But he's still not the most popular Trump
The President’s approval rating has once again been buoyed by public perception of a strong economy. Despite the very public rift over trade policy with US allies at last weekend’s G-7 meeting, Americans once again find the economy improving. One week after the report of the lowest unemployment rate in decades, 42% of Americans approve of how Donald Trump is handling his job as President, and fewer than half disapprove.
The same rise in approval to above 40% (with disapproval below 50%) happened one month ago, after the jobless rate first dropped below 4.0%. It is now 3.8%. But over the last month, the President’s approval rating slipped back below 40% in polls conducted between the two positive jobless reports.
Not everyone has gained economic benefit. As many say their own family’s financial situation has gotten worse in the last year as say that it has improved. 21% give each answer. Those assessments are related to partisanship: 38% of Republicans believe their family’s financial situation has improved in the last year, nearly four times as high as the share of Democrats who report this. And only 8% of Republicans say their financial situation has worsened, compared with more than a quarter of Democrats.
Positive impact of economic changes on the family is also higher among those with higher family incomes.
The good news on the President’s performance rating extends to the perception of how he is handling the economy – 45% approve, and just 37% disapprove.
Despite the recent gains, the President is not the public’s favorite Trump. That would be First Lady Melania Trump. In this week’s poll, taken after her re-emergence in public after kidney surgery last month, Mrs. Trump is viewed more favorably than her husband or any other member of the Trump family. Twice as many Americans approve of how she is handling her job than disapprove.
Two months ago, 46% approved of how the First Lady was handling her job while 26% disapproved.
More than a quarter of Democrats (28%) approve of the First Lady’s performance, though nearly half disapprove. But only one in ten Democrats approve of the President’s job performance, while 86% disapprove. The others members of the Trump family have lower favorable ratings than the First Lady. As many are unfavorable towards First Daughter Ivanka Trump as are favorable. And the men in the Trump family fare even worse with the public. All, including the President, are seen negatively.
Republicans retain favorable views of every Trump family member. 54% of Republicans have a favorable opinion of senior advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner; even more are favorable towards the other male Trumps.
While the economy is a bright spot for the President (we do not yet know the impact of his North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on public opinion), the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign continues to have potential to damage the President. More continue to support the initiation of the investigation than oppose it (47% to 28%), though half of Republicans disapprove of the naming of a Special Counsel. Approval of Robert Mueller’s handling of that job is mixed and divided on party lines. But there is little support for firing him: 13% overall say the President should fire Mueller, nearly half (47%) say he should not. Even Republicans narrowly oppose firing the Special Counsel.
A majority of Republicans, however, do believe the President is being framed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Justice. The public overall disagrees.
Perhaps the most potentially problematic poll findings have to do with what Americans believe the President’s role has been since the investigation began. 44% of the public thinks the President has attempted to influence the investigation; 31% disagree.
In addition, 45% of Americans, close to half the country, believe the President has committed something that might be considered a serious crime. One in four disagrees (including 57% of Republicans). For most who believe the President has done something seriously wrong, it involves the campaign. But for just as many, his culpability involves actions outside of the campaign investigation.