As the one-year anniversary of his election victory nears, Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump at a higher rate than at any point in his presidency, according to a new poll.
That comes as Trump’s 37% approval rating is also lower than that of any president in the history of modern polling at the same point in their tenure, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll. Trump’s approval ratings were historically low since the beginning of his term, at just over 44 percent, according to an aggregate of a dozen national polls. But despite repeated legislative failures and recent indictments of former Trump associates in Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign, Trump’s approval rating has only gradually declined over his nine months in office.
Between mid-September and Nov. 1, the Post/ABC Poll found a 2% decline in Trump’s overall job approval. Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment of three Trump allies, including Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, became public just two days before the poll was conducted, so the numbers may not reflect the full impact of that development.
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Nonetheless, the most important take-home here is less that Trump’s approval rating is low, than that it remains surprisingly high after an objectively troubled transition. The relative persistence of Trump’s support is an index of the polarization of American politics, and Trump’s strong connection with his base.
In particular, the poll found Trump’s approval rating is much higher among white voters, at 46%, than among minority voters, which is at 20% overall. There is an even greater spread between urbanites, 25% of whom approve of the president’s job performance, and rural voters, 52% of whom do. Trump also has higher approval among non-college graduates, though that spread is less dramatic, with about 10% lower approval among those with four-year degrees or more.
Trump’s ability to hang on to the support of his base may be particularly troubling for the fiscally conservative and pro-business wing of the Republican party. The recently-announced retirements of mainstream Republican Senators Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), for instance, can be substantially attributed to the fierce primary fights they were likely to face from Trump-aligned challengers.