Trump's approval rating is tanking as his futile shutdown scheme backfires

Trump's approval rating is tanking as his futile shutdown scheme backfires
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock
Donald J. Trump/Shutterstock

Once upon a time, President Donald Trump was so confident that the threat of a government shutdown would bend Congress to his will on the border wall that he told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), directly on camera, "I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck ... I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I'm not going to blame you for it."


A month into what is now the longest shutdown ever, with hundreds of thousands of government employees going without pay and waiting in breadlines, millions of low-income people facing hunger or eviction as public programs freeze, and Senate Republicans derailing all spending negotiations with anti-refugee poison pills, Trump may be sorely regretting those words.

A new poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research released Wednesday found absolutely devastating numbers for the president. His approval rating, which was already at an anemic 42 percent at the beginning of the shutdown, has crashed to 34 percent, and his rating with independents is 28 percent, nearly as low as it has ever been.

While Trump has since desperately tried to change tack and blame Democrats for the blockade he created, the poll found that, true to his original promise to own the shutdown, 60 percent of Americans blame him for it. Among those who blame Congress for the standstill, a larger number of Americans blame the GOP lawmakers trying to enact Trump's will than the Democratic lawmakers resisting it — 36 percent vs 31 percent.

This is not an outlier. One by one, the "live-caller" polls — considered to be the good standard of polling — have shown Trump's approval sliding as the shutdown drags on.

Since the shutdown began, Trump has tried everything to turn public opinion in his favor, including two televised White House addresses. He had also hoped to attack Democrats in his State of the Union address that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has now banned him from giving from the House floor — although it might not have made any difference anyway, as presidents rarely move the needle with such speeches.

Trump clearly started a fight he cannot win. He needs to start working out an exit strategy before his numbers crater completely.

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