Trump approval falls 4 points in new survey

Trump approval falls 4 points in new survey
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President Trump’s job approval rating has hit a new low in the latest Harvard-Harris Poll survey, with weeks of controversy taking their toll on Trump’s embattled administration.

Trump’s job approval rating has fallen to 45 percent from 49 percent in March.

The approval rating is at the high end compared with other surveys, which typically survey all residents, not just voters.

In the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Trump has a 39.6 percent approval rating and 54.7 disapproval rating.

The drop is largely due to dissatisfaction among independents. Trump’s job approval rating with that group is down from 47 percent in March to 40 percent in May.

Trump’s favorability rating — the measure of his overall popularity — has also declined. Trump is at 42 percent positive and 53 percent negative, down from a 44-51 split in March.

The Harvard-Harris survey, provided exclusively to The Hill, comes after a dramatic stretch of controversy and crisis for the Trump administration.

Trump is dealing with allegations of obstruction of justice from his controversial decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, media reports that the president revealed classified information in a private meeting with Russian diplomats and the Justice Department’s appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, including possible ties to Trump’s campaign.

“The poll, taken at the height of the Comey frenzy, shows a weakening hand as would be expected,” said Mark Penn, co-director of the Harvard-Harris survey.

On the upside, the poll shows that most of those who voted for Trump are sticking with him.

“He is holding on to 90 percent of his voters and his ratings are still above approval ratings for both the Democratic and Republican parties,” Penn said.

Among all Republicans, Trump’s job approval is at 85 percent. A Reuters-Ipsos survey released last week showed signs that Trump’s base might be cracking, with only 75 percent of Republicans saying they approve of the job he’s doing.

A majority of registered voters, 54 percent, and 63 percent of independents say they disapprove of Trump’s decision to fire Comey.

Fifty-nine percent say they believe Trump asked Comey to end the investigation into Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser who was dismissed for misleading Vice President Pence and other White House officials about the nature of a meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. 

The administration has put out different stories to explain Comey’s firing. Trump has said it was in part because he does not view the FBI investigation as legitimate.

The poll shows Comey is even less popular than Trump.

Only 40 percent approved of the job Comey was doing as FBI director, compared with 60 percent who disapproved. Comey’s favorability rating is at 31 percent positive and 39 negative. Seventy percent disapprove of the way Comey handled the investigation into Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonState Dept: Russia’s allegations about American citizens ‘absolutely absurd’ Trump on possible sit-down with Mueller: 'I've always wanted to do an interview' Election Countdown: Senate, House Dems build cash advantage | 2020 Dems slam Trump over Putin presser | Trump has M in war chest | Republican blasts parents for donating to rival | Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders to campaign in Kansas MORE’s use of a private email server from her time as secretary of State.

“The polling on Comey shows that President Trump is more in trouble for the way he fired Comey rather than for removing him,” Penn concluded.

The voting public is split on whether it believes there was collusion between Moscow and Trump’s campaign. Overall, 52 percent say they do not think there was collusion, while 48 percent say there was. Among independents, 54 percent say they don’t believe there was any collusion.

Fifty-nine percent say the special counsel appointed last week would lead to an end of the Russia inquiry, while only 41 percent say it will lead to impeachment. Sixty-six percent of Democrats say they think Trump will be impeached, while a majority of independents and Republicans say he will not be impeached.

“Right now nearly 60 percent believe impeachment will go nowhere, though a majority of Democrats think it will and so either that will happen or there is great potential for a boomerang among non-Democrats and disappointment among the party base,” said Penn.

In addition to investigating Russia, 73 percent said they hope the special counsel looks into allegations that the Obama administration spied on Trump and his campaign and the unmasking of Flynn’s name in intelligence reports.

The Russia storyline was sent into overdrive last week after The Washington Post reported that Trump revealed sensitive information pertaining to an Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) terror plot to Russia’s top diplomats in an Oval Office meeting.

The White House denies the report, while noting that the president is free to declassify information as he sees fit.

Still, 52 percent of those surveyed said it was inappropriate for the president to reveal that information, including 56 percent of independents. 

That development was the latest in a long line of damaging leaks from within the government that have undermined Trump. Seventy-four percent of those surveyed said the leaking of an Oval Office meeting with foreign officials is a serious matter that should be investigated.

The Harvard-Harris online survey of 2,006 registered voters was conducted between May 17 and May 20. The partisan breakdown is 36 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 3 percent other. The poll uses a methodology that doesn’t produce a traditional margin of error.

Harvard-Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard-Harris throughout 2017. Full poll results will be posted online later this week.