President Trump’s job approval rating hit a new low in November and has declined for three months straight, according to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll.
The survey found that 41 percent approve of the job Trump is doing, compared to 59 percent who disapprove. That’s down from a 45 percent approval in September and the previous low of 42 percent, which Trump hit in October. Trump peaked in the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll at 49 percent approval in March.
Trump’s 41 percent job approval rating in the Harvard CAPS/Harris survey is on the high end of where other surveys find him. According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Trump has a 38 percent job approval rating, a historic low for a first-term president at this point in the term.
Still, the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll found that Trump’s base is sticking with him – 79 percent of Republicans and 86 percent of Trump voters approve of the job he is doing. Trump slumps to only 38 percent approval among independents and is almost universally disliked among Democrats, African-Americans and Clinton voters.
The president, who returned this week from a 12-day swing through Asia, is only viewed favorably by 38 percent of voters. But voters view Republicans in Congress much worse – the GOP’s job approval rating is at 28 percent, with only a slim majority of Republicans, 52 percent, approving of the job their leaders are doing.
“Despite a strong trip, President Trump’s ratings remain at a low point for his presidency,” said Harvard CAPS/Harris co-director Mark Penn. “He is holding his base but the fratricide in the Republican Party puts a ceiling on his support — the Republican Party itself is has much lower ratings than Trump as it has failed to produce for the voters.”
The Republican-held Congress has largely failed to achieve any meaningful legislative victories during Trump’s first 301 days in office.
On Thursday, the House passed a sweeping tax reform bill, potentially setting the party on course to fulfill a key election year promise before the end of Trump’s first year in office.
The Harvard CAPS/Harris survey found that Republicans have their work cut out for them to sell the plan to the public.
A majority of voters – 54 percent – say they oppose the GOP’s tax-reform bill.
The same amount — 54 percent — say the GOP plan will hurt them financially. Three-quarters of Republicans say it will help them financially, while 77 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents say it will hurt them.
Those figures come even as 73 percent of voters say they support broad efforts to overhaul the tax code.
“There is enormous support for tax reform in the country and the Republicans are close to getting majority support for their bill but are falling short as Democrats have so far successfully challenged whether most people are actually getting a tax cut,” Penn said. “Most people think they are not getting a tax cut and Republicans need to fix that to unlock support.”
A majority of voters, 58 percent, say the country is on the wrong track. There is optimism on the economy, however, with 45 percent saying it is on the right track, compared to 37 percent who say it is headed the wrong way.
Trump gets high marks from voters on terrorism, the economy and stimulating jobs, but is underwater on immigration, foreign affairs and administering the government.
Trump gave a staunch defense this week of what he accomplished on his trip to Asia, but only 39 percent of voters said the trip went well. Fifty-four percent of voters say Trump is not improving as a diplomat and 57 percent disapprove of the way he is handling North Korea.
While he was overseas, Trump took to Twitter to mock North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as short and fat after Kim called him old and senile.
A strong majority of voters – 76 percent – say Trump should stop tweeting, including 59 percent of Republicans. Sixty-four percent say Trump’s tweets cause them to view him less favorably.
“Importantly, majorities continue to approve of the job Trump has done on the economy and terrorism — but tweets and the constant battles seen as divisive are holding his overall ratings down,” said Penn.
The president continues to be hampered by investigations into whether his campaign officials had improper contacts with Russia, although 64 percent of voters – and 53 percent of Democrats – say the investigations are hurting the country.
The survey found the public split on the question of Russian collusion, with 38 percent saying they believe special counsel Robert Mueller has found hard evidence of the Trump campaign colluding with Moscow, 36 percent saying there is no hard evidence and 27 percent saying they don’t know.
A plurality of voters wants to see an independent special counsel investigate both the Trump and Clinton campaigns.
Forty-four percent of voters surveyed said a special counsel is needed to investigate both campaigns. Twenty-seven percent said only Trump needs to be investigated, 21 percent said only Hillary Clinton needs to be investigated and nine percent said neither should be investigated.
“The public thinks these investigations are hurting rather than helping our democracy but if there are going to be investigations, overwhelming majorities support investigating the Clintons — over two-thirds would investigate either both campaigns or just Hillary’s campaign,” said Penn.
Voters are suspicious of Clinton’s campaign and its involvement in funding a salacious opposition research report about Trump, which was compiled by a British spy who was in touch with senior Russian officials.
There are questions about whether that dossier has been used by the FBI or the special counsel as part of investigations into Trump or his campaign.
Sixty-one percent say the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee, who jointly paid for the dossier after a conservative media outlet initiated the opposition research, should be investigated by a special counsel for their involvement.
Sixty-six percent of voters say the dossier is less credible because of the Democrats’ involvement and 58 percent say it cannot be relied upon for information.
In addition, 65 percent of voters say there should be an investigation into the $145 million contribution the Clinton Foundation from the owners of Uranium One, a Canadian firm that was sold to Russian investors when Hillary Clinton was secretary of State.
Voters are conflicted over Mueller. Thirty-three percent view him favorably, while 31 percent have an unfavorable view of him.
But 54 percent say his professional relationship and friendship with former FBI director James Comey represent a conflict of interest for him.
“Mueller is seen as having a significant conflict of interest — one large enough to typically disqualify a special counsel,” Penn said.
The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll is a collaboration of the Center for American Political Studies at Harvard and The Harris Poll. The Hill will be working with Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll throughout 2017.
The Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey is an online sample drawn from the Harris Panel and weighted to reflect known demographics. As a representative online sample, it does not report a probability confidence interval.