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Trump's Approval Rating Slips with 6 in 10 Americans Expecting a Recession

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Trump's Approval Rating Slips with 6 in 10 Americans Expecting a Recession

2019-09-10 22:49:041 Oct 2018 01:53 AM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

It just hasn't been a good week for Donald Trump, and it's only Tuesday. Sharpie-gate continues to mock him, he had to cancel his meeting with the Taliban and caught heat for even considering it, fired his national security adviser, and now the one thing that probably matters more to him than anything else: his approval rating slipped with many Americans believing we're headed toward a recession. 

The worst part of all that is that this is what he was counting on to ride to a 2020 reelection victory. He thought he could ride out the good economy, believing people would pay more mind to that than his immigration, health care, climate change, and foreign policy problems.

But the majority of the country appears to believe his foreign policy is damaging the economy. He's been pushing his trade war with China throughout much of his presidency, but it's not going well. Farmers are having a particularly tough time.  

On top of that, there are more budget disasters ahead for him. He never did get the budget he wanted earlier last year so declared a national emergency to get the money to build his border wall. But he took money from the Defense Department, leaving the country less safe.

And while there has been a temporary agreement for a new budget, It will increase the national debt much more than what was previously expected.  

All of that is leaving the country not feeling very secure, according to a new Washington Post/ABC poll.

Trump's approval rating among those of voting age is at 38 percent, down from 44 percent just two months ago. In April he had similar numbers with just 39 percent approving. 

Pulling from a different group, 56 percent of those of voting age in the country now say they disapprove of Trump's performance. Looking at registered voters, only 40 percent approve of Trump, with 55 percent disapproving. That's not good news for his reelection effort.

It's the concerns of the economy and Trump's handling of his China trade war that keep the distance with voters, the very things he was counting on riding to a second term in office. 

While 51 percent approved of Trump's job with the economy in July, just two months later it's now 46 percent, less than half.

During July's Wasington Post/ABC poll, the economy was the one area that gave Trump positive numbers, as more than half of those responding disapproved of the way he is handling immigration, health care, gun violence, climate change, and other issues. Now he doesn't even have the economy. 

The way he has handled the China trade war again comes into play with only 35 percent approving while 56 percent disapprove, and it's hard not to notice that those two numbers are similar to his overall handling of his job as president, with 38 percent approving and 56 percent disapproving.

Last November 65 percent rated the economy as "excellent" or "good," and now that figure is down to just 56 percent.  

When looking at the possibility the country will be in a recession next year, 6 in 10 respondents find it either "very likely" or "somewhat likely." In the fall of 2007 just before the last recession, 69 percent felt it was likely.

Two other surveys by the University of Michigan and the Conference Board found similar results in August, with lower consumer confidence because of lowered expectations for the economy in the near future. Yet still, ratings for the economy are positive in those polls. 

The stock market has struggled recently, with many seeing that as the indicator of an oncoming recession. Trump has laid blame on his Federal Reserve Board chair and has also considered a tax cut, then changed his mind.

43 percent believe Trump's policies for trade and the economy have increased the chance of a 2020 recession, compared to just 16 percent who feel the policies decreased the likelihood. 34 percent believe his policies have not made a difference. 

There is more of a difference between Democrats and Republicans and how they view the economy than there has been in more than 10 years.

Nine in 10 Republicans feel the economy is in excellent or good shape, while just 33 percent of Democrats can say the same. This gap is more than it was during the Obama administration when the largest gap was 43 percent. 

Another area where Trump should be worrying is with independents. The approval numbers for both the economy and Trump are down. 52 percent rate the economy positively, while 66 percent did the same last November. As with the general public, 6 in 10 feel a recession is at least somewhat likely next year.

An even 46 percent approve and disapprove of Trump's handling of the economy, while independents approved of this by 12 points more last July. 6 in 10 disapprove of the way the president has handled the China trade war, similar to the percentage of those who are worried the trade war will affect the prices of the items they buy. 

His approval rating overall with independents is really troubled, with just 36 percent approving of his job performance and 58 percent disapproving. Two months ago the numbers were closer with 43 percent approving and 54 percent disapproving.

Women and men have quite different views on Trump's job performance. An equal 47 percent approve and disapprove, while only 30 percent of women approve and 64 percent disapprove 

Nearly two-thirds of men feel the economy is good or excellent right now, while less than half the women can say the same. 57 percent of men feel a recession is likely compared to 62 percent of women.

Trump can't even count on his base right now for support when looking at possible price increases because of tariffs. 55 percent of whites without college degrees, 54 percent of people living in rural areas, and 45 percent of white evangelical Protestants are worried. 6 in 10 independents worry with an equal number of suburbanites.  

Trump has never fared well overall with minorities. Just 21 percent of non-whites approve of his job performance with 71 percent disapproving, compared to 48 percent of whites approving and 47 percent disapproving.

Despite all this, Trump said in a video posted over the weekend, "Our economy is strong, our country is great, we've never been in a better position," adding, "To all fellow American citizens: I say one simple word: congratulations." 

Trump should be very worried, instead of congratulating the country. With all the feel-good applause he gets in his rallies, it doesn't transfer to how the majority of the country feels. He needs the minority, women, and independent votes. He can't win on strictly white Republican men. And if the fears of a recession are realized, it seems he doesn't have a chance of reelection.

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