President Donald Trump’s approval rating has rebounded to its highest level since the 100-day mark of his presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, even as his approval ratings for handling major issues remain largely negative.
CNN Poll coverage
Overall, 42% approve of the way Trump is handling the presidency, 54% disapprove. Approval is up 7 points overall since February, including 6-point increases among Republicans (from 80% to 86% now) and independents (from 35% to 41% now). Trump’s approval rating remains below that of all of his modern-era predecessors at this stage in their first term after being elected, though Trump only trails Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama by a narrow 4 points at this point in their first terms.
Trump’s approval ratings have seesawed over the last four CNN polls – from 35% in December up to 40% in January, down to 35% in February and back up to 42% now. Looking at intensity of approval, however, the share who strongly approve of Trump’s performance (28% in the new poll) and strongly disapprove (46%) have held relatively steady over a similar time frame, suggesting the fluctuation in Trump’s ratings comes largely among those whose views on the President aren’t that deeply held.
The President’s strongest approval ratings on the issues come on the economy, the only issue tested where his reviews tilt more positive than negative: 48% approve and 45% disapprove. That isn’t the case on foreign trade, however, the economic issue on which Trump has most recently taken action, implementing tariffs aimed at Chinese imports, steel and aluminum. On trade generally, 38% approve of the President’s work while 50% disapprove.
Trump’s handling of foreign affairs merits 39% approval, with 53% saying they disapprove. The poll also found that 47% believe the President has been too easy on Russia so far, while 41% feel his handling of Russia has been about right. The poll was completed just before the announcement Monday morning of the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomats from the U.S.
A majority (54%) disapprove of the way the president has handled gun policy, while 36% approve, roughly the same as in February.
Nearly two-thirds believe affair allegations
The survey results follow a tumultuous period for the President and his administration, in which allegations of extramarital affairs and efforts to cover them up have swirled and several members of Trump’s Cabinet and team of top advisers have faced scandals of their own or been replaced outright.
Although the turmoil does not seem to have negatively affected Trump’s overall approval rating, the public expresses sharp doubts about Trump’s side of the story on the affair allegations, rates Trump’s Cabinet and top advisers as generally less qualified and less in touch than previous presidential appointees, and hasn’t moved much on questions of Trump’s character.
Almost two-thirds of Americans say they believe the women alleging affairs with Trump over the president (63% say so), while just 21% say they believe Trump’s denials of those affairs. And about half (51%) say the two women pursuing lawsuits seeking to free themselves from non-disclosure agreements relating to any relationship they may have had with Trump ought to be free to discuss those alleged relationships.
There are party and gender divides on both questions. Women are more apt than men to say they believe the women claiming affairs (70% to 54%) and that holds even among those who are Republicans or lean toward the Republican party (45% of women who consider themselves GOP or lean that way say they believe the women compared with just 25% of GOP and GOP-leaning men). Democrats are far more apt than Republicans to say the women should be free from their NDAs (78% among Democrats, 49% among independents and 25% among Republicans say so), and while women b