By David Z. Morris
July 16, 2017

An ABC/Washington Post poll published overnight shows that President Donald Trump has earned a historical distinction, though not one he’s likely to celebrate. His approval rating among respondents was just 36%—the lowest of any modern president at the six-month mark.

The roots of this historical level of distaste for Trump will be little surprise to many. Sixty-three percent of the poll’s respondents said that Donald Trump Jr’s recently-revealed campaign meeting with a Russian lawyer was inappropriate, and 60% believed that Russia worked to influence the campaign’s outcome. Sixty-Seven percent believe that the Trump campaign actively collaborated with those efforts.

Trump is faring no better in perception of non-Russia issues. Fifty-five percent of respondents said he was making no significant progress towards his policy goals. Forty-eight percent said that U.S. world leadership has weakened under Trump, with only 27% saying it has gotten stronger.

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The poll also tackled health care, and showed decisive support for keeping Obamacare intact. Only 24% of those polled prefer a Republican health care plan (though exactly what that is has remained a moving target), while 50% prefer the current health care law. Asked to rank government priorities, 63% said providing health care for low-income Americans was most important, with only 27% saying cutting taxes was more important—and cutting taxes at the expense of providing healthcare is what the Republican plan is widely perceived as doing.

There was one genuine bright spot for Trump. The approval rating for his handling of the economy specifically was 43%, with just 41% disapproving. The poll also showed relatively weak perception of opposition Democrats, which only 37% of respondents believed actually “stands for something.”

The larger question is how much lower Trump’s polls could possibly go, and what their implications might be. His base in the Republican Party has proven remarkably committed, with the most recent Gallup polling showing 85% of Republicans approve of his performance. That provides little incentive for Republican legislators in control of Congress to work against the president on Russia or any other issue.

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