Overall, the poll paints a picture of a President who has done little to improve negative impressions of him or his work during his time in office. Across several questions asked early in Trump’s time in office and asked again now, the poll finds little positive change and deep partisan polarization.
The 60% who say the President does not deserve to be reelected is similar to the 63% who felt that way in November 2017. That outpaces his most recent predecessors at a similar stage in their presidencies. In October 2003, a CNN/Gallup/USA Today poll found that 52% of Americans thought George W. Bush did deserve reelection, and Gallup’s polling in 2011 found the share saying Barack Obama did not deserve to be reelected stood in the low 50s.
The President’s approval rating remains about where it was in mid-August, with 39% approving of the job he’s doing and 55% disapproving. Although any change in the last few weeks has not been large enough to be statistically significant, his disapproval rating is the highest it’s been since early February, with approval the lowest since January.
Trump’s approval ratings for handling major issues are largely stagnant, with what little movement there is heading in the wrong direction for the President. His approval rating for handling the economy has dipped below 50% for the first time since early this year, and his ratings have worsened at least slightly on foreign trade, foreign affairs and environmental policy.
The President’s approval rating for handling immigration has held roughly steady, but the 59% who currently disapprove is numerically the highest since just before last year’s midterm elections. A majority (52%) say Trump’s policies on immigration do too much to limit immigration to the US, 24% consider them about right and 20% say they do not go far enough.
In one encouraging finding for the President in the poll, there has been a slight increase over the last two years in the share of registered voters who say he deserves to be reelected, from 35% in November 2017 to 39% now. And among those who are most enthusiastic about voting next year, the share who see the President as deserving of a second term is higher, at 43%. Still, even among that group, 55% say he ought not to be reelected.
Compared with early this year, more overall now say that the President has changed the country for the worse. Among all adults, 80% say the President has created significant changes in the country, up from 76% who felt that way in early February. That includes 45% who say the President has changed things for the worse, up from 37% who said so in the survey earlier this year. Thirty-three percent say Trump has changed the country for the better and 2% said the change hasn’t been for better or worse or were undecided about what the change meant.
That shift comes mostly from independents and Democrats. Among Republicans, 73% say the President has changed the country for the better — that stood at 70% in February. Among independents, the share who say Trump has changed things for the worse shifted from 35% in February to 47% now. Among Democrats, that share has increased from 62% to 69%.
Further, 51% say Trump is doing a poor job keeping important promises he made during the presidential campaign and 43% say he’s doing a good job. That’s a reversal since April, when 50% said he was doing a good job and 46% a poor one. That change comes almost entirely among independents, 51% of whom said he was doing a good job keeping his promises in April, that now stands at 38%.
The President’s volatile summer — including several sudden shifts on policy on guns and trade as well as stubborn defenses of demonstrably untrue statements — has not led to a worsening of public trust in official communications from the White House. Overall, 71% say they trust only some or nothing at all of what they hear from official White House communications, about the same as the 68% who felt that way in late 2017. Just 9% say they trust almost all of what they hear from the White House, and another 19% say they trust most of it.
Trust in the White House remains sharply polarized along party lines, with a majority of Republicans saying they trust most of what they hear from the White House (58%), while most independents trust only some or less (65%) and a majority of Democrats say they trust nothing at all that they hear from the White House (52%).
Americans are also no more confident now than at the outset of the President’s time in office that handing over control of the Trump Organization to his adult sons has done enough to prevent conflicts of interest. In the new poll, 60% say that does not go far enough to prevent those conflicts, about the same as the 62% who felt that way just before the President was sworn in.
Skepticism that the arrangement keeps the President from having a conflict of interest crosses demographic lines, but again, partisans are divided on the matter. Two-thirds of Republicans (67%) say the setup does do enough to prevent conflicts compared with just 30% of independents and 10% of Democrats.
The CNN Poll was conducted by SSRS from September 5 through 9 among a random national sample of 1,639 adults reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points. The survey’s sample included oversamples of African American and Latino registered voters. Those subsets have been weighted to represent the appropriate share of the overall population, and are not over-represented in the overall results of the poll.