Presidential approval polls confirm most Americans haven't lost their minds or their consciences

To sum up, the overwhelming majority of Americans think he is a lying, divisive hothead who is making race relations much worse

Jennifer Rubin
Friday 25 August 2017 08:07 BST
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President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally in Phoenix, Arizona (REUTERS)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

The Quinnipiac poll confirms that most Americans haven’t lost their minds or their consciences:

President Donald Trump is doing more to divide the country, 62 percent of voters say, while 31 percent say he is doing more to unite the country, his worst score on this question, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll released this week.

President Trump gets a negative 35 – 59 per cent overall job approval rating, down from a negative 39 – 57 per cent rating in an August 17. . . Every party, gender, education, age and racial group disapproves except Republicans, who approve 77 – 14 per cent; white voters with no college, approving 52 – 40 per cent, and white men, who approve by a narrow 50 – 46 per cent. American voters disapprove 60 – 32 per cent of Trump’s response to the events in Charlottesville.

That’s not all. According to the poll, “Voters disapprove 63 – 31 per cent, including 56 – 38 per cent among white voters, of the way Trump is handling race relations. The president does not care about issues facing minority groups, voters say 60 – 37 per cent, including 52 – 45 per cent among white voters.” And he even managed to make the media credible — well, by comparison. (“American voters disapprove 55 – 40 per cent of the way the news media covers Trump, and disapprove 62 – 35 percent of the way the president talks about the media. Voters trust the media more than Trump 54 – 36 per cent ‘to tell you the truth about important issues.'”)

He is also in double-digit deficits on qualities such as honesty, good leadership skills, being level-headed (68 per cent, including about a third of Republicans, say he is not) and sharing voters’ values. The intensity of his critics (54 per cent strongly disapprove) is double that of his fans (27 per cent strongly approve). Maybe most humiliating for Trump is that voters by a 49 to 40 per cent margin say we’d be better off with Hillary Clinton. Moreover, nearly all of the poll was taken before Trump’s Phoenix meltdown. The one bright spot for him: Most Americans (50 to 39 per cent) don’t want to take down Confederate statues.

To sum up, the overwhelming majority of Americans thinks he is a lying, divisive hothead who is making race relations much worse. Trump barely has majority support (52 per cent) among his most loyal segment of the electorate (whites with no college education). He has managed to turn off just about everyone else. He knows how to feed his base red meat but not how to earn the respect and confidence of everyone else. Several thousand people in an auditorium in Phoenix, it turns out, bear little resemblance to the country as a whole.

Trump can read off a teleprompter as he did in announcing his Afghanistan policy on Monday, behave like a madman on Tuesday and revert to a perfectly adequate (though wooden) speech to veterans on Wednesday. While some Americans might suffer from whiplash, most, we suspect, have figured out which is the real Trump is and which is the Trump who is playing the dummy to ventriloquists trying desperately to protect the country (e.g., Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and national security adviser H.R. McMaster).

Trump cannot operate off script without losing his cool and revealing his ignorance; his moments of restraint never last long. When he reads other people’s words and expresses sentiments not his own his delivery is flat and stilted. Only when he is in full rage-mode does he become animated. He must distract and attack lest the focus fall on him and his lack of accomplishments.

This is a man plainly driven by hate, resentment and maybe a little fear — yes, fear that the presidency is beyond his abilities and severely taxing his meager intellectual and emotional resources. Don’t expect him to improve. Failure begets more rage, which begets greater rejection by the public. It would be pathetic if it were not petrifying.

Washington Post

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