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 percentage 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 6 percent have no opinion.
Americans’ opinions on Trump’s stewardship of the economy, which his campaign 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, 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 worry 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 escalation in the trade war, along with the president’s consistent attacks on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, have 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 said 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 said 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.
Trump pushed back against the results of the survey Tuesday morning in a perplexing tweet that hit at ABC and the Post, and he claimed his lawyers were able to force changes in past polls.
"ABC/Washington Post Poll was the worst and most inaccurate poll of any taken prior to the 2016 Election," he wrote. "When my lawyers protested, they took a 12 point down and brought it to almost even by Election Day. It was a Fake Poll by two very bad and dangerous media outlets. Sad!"
A few minutes later, he sent another tweet railing against public polling and extolling his campaign's surveys.
"One of the greatest and most powerful weapons used by the Fake and Corrupt News Media is the phony Polling Information they put out," he wrote. "Many of these polls are fixed, or worked in such a way that a certain candidate will look good or bad. Internal polling looks great, the best ever!"
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 error is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.