Is MAGA Nation Abandoning Trump? – Vanity Fair
Despite Donald Trump’s frenzied tweets proclaiming the “Trump base” to be “far bigger & stronger than ever before,” a series of very real polls show that the president is in very real danger. Republicans in the Senate are largely ignoring the executive branch, when they’re not defying the White House entirely. Speculation is building that Vice President Mike Pence is positioning himself to take over the presidency if Trump doesn’t run again in 2020, steps down, or is removed from office. And judging by the latest surveys of Republican voters, G.O.P. leaders might just prefer it that way.
Last month, Gallup found that Trump’s approval rating was underwater in 31 states nationwide—including 11 that he won in the election. FiveThirtyEight’s adjusted poll aggregator shows that his popularity has hit an all-time low of 36.6 percent—worse than any other president at the same 200-day mark in more than 60 years of polling. Perhaps most critically, a new CNN poll released Monday night reveals that the president is hemorrhaging support even with his core Republican base. The poll, conducted by SSRS, found that among Republicans who approve of Trump’s presidency, only 59 percent strongly approve of his performance, down from 73 percent in February. Only 35 percent of Trump’s strongest supporters—white voters without college degrees—strongly approve of his performance, a drop of 12 points. And when it comes to that special quality that got him elected—his promise to make America great again—the country is rapidly losing trust in that vow:
On top issues, Trump’s approval ratings largely tilt negative. And perceptions of the President as someone who will bring change are fading. Just 43% say Trump can “bring the kind of change the country needs,” down from 48% in April, and the share who say he “can manage the government effectively” now stands at 39%, down from 44% in April.
Trump’s approval with Republicans dropped by a similar amount in a survey from Investor’s Business Daily, published the same day, which found that the president’s support had fallen from 83 percent on July 4 to 71 percent by August 7, a 12-point drop in a little over a month. Among voters making $30,000 and $50,000 a year, the drop was even more stark, dropping from 40 percent to 27 percent approval. Those numbers are in line with the results of a Quinnipiac poll released last week that found Trump had slipped 9 points with Republicans from a previous low of 62 percent.
Trump’s softening support comes at a critical juncture in his presidency. Several key “100-day promises” remain unfulfilled, including repealing Obamacare and making progress on tax reform. Republican senators have rebuffed the administration’s efforts to restart talks over the failed health-care effort, and several have cast doubt on the White House’s ability to lower tax rates as much as the president once claimed. Trump has not been able to secure funding for his promised border wall—Mexico, unsurprisingly, still refuses to pay for it—and many leading anti-immigration activists have grown disillusioned. Trump himself has not quite settled on what the theoretical wall should look like, waffling between a rebar-enforced concrete wall and a transparent, solar-powered wall enhanced by surveillance apparatus. Reneging on his promise to repeal the DREAM Act, as well as his inconsistent foreign policy, have cost him further support among his base. And while Trump and his team continue to dismiss the Russia probe as a distraction, the revelations could ultimately ensnare him and his family in indictments. The constant drumbeat of negative headlines may have helped fuel the president’s anti-media campaign, but it has also distracted the administration and Congress from legislative work that is key to the Trump agenda.
Ironically, if Trump thought he could push back against his critics with a tweet, and energize his base while doing so, he may have miscalculated. According to the SSRS poll, 7 out of 10 Americans believe that the president’s tweets “too often seem to be in response to news he may have seen on TV,” a sentiment that 57 percent of Republicans agree with. Half of Republicans say that they believe his tweets are a “risky way for a president to communicate,” and 49 percent believe that they “don’t send the right message to world leaders.” Almost three out of four respondents told CNN that they do not trust information coming out of the White House.
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