Trump approval rating stays steady at 45 percent: poll

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump threatens ex-intel official's clearance, citing comments on CNN Protesters topple Confederate monument on UNC campus Man wanted for threatening to shoot Trump spotted in Maryland MORE’s approval rating stayed range-bound at 45 percent in July from the previous month, though his approval on foreign affairs fell, according to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released exclusively to The Hill on Thursday.

Trump’s overall approval rating dipped this month from 47 percent in June, though that was within an expected margin of movement according to the pollsters. The president's approval rating has remained steady in the mid 40’s since February and hit the highest at 49 percent in March.

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The Harvard CAPS/Harris poll shows Trump continues to get higher approval ratings for his handling of the economy with 55 percent approving, down from 57 percent in June.

Trump also gets high marks for his handling of terrorism, with a 53 percent approval rating in July compared to 57 percent in June, as well as for stimulating jobs, where 56 percent approve of his efforts compared to 58 percent in the previous month.

His efforts on the economy and terrorism have helped him weather a fall in his handling of foreign affairs after the president came under bipartisan criticism over his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki earlier this month.

"Despite a pounding over recent missteps, Trump's approval remain stable and he continues to get high marks on the economy and fighting terrorism," said Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll co-director Mark Penn.

Trump took the most notable hit on foreign affairs, where his approval on that issue fell to 43 percent in July from 47 percent the previous month. The poll was conducted a little over a week after Trump’s summit with Putin, which sparked an uproar when the U.S. president did not denounce Russia for election inference in the 2016 election and appeared to side with Putin over U.S. intelligence agencies.

However, analysts still believe Trump's handling of the economy will likely be a more important factor than foreign affairs ahead of the midterms. 

The poll showed 47 percent say the economy is on the right track, while 39 percent say it’s on the wrong track, with 13 percent unsure.

Republicans are hoping to use an improving economy as a campaign issue that can help them hold their majorities in the House and Senate, even as midterm polling continues to favor Democrats.

In the generic ballot question ahead of the midterms, Democrats continue to lead Republicans by 43 to 36 percent, with 16 percent undecided and 5 percent saying they would vote for a different party.

That number falls in line with other recent generic ballot polls. The RealClearPolitics polling average has Democrats’ ahead with a little over 7-point lead.

The Democratic Party’s approval rating remains in the mid 40’s, the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll showed, though the approval rating for Republicans hit 40 percent, the highest this year after ranging between 36 to 39 percent earlier. 

Among the top issues for voters in the 2018 midterms, immigration ranks the highest at 36 percent. Health care is second at 31 percent and terrorism/national security is third at 26 percent. The economy and jobs ranked fourth at 25 percent.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,323 registered voters was conducted July 24-25. The partisan breakdown is 37 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 29 percent independent and 2 percent other.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard University and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard/Harris Poll throughout 2018.

Full poll results will be posted online later this week. The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.