Trump is Really Slipping

Newly Released Polls Show Trump's Support in Core Areas is Taking a Hit

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A new August 2019 poll recently released by NBC News and The Wall Street Journal shows polling numbers that do not favor Donald Trump or his recent policies including trade, gun control and favorability.

Only 43% agree with the job Trump is doing as President, which marks a 2 point drop since July, while his disapproval rating is up 3 points to 55%. Over the weekend, Trump went after Fox News in the press after they released their recent poll showing him easily losing the 2020 election to the top four Democratic presidential primary candidates.

Considering Trump’s symbiotic relationship with Fox News, and the well known power he yields over the network’s content, this departure in Trump’s rhetoric and his willingness to turn on allies is significant. Fox puts his favorability rating at 42%, with 56% of respondents disapproving of his job performance, which means his existing level of support is lower than his approval rating overall. Compare this to his top four opponents who each have a net favorability rating from the Fox poll that Trump no longer has. Additionally, Trump benefitted greatly in 2016 from voters who disapproved of both major-party candidates by 50 to 39 percent margin in national exit polls. If these numbers hold and Democratic candidates continue to maintain a positive favorability, Trump’s in real trouble.

Trump has clearly widened his attack on all media by including Fox, and his recent dissatisfaction over the weekend caused him to lash out further against Fox’s lack of access to Democratic Debates. He seems to think he has control over the 2020 Debates and falsely told the press, “I'm the one that calls the shots on that — on the really big debates.” The reality is that the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has sponsored general-election presidential debates in every election since 1988, is not controlled by any political party or outside organization and does not endorse, support or oppose political candidates or parties.

Another indicator of Trump’s slipping numbers can be found in the NBC/WSJ poll on the issue of trade. According to this latest poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans say they support free trade with foreign countries, which is a new high for this survey on this question and represents a 7-point increase from the last time it was asked in 2017. In the poll, 64% of Americans, across both parties, agree with the statement that “free trade is good for America, because it opens up new markets, and the country can’t avoid the fact of a global economy.” The percentage of those favoring free trade is up 13 points from 2015 and 7 points from 2017, with means that Democrats and Independents are becoming increasingly supportive of free trade amid Trump’s trade war escalation with China.

The same NBC/WSJ poll also saw a significant majority of Americans supporting substantial gun restrictions, likely in response to the latest shootings in El Paso and Dayton:

  • 89% say they favor Congress expanding background checks to all firearm sales and transfers, including 75 percent who “strongly” support that

  • 76% support “red flag” laws that help law enforcement temporarily remove guns from those deemed to pose a danger to themselves or others

  • 75% favor a voluntary program where the government would buy back firearms that people no longer want

  • 62% want to ban the sale of selected semi-automatic firearms referred to as assault weapons

The country still remains divided on the gun debate overall. Fifty percent of Americans are more concerned that the government won’t do enough to regulate access to firearms, versus 45% who are more concerned the government will go too far in restricting gun rights. The numbers above that now reflect that Americans favor all of these various restrictions is significant. Trump is taking substantial heat for his mis-handling of mass shootings and the GOP’s refusal to budge at all on common sense regulations. Half of Americans disapprove of Trump’s response to mass shootings and 68% worry the U.S. will see another attack by white nationalists. The possibility that voters are now fully equating these racist shooters with Trump and his rhetoric doesn’t bode well for his re-elecion.

If these numbers hold, the only thing that could keep Trump afloat is the economy he continues to take credit for. Given recent concerns over the stability of the markets, a dangerous reliance on consumer spending and the effects of his trade war, it does not seem likely that things will remain stable leading into 2020. The shaky aspects of the economy will be up for grabs for any Democratic challenger, and considering Trump’s lack of support in what were previously core areas, the only place to go for him is down. It also seems as if the Trump Campaign’s decision to focus on his base of support, rather than seeking out any new supporters is not working well based on his negative favorability. Bottom line: If the economy goes, he goes.

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Amee Vanderpool writes the “Shero” Newsletter and is an attorney, contributor to Playboy Magazine, analyst for BBC radio and Director of The Inanna Project. She can be reached at avanderpool@gmail.com or follow her on Twitter @girlsreallyrule.