Most Americans say they think President Donald Trump has little to no respect for the country’s democratic traditions, according to a new poll that underscores the difficulty Trump faces in uniting a country deeply divided about his leadership.
The new survey, conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, found more than six in 10 Americans disapprove of the job Trump is doing as President, and nearly half strongly disapprove. The poll was conducted before a shooting spree at a Washington-era baseball field on Wednesday left a congressman wounded and renewed calls for more civil political discourse.
“We may have our differences, but we do well in times like these to remember that everyone who serves in our nation’s capital is here because, above all, they love our country,” Trump said Wednesday, responding to the shooting.
The survey suggests Trump faces considerable challenges as he seeks to position himself as a unifying figure.
Two-thirds of Americans, or 65 percent, think Trump doesn’t have much respect for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions or has none at all. Just a third of Americans, or 34 percent, thinks he has a great deal or even a fair amount of respect for them.
Overall, 64 percent disapprove and just 35 percent approve of his job performance.
Trump was unpopular among Americans overall even as he was elected president, but the poll shows that even many Republicans have doubts. Nearly a third of Republicans and independents who lean toward the Republican party think Trump has little to no respect for the country’s democratic institutions, and a quarter disapprove of the job he’s doing as president.
Nine in 10 Democrats and six in 10 independents say the same.
Ron Denmon, a 55-year-old independent voter from Houston, agreed that Trump has little regard for the country’s democratic institutions and traditions, including the White House taking steps to avoid politicising the Justice Department and the FBI. Denmon referenced recent news reports that Trump was considering firing Robert Mueller, the special counsel named by the Justice Department to investigate Russia’s role in the 2016 election. Mueller was appointed after Trump dismissed Comey, who had been leading the inquiry. Comey has said Trump was trying to influence his handling of the Russia investigation.
“The fact that he’s even considering getting rid of Mueller is even more evidence that he thinks it’s all about him and how he wants to control things,” said Denmon, a 22-year Air Force veteran who said his vote for Trump last November was more against Hillary Clinton, the Democratic candidate, than for Trump.
Of Trump, Denmon said: “He doesn’t care about the process. He only cares about him.”
A White House spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Tuesday that Trump “has no intention” of firing Mueller, but maintained he “has the right to.”
Linda Draper, an independent from Mulberry, Florida, who voted for Trump, said the president is the one who isn’t being respected, and criticised those she says have tried to block him at every turn.
“If they would leave him alone and let him do what the American taxpayers voted him in there to do, this country would be a whole lot better off,” said Draper, 64. “What he’s trying to do is good.”
Among whites without a college education, who voted overwhelmingly in favour of Trump last year, 50 percent say they approve of Trump, down slightly from 58 percent in March.
Health care remains Trump’s worst issue in the poll, with 66 percent disapproving of his handling of the issue. Even 33 percent of Republicans disapprove of his handling of the issue.
Nearly as many — 64 percent — disapprove of Trump’s handling of climate change. The poll was conducted after Trump’s announcement that the country would withdraw from the Paris climate agreement.
Sixty-three percent disapprove of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, 60 percent disapprove of his handling of immigration, and 55 percent disapprove of how he’s handling the economy.
Americans are more divided over Trump’s handling of the threat of terrorism, with 47 percent saying they approve and 52 percent that they disapprove.
Among Republicans, 28 percent disapprove of Trump’s handling of foreign policy and climate change and 22 percent disapprove of his handling of immigration, but less than two in 10 disapprove of how he’s handling the economy or terrorism.
Sixty-five percent of Americans say they think the country is on the wrong track, the poll shows, and just 34 percent think it’s headed in the right direction.
Seventy-five percent of Americans disapprove of the job Congress is doing, the poll shows.
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
The biggest names involved in the Trump-Russia investigation
1/11 Paul Manafort
Mr Manafort is a Republican strategist and former Trump campaign manager. He resigned from that post over questions about his extensive lobbying overseas, including in Ukraine where he represented pro-Russian interests.
2/11 Mike Flynn
Mr Flynn was named as Trump's national security adviser but was forced to resign from his post for inappropriate communication with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak. He had misrepresented a conversation he had with Mr Kislyak to Vice President Mike Pence, telling him wrongly that he had not discussed sanctions with the Russian.
3/11 Sergey Kislyak
Mr Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US, is at the centre of the web said to connect President Donald Trump's campaign with Russia.
4/11 Roger Stone
Mr Stone is a former Trump adviser who worked on the political campaigns of Richard Nixon, George HW Bush, and Ronald Reagan. Mr Stone claimed repeatedly in the final months of the campaign that he had backchannel communications with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and that he knew the group was going to dump damaging documents to the campaign of Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton - which did happen. Mr Stone also had contacts with the hacker Guccier 2.0 on Twitter, who claimed to have hacked the DNC and is linked to Russian intelligence services.
5/11 Jeff Sessions
The US attorney general was forced to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation after it was learned that he had lied about meeting with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
6/11 Carter Page
Mr Page is a former advisor to the Trump campaign and has a background working as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch. Mr Page met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Mr Page had invested in oil companies connected to Russia and had admitted that US Russia sanctions had hurt his bottom line.
7/11 Jeffrey "JD" Gorden
Mr Gordon met with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak during the 2016 Republian National Convention to discuss how the US and Russia could work together to combat Islamist extremism should then-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump win the election. The meeting came days before a massive leak of DNC emails that has been connected to Russia.
8/11 Jared Kushner
Mr Kushner is President Donald Trump's son-in-law and a key adviser to the White House. He met with a Russian banker appointed by Russian President Vladimir Putin in December. Mr Kushner has said he did so in his role as an adviser to Mr Trump while the bank says he did so as a private developer. Mr Kushner has also volunteered to testify in the Senate about his role helping to arrange meetings between Trump advisers and Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
9/11 James Comey
Mr Comey was fired from his post as head of the FBI by President Donald Trump. The timing of Mr Comey's firing raised questions around whether or not the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign may have played a role in the decision.
10/11 Preet Bharara
Mr Bahara refused, alongside 46 other US district attorney's across the country, to resign once President Donald Trump took office after previous assurances from Mr Trump that he would keep his job. Mr Bahara had been heading up several investigations including one into one of President Donald Trump's favorite cable television channels Fox News. Several investigations would lead back to that district, too, including those into Mr Trump's campaign ties to Russia, and Mr Trump's assertion that Trump Tower was wiretapped on orders from his predecessor.
11/11 Sally Yates
Ms Yates, a former Deputy Attorney General, was running the Justice Department while President Donald Trump's pick for attorney general awaited confirmation. Ms Yates was later fired by Mr Trump from her temporary post over her refusal to implement Mr Trump's first travel ban. She had also warned the White House about potential ties former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn to Russia after discovering those ties during the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's connections to Russia.
The AP-NORC poll of 1,068 adults was conducted June 8-11 using a sample drawn from NORC’s probability-based AmeriSpeak panel, which is designed to be representative of the US population. The margin of sampling error for all respondents is plus or minus 4.1 percentage points.
Respondents were first selected randomly using address-based sampling methods, and later interviewed online or by phone.
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