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Americans feel good about economy, not so about Trump

Just 40% of Americans approve of the job he is doing in the White House

John McCormick | Bloomberg 

Donald Trump
Donald Trump

Almost six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, Americans are feeling fairly optimistic about their jobs, the strength of the US economy, and their own fortunes. That should be welcome news for the president, except for one thing: The public’s confidence largely appears to be in spite of Trump, not because of him.

The latest Bloomberg National Poll shows 58 per cent of Americans believe they’re moving closer to realising their own career and financial aspirations, tied for the highest recorded in the poll since the question was first asked in February 2013.

A majority expect the US stock market to be higher by the end of this year, while 30 per cent anticipate a decline. Yet they don’t necessarily think Trump deserves credit for rising markets and falling unemployment.

Just 40 per cent of Americans of the job he is doing in the White House, and 55 per cent now view him unfavorably, up 12 points since December. Sixty-one percent say the nation is headed down the wrong path, also up 12 points since December.

Trump scored his best numbers on his handling of the economy, but even there the news for him isn’t great. Less than half of Americans — 46 per cent — of Trump’s performance on the economy; 44 per cent disapprove. He gets slightly better marks for job creation, with 47 per cent approving.

“If you take the president’s scores out of this poll, you see a nation increasingly happy about the economy,” said pollster J. Ann Selzer, who oversaw the survey. “When Trump’s name is mentioned, the clouds gather.”

In nearly every measure of his performance, the poll indicates that Trump’s tumultuous presidency is not wearing well with the public. A 56 per cent majority say they’re more pessimistic about Trump because of his statements and actions since the election. That’s a huge swing since December when 55 per cent said his statements and actions made them more optimistic about him.

The public has grown more skeptical that Trump will deliver on some of his most ambitious campaign promises. Two-thirds don’t think he’ll succeed in building a wall along the Mexican border during his first term. More than half say he won’t be able to revive the coal industry.

A majority — 54 per cent — believe Trump will manage to create trade deals more beneficial to the US, but that’s down from 66 percent in December. There’s division on whether he’ll be able to bring a substantial number of jobs back to America, or significantly reform the tax code.

And despite his assurances that he and congressional Republicans will repeal Obamacare and replace it with a “beautiful” new health care bill, 64 per cent of Americans say they disapprove of his handling of the issue. That’s especially significant because health care topped unemployment, terrorism and immigration as the issue poll respondents chose as the most important challenge facing the nation right now.

Americans feel good about economy, not so about Trump
There are at least two areas where Americans say they believe Trump will deliver: Almost two-thirds say he will make significant cuts in government regulation, though it’s not clear whether most think that’s a good or bad thing. Likewise, 53 per cent believe he will succeed in deporting millions of immigrants living in the US illegally.

The public is also skeptical about Trump’s abilities as a world leader, with 58 per cent saying they disapprove of the way he handles relations with other countries and 46 per cent disappointed in his actions on trade agreements.

Americans are more pessimistic about foreign policy than they were in December. Fifty-five percent now say they expect dealings with Germany to get worse during the next four years, up 22 points. The share of poll respondents who anticipate worsening relations with the UK, Mexico, Cuba and Russia also increased by double digits.

The public is also wary of Trump’s motives in his negotiations with other countries. 

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