After months of relatively stability, President Donald Trump’s numbers are again showing signs of a downward shift in the latest polls.
Trump’s average approval rating has slumped to a new low of less than 38 percent as of Wednesday afternoon, according to HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate of publicly available surveys. More than 58 percent say they disapprove.
Trump’s exact numbers vary from survey to survey. But national polls released this week ― including Quinnipiac, Gallup, Rasmussen, and YouGov ― all show he’s now faring worse than he was at the end of June and beginning of July.
What’s behind the drop? Trump’s White House has certainly seen its share of chaos in the past few weeks. And tracking polls may sometimes exaggerate the degree to which the president’s approval is shifting, due both to random noise and to a phenomenon called “differential partisan nonresponse” ― people’s reduced tendency to take surveys when the politician they like isn’t doing so well.
But there’s one obvious possible culprit for the drop in Trump’s numbers: the GOP’s failed attempt to repeal Obamacare.
Unlike the other controversies that have surrounded Trump’s administration without obvious effect, health care seems to have taken a toll on the president. Back in March, Republicans’ initial inability to pass a bill in the House coincided with a significant dip in Trump’s approval. (More recent wrangling in the Senate had previously seemed to have less effect, possibly because, up until last week’s showdown, media coverage had been far more subdued.)
Beneath the top-line approval numbers are several other troubling trends for the president in this week’s surveys.
Quinnipiac’s latest poll shows concerns about the president’s relationship with Russia have failed to pick up much steam, and have been holding steady all year. But perceptions of his strength have diminished. Just 34 percent say Trump has good leadership skills, down from 44 percent in June, and 56 percent immediately after the election in November.
Although Trump’s base remains largely behind him, enthusiasm appears to have taken a noticeable dip in the past week, according to at least one survey. While 85 percent of Trump voters approve of the president, according to the Economist/YouGov poll, just 43 percent say they approve of him strongly. That’s down from a majority who said so in most of the outlet’s past surveys.