Trump's Approval Rating Drops Back To His Worst With 2 New Polls

Gun policy looms as key threat to president's support, polls find.

Donald Trump’s approval rating has slumped again to match the lowest of his presidency, according to two new polls.

The surveys were conducted amid mounting activism for gun control and security clearance problems in the White House. Support for stricter gun laws has spiked to the highest level since 1993 and Americans aren’t happy with Trump’s position on the issue, CNN has found.

Despite Trump’s bullish take on his performance, the president’s approval rating fell five points over last month to 35 percent, according to a CNN survey, conducted by polling firm SSRS. That number matches the lowest rating of his presidency in December.

A separate poll by USA Today and Suffolk University’s Political Research Center found similar results, with the president’s approval rating also slipping to match the lowest point that survey has found at 38 percent, with 60 percent disapproving of the job he’s doing.

Gun control looks to be a particular problem for the president.

The CNN poll was conducted Feb. 20 to 23 amid outrage over guns in the wake of the Parkland school shooting that killed 17 people. Only a third of those polled approve of how Trump is handling gun control policy, with 54 percent disapproving, the CNN poll found. Just over 12 percent of those surveyed said they have yet to make up their mind on the issue.

CNN’s poll on the gun issue found that 70 percent of those surveyed now back stricter gun laws. That’s up significantly from 52 percent who took that position in an October survey shortly after the mass shooting in Las Vegas killed 58 people. Just 27 percent of those polled oppose more stringent laws, CNN found in its latest poll.

An increasing proportion of Americans are worried that they or a family member will become a victim of gun violence. Almost six in 10 people (57 percent) are worried now — compared with 44 percent after the 2016 mass shooting in Orlando. Fears are higher among parents of children under the age of 18 (62 percent to 55 percent for non-parents), CNN found.

The USA Today poll found that 76 percent (to 12 percent) of those polled believe that people who have been treated for mental illness should be prohibited from owning guns. The accused gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School had reportedly been treated for mental illness. Despite Trump’s expressed support to toughen up background checks for gun purchases, he and Congress a year ago rolled back stricter checks on people with mental illnesses who purchase guns.

The survey also found that 63 percent (to 29 percent) of those polled believe that semi-automatic guns like the AR-15 used by the Florida shooter should be banned. The president has said he would support raising the minimum age for buying such firearms from 18 to 21, but hasn’t supported a ban and is not likely to.

The USA Today survey also found that 66 percent (to 33 percent) of those polled believe tightening gun-control laws and background checks would prevent more mass shootings.

Of those polled, only 19 percent believe there’s a ‘good to excellent’ chance Congress will take action on gun control in the foreseeable future.

The polls were also taken during more bad news for the administration, including new charges against former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and following revelations of domestic abuse allegations against staffers in the White House amid continuing concerns about the lack of security clearance for personnel.

Among the least supportive groups for Trump in the CNN survey, the president’s approval stands at just five percent among Democrats, 22 percent among Americans ages 35 and younger, 23 percent among non-whites and 29 percent among women. Only 35 percent of independents approve of Trump’s performance in the White House.

Among Republicans, 80 percent approve of Trump’s performance, though that’s down a point from Trump’s lowest rating among self-described party members last September. Among people over 50, 43 percent approve of the job Trump is doing, and 42 percent of all men give him a favorable rating.

Trump’s approval rating is well behind former presidents at this point in their presidency: 12 percent behind the previous low set by Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, and 14 percent behind Barack Obama.

The CNN poll has a sampling margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points, but it’s larger for subgroup surveys. The USA Today poll has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

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