Trump approval holds steady amid improving economy

Trump approval holds steady amid improving economy
© Greg Nash

President TrumpDonald John TrumpSarah Huckabee Sanders becomes Fox News contributor The US-Iranian scuffle over a ship is a sideshow to events in the Gulf South Korea: US, North Korea to resume nuclear talks 'soon' MORE’s approval rating held steady in April amid strong U.S. economic gains, according to a Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll released exclusively to The Hill.

Approval of the president’s job in office climbed to 46 percent — up 1 point from March — suggesting that a series of positive developments in U.S. economic growth have helped Trump weather lingering questions about special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE’s investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election.

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Trump gets his highest marks — 60 percent — for his handling of the economy and stimulating jobs, a bump from March when those numbers sat at 57 percent.

The increase comes amid news in April that the U.S. economy grew at a rate of 3.2 percent in the first quarter of 2019. A report on Friday showed 263,000 jobs were added last month, blowing past expectations.

But approval of his job in foreign affairs and administering the government remain relatively low, at 44 percent and 43 percent, respectively.

“The surge in the economy has moved the president’s approval on the economy to a record 60 percent. In a polarized environment this is a significant accomplishment but his overall job approval sits at 46 percent, a smaller tick up,” said Mark PennMark PennGun safety is actually a consensus issue Trump weighs in on NY Times headline: 'Radical Left Democrats went absolutely CRAZY' Poll: Majority wants Trump, Congress to clinch immigration deal MORE, the co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll.

“He needs to translate the economy into job approval and that’s where he is lagging,” he said.

To be sure, Trump’s job approval rating doesn’t necessarily translate into personal affection. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said that they “dislike him personally,” while 32 percent said they “like him personally.” Ten percent said they were either unsure or didn’t know.

As positive economic news unfolded in recent weeks, Trump and his administration have simultaneously grappled with the ongoing fallout from Mueller’s report, which detailed the nearly two-year special counsel investigation into whether the Trump campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.

That investigation did not establish that Trump campaign officials coordinated with Moscow. But it left open the question of whether the president sought to obstruct the inquiry. Attorney General William BarrWilliam Pelham BarrBarr says he has seen 'nothing' to undercut Epstein autopsy findings Prosecutors are mainly to blame for the criminal justice crisis The Hill's Morning Report - Trump hews to NRA on guns and eyes lower taxes MORE, however, decided against bringing such a case against the president.

At the same time, Barr has faced scrutiny for authoring a four-page memo outlining the principle conclusions of the special counsel probe. He received a letter from Mueller in late March criticizing his framing of the special counsel’s work and findings.

Trump has also vowed to fight all subpoenas from the House related to Mueller’s investigation, setting the stage for a prolonged fight with Congress.

The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll online survey of 1,536 registered voters was conducted from April 30 to May 1.

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 CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2019.

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.