New polls signal Americans are disappointed in Trump with just 100 days left until the election

New polls signal Americans are disappointed in Trump with just 100 days left until the election
PBS NewsHour

Sunday marked 100 days until President Donald Trump is expected to face off against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden—and new polls on the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, and the opinions of voters in key battleground states suggest Americans are increasingly unhappy with Trump.


National polling results released Sunday by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 80% of U.S. adults across the political spectrum think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Only 8% of Democrats and 31% of Republicans—both record lows—say the nation is headed in the right direction.

Approval of Trump's handling the Covid-19 pandemic also hit a record low, with just 32% respondents saying they approve. Similarly, only 36% said they approve of how the president has handled education and healthcare. Although more respondents (48%) said they approve of how Trump has handled the economy, that percentage still represented a significant drop from January, before the pandemic led tens of thousands of Americans to lose their jobs with limited support from the federal government.

Overall, 61% of Americans currently disapprove of Trump's performance as president, which is a slight drop from earlier this year but still aligns with the public opinion throughout his first term. The poll was conducted July 16-20 and the margin of sampling error for all adults is +/- 4.3 percentage points.

Mounting frustration with the president could benefit Biden at the ballot box. As the AP reported in a piece about the polling results Sunday:

Biden's campaign is eager to keep the final months of the campaign focused squarely on Trump, confident that the former vice president can emerge victorious if the contest is a referendum on whether the current commander in chief has succeeded during his four years in office.

"People are sick and tired of a government that is divided and broken and unable to get things done," said Kate Bedingfield, Biden's deputy campaign manager. "What people feel like they're getting from Trump right now is a hodgepodge mess of self-interested political talk."

Biden is now leading in three battleground states that Trump won in the 2016 general election, according to CNN polling conducted by SSRS and released Sunday.

Among registered voters, the polling showed, the former vice president leads the current president 52% to 40% in Michigan, 51% to 46% in Florida,and 49% to 45% in Arizona. Trump's overall disapproval rating is also notable in all three states: 57% in Michigan, 54% in Arizona, and 51% in Florida.

An even greater share of voters across all three states—60% in Arizona, 59% in Michigan, and 57% in Florida—disapprove of how Trump has handled the Covid-19 crisis, the pollsters found. The surveys were conducted July 18-24 and have a margin of sampling error of +/- 3.6 percentage points.

The polls on Sunday followed survey results released Friday by MoveOn Political Action that suggested Trump's ongoing crackdown on protests in Portland, Oregon and his threats to send federal agents into other major U.S. cities could have consequences at the ballot box for not only him but also Republican senators facing re-election.

Those surveys conducted by Public Policy Polling showed that registered voters in Arizona, Maine, and North Carolina "don't like what [Trump] is doing and are fed up" with Sens. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.) "carrying water for him as he trundles toward authoritarianism," tweeted MoveOn.

The advocacy group called on Congress to pass legislation to block the administration from replicating the conditions in Portland in other cities and "investigate this abuse of Trump's power." MoveOn added that "we all need to do our part, including by voting out Trump and his enablers."

Stewart Boss, a spokesperson for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, told The Hill Sunday that voters have rushed to support Democratic candidates as Trump has seen his approval ratings drop during the pandemic and resulting economic crisis.

"While Republicans have mismanaged the response to this unprecedented public health and economic crisis, our momentum has grown as Democrats have expanded the Senate map and our potential paths to ending Mitch McConnell's majority with 100 days to go," Boss said, referencing the upper chamber's GOP leader.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a former presidential primary candidate who is now a contender for Biden's vice presidency, wrote in a series of tweets Sunday that there are only 100 days until the election, the country is facing multiple crises, "and Trump is unable to govern at even the most elementary level."

"The next 100 days will decide what kind of country we build together," Warren concluded. "We know this won't be easy. Nothing important ever is. We don't take on this fight because it's easy—we take on this fight because it's right. And I'm proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with you in it."

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