Poll: Trump approval falls as majority of Americans brace for recession


Thirty-eight percent of respondents approve of President Donald Trump’s performance. | Andrew Harnik/AP Photo

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating fell several points in a new survey, while Americans’ fears of a looming recession have escalated and their confidence in Trump’s handling of the economy has sagged.

Thirty-eight percent of respondents in an ABC News/Washington Post poll released Tuesday approve of Trump’s performance in office, a drop of 6 points from a peak of 44 percent approval in July. A majority, 56 percent, disapprove of the way Trump is handling his job as president, while six percent have no opinion.

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Americans’ opinions on Trump’s stewardship of the economy, which his re-election effort plans to emphasize to voters as he battles for a second term, have also diminished, according to the survey.

Less than half of respondents, 46 percent, now approve of the way the president is handling the economy, a decrease from 51 percent approval in midsummer. Fewer of those polled, 35 percent, approve of the way the president is handling trade negotiations with China, and 60 percent are concerned that the trade conflict between the two countries will raise the price of goods for their families.

Trump has moved to intensify the tariff dispute with Beijing in recent weeks, announcing fresh hikes to duties on Chinese imports. The new front in the trade war, along with the president’s consistent attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, has played out as U.S. financial indicators have warned of a potential economic downturn or recession.

More than half of Americans, 60 percent, believe a recession is likely to occur in 2020, according to the survey, and 43 percent say Trump’s trade and economic policies have increased the chance of such a crisis.

Only 16 percent of respondents believe Trump’s policies have decreased the odds of a recession, while 34 percent say they have made no difference and 7 percent have no opinion.

The majority of respondents still hold a positive view of the state of the economy, 56-43 percent, with 40 percent believing it is in “good” condition and 16 percent describing it as “excellent.” But those numbers represent a decrease from a 65 percent positive assessment last fall.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted Sept. 2-5, surveying a random national sample of 1,003 adults in English and Spanish via telephone. The margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.