Summertime blues for Congress; continued concerns for Trump

August 09, 2017, 6:45 PM GMT+0

Only 28% of Americans want President Trump to run for a second term in 2020

The summer break – for both President and Congress – may give both a chance to recoup from their problems. Donald Trump continues to lag in his approval rating (37% in this week’s Economist/YouGov Poll, matching his lowest rating), and just over one in four want him to run for re-election. But Congress fares even worse. And while the President has gained back a little of the support that he lost last week from Republicans, evaluations of Congress are poor for Americans of all political persuasions.

Just 11% of the public approve of how Congress is handling its job, among the lowest ratings this year. Even Republicans, whose party controls both Houses of Congress, give Congress an approval rating of only 18%. Republicans are less likely than Democrats to hold favorable views of their own party members in Congress, and fewer than half approve of the way their Congressional party leaders – Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell – are doing their jobs.

In fact Republican are more likely to disapprove of McConnell’s performance than approve of it, the first time that has happened all year.

Both this week and last week (after the lack of any action in the Senate on the GOP promise to repeal and replace Obamacare) half the public (48%) said Congress had accomplished less than usual. Half of that group blame both parties equally – but when they do see one party as more responsible than the other, they blame the GOP by more than two to one. 40% of Republicans agree that Congress has done even less than usual, and while they may want to blame Democrats for what is happening, more than half say both parties are to blame.

As for Donald Trump, Republicans are feeling a little better this week, after the chaotic week of Obamacare repeal defeat and the hiring and quick dismissal of former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci. Last week, only 35% of Republicans said they strongly approved of the way the President was handling his job, a drop of 13 point in one week. The President has recouped half that drop this week: 42% of Republicans now say they strongly approve.

The failure to repeal Obamacare affected another presidential evaluation. Two weeks ago, half the public (and two in three Republicans) agreed that “Donald Trump can get people to do what he wants.” That percentage today is down nine points among the public overall, and down seven points among Republicans.

This poll was completed before another crisis developed: North Korean nuclear development and the President’s promise to bring “fire and fury” in response to a North Korean attack.

It’s still very early, but right now, the President lacks support in 2020. Just 28% of the public want him to run for a second term as President. It’s no surprise that the overwhelming majority of those who disapprove of how President Trump is doing his job don’t want him to run, but many who approve aren’t sure what they would like.

For example, as of this weekend, only 60% of Republicans favored a Trump run in 2020. The strength of approval among Republicans (and the public overall) matters greatly when Americans answer this question. Strong approval is down from the start of the Trump presidency, particularly among Republicans. 90% of those who strongly approve of how the President is handling his job want him to run again, but less than half of those who only approve “somewhat” want a Trump candidacy in 2020.

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