President Donald Trump continues to lag his predecessors in public approval and his unpopularity appears to be trickling down to other Republicans in Washington.
Trump’s approval rating, according to a new Pew Research Center survey released Monday, is 39 percent — precisely the same as two months ago. The percentage of Americans who disapprove of Trump is virtually unchanged: 54 percent, compared to 56 percent in February.
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Forty-four percent of Americans disapprove of Trump very strongly, according to the poll conducted April 5-11, more than the 30 percent who approve very strongly.
The most profound shifts in the Pew survey are in Americans’ perceptions of the GOP beyond Trump. Just 40 percent of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, down from 47 percent in January, prior to Trump’s inauguration.
The Democratic Party, however, isn’t faring dramatically better — views of the Democratic Party also ticked down from 51 percent in January to 45 percent now.
On the issues, Americans trust Republicans over Democrats on dealing with the threat of terrorism by a 12-point margin, 48 percent to 36 percent. The GOP also has a 5-point edge on gun policy, 46 percent to 41 percent.
Americans are more evenly divided on the economy and trade, with Republicans holding 3-point advantages on each, and on taxes. But more Americans think Democrats would do a better job on a number of other issues, including some that were previously GOP strengths.
By an 8-point margin, Americans say Democrats better represent their views on government spending, 48 percent to 40 percent. In January 2013, just days after lawmakers avoided the so-called “fiscal cliff” by passing spending and taxation provisions, Republicans held a 6-point advantage on this question.
Americans now trust Democrats over Republicans when it comes to dealing with immigration, 50 percent to 39 percent. In nine separate Pew surveys conducted over the course of Barack Obama’s second term as president, the two parties were never separated by more than 2 points on this question.
On foreign policy, Americans have shifted drastically toward Democrats: Forty-nine percent say the party would do a better job, compared with 36 percent who trust the GOP more. But last April, more Americans trusted Republicans (46 percent) than Democrats (38 percent).
Health care has represented the GOP’s most concerted domestic effort so far, and the poll shows little confidence in the party moving forward. A 54 percent majority says Democrats would do a better job on health care, far greater than the 35 percent who say Republicans would do a better job.
Trump struggled to unite the disparate factions among Republicans in the fight to replace the 2010 Affordable Care Act, and 68 percent of poll respondents describe the GOP as “mostly divided” on issues and its vision for the future. By comparison, 48 percent say Democrats are mostly divided.
The internecine battles have also taken a toll on House Speaker Paul Ryan’s popularity, the poll suggests. A majority of Americans, 54 percent, disapprove of the way Ryan is handling his job, while only 29 percent approve. That puts Ryan on par with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; Pelosi’s low approval ratings during the first two years of Obama’s presidency resulted in successful Republican efforts to tie Democratic candidates to the unpopular speaker.
The Pew Research Center poll surveyed 1,501 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.9 percentage points.