Things are looking bad for Donald Trump in the polls. His attack on the grieving, pregnant widow of the soldier who died in Niger, Sergeant La David Johnson and his abysmal response to Puerto Rico’s devastating hurricane have not helped him. People have begun to figure out the depths of Trump’s character issues, and the latest Harvard-Harris poll is telling.
In just one month, the president’s approval rate dropped like a rock, down three points from September. Trump’s favorable ratings in September were better due to his rapid actions after hurricanes pummeled Texas and Florida. Yet, it did not take long for the president’s obvious lack of empathy for the Gold Star families and people drinking foul water on the island of Puerto Rico to surface.
In October, 58 percent of the people interviewed in the Harvard-Harris poll disapproved of the job Trump was doing, while 42 percent approved. Since September, 45 also created a storm of controversy over football players who knelt during the national anthem to protest police violence against people of color.
The survey did show that 57 percent of voters thought that the NFL football players should stand during the national anthem. A full 90 percent of the Republicans said this, 55 percent of the Independents, and just 31 percent of the Democrats.
The ongoing feuds within the Republican Party have not helped matters. Former White House chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, has been going after the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. The former strategist has promised that he will actively work to take down any congressional member who does not support Trump.
Clearly, the poll respondents objected to the way Trump treated the three and one-half million Americans who suffered a terrible blow when Hurricane Maria blew destruction across the island. At last count, 85 percent of them had no electricity, and a full third of them had no safe drinking water. Trump jetted down for a day and ended up tossing paper towels to a crowd of people who had no water, then he left an hour early.
With the governor of Puerto Rico, Ricardo Rossello, sitting by his side in the White House, the president gave himself a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 for his actions handling the hurricane’s destruction. People disagreed. The Harvard-Harris poll showed that 51 percent of voters believed his response was worse than that after the hurricanes blasted through the Gulf states.
Harvard-Harris Co-director Mark Penn said Trump’s “way of responding to people” caused the dip in polls:
‘Trump has a strong economy and majority support for the job he is doing on the economy – normally enough to shoot any president’s ratings sky-high. But the intraparty war and dust kicked up on Puerto Rico and his way of responding has people on edge about his leadership. He continues to maintain his tweets work for him despite the evidence they divide critical swing voters from his appeal.’
The majority of the pollees, 60 percent, felt that the country is on the wrong track. Yet, 62 percent said that the economy was “strong,” which is an unusual combination.
The president held firm on his base with 80 percent of all Republicans reporting that they approved of how he was doing. Trump was far more popular than any of the GOP congressional leadership or the Republican party.
Trump’s job approval rating for immigration and foreign affairs was especially low, 38 percent. The president showed 50 percent approval for his handling of terrorism. On the economy, he came in at over 50 percent.
Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin came in with a 30 percent favorable rating and a 51 percent unfavorable rating. Republican Majority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky did worse than Ryan in this poll with a 16 percent favorable rating versus a 52 unfavorable rating.
As far as impeachment of the president goes, a full 42 percent favor it, 43 percent said take no action, and 15 percent want Congress to censure him.
The Harvard-Harris Poll was conducted online with a sample of 2,159 registered voters, 36 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican, 28 percent Independent, and 4 percent other. The Harvard-Harris Poll is a joint effort between the Harvard Center for American Political Studies and The Harris Poll. The survey was conducted between October 14 and 18.
This survey does not reflect a probability confidence interval. Harvard-Harris will post the complete poll results online by the end of the week.
Featured image via Getty Images.