences shaped the outcome of the 2018 midterm elections, when Democrats captured the House with strong support among women.

In the new survey, men clearly favour Mr Trump against four of five potential Democratic challengers (they are evenly divided over a Biden-Trump contest), while women back all five Democrats by strong margins.

The economy is the lone issue in the survey where Mr Trump enjoys positive numbers, with 51 per cent saying they approve of the way he has dealt with issues. A smaller 42 per cent disapprove of his handling of it, down from 46 per cent last October.

Asked how much credit Mr Trump deserves for the state of the economy, 47 per cent say a "great deal" or a "good amount", while 48 per cent say he deserves "only some" or "hardly any".

When asked the same question in a survey in January last year, 38 per cent of Americans gave him credit for the economy while 56 per cent said he deserved little or none.

On the eight other issues measured, Mr Trump gets negative ratings, ranging from a net negative of seven points on taxes to a net negative of 33 points on climate change.

More than half of all Americans disapprove of his handling of immigration, healthcare, abortion, gun violence and "issues of special concern to women".

The survey was conducted while Mr Trump was attending the Group of 20 summit in Japan, where trade tensions with China were eased. He later met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un - taking steps into that nation and coming to an agreement to restart nuclear negotiations. But 55 per cent of Americans disapprove of his handling of foreign policy, while 40 per cent approve.

The survey matched Mr Trump against five possible Democratic nominees: Mr Biden, senators Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren and the Mayor of South Bend in Indiana, Mr Pete Buttigieg.

Among registered voters, only Mr Biden emerges with a clear advantage, leading Mr Trump by 53 per cent to 43 per cent. Mr Trump runs very close against Ms Harris (48 per cent versus Mr Trump's 46 per cent) and Mr Sanders (49 per cent versus Mr Trump's 48 per cent), and he runs even against Ms Warren (both at 48 per cent) and Mr Buttigieg (both at 47 per cent).

This Washington Post-ABC News poll was conducted by telephone from June 28 through July 1 among a random national sample of 1,008 adults, with 65 per cent reached on mobile phones and 35 per cent on landlines. Results from the full sample have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points; the error margin is four points among the sample of 875 registered voters.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2019, with the headline 'Trump approval at highest due to economy boost'. Print Edition | Subscribe