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Trump’s Approval Rating Drops as Signs of Recession Grow

Trump’s initiation of a trade war with China could help trigger a recession and hurt his prospects for reelection.

Trump speech
Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Maryland. (Image Credit: Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

An Associated Press-NORC poll released on Thursday shows that U.S. President Donald Trump’s disapproval numbers are rising with 62 percent of those surveyed stating they disapproved of his job performance.

The president’s disapproval ratings have been tied to his handling of key issues which include immigration, gun control, health care, and foreign policy.

Trump fares better with the public when it comes to the economy. Forty-six percent of those polled approve of the president’s handling of the economy.

But fears of a recession are growing. And Trump’s advisers, the Washington Post reports, have briefed him on the possibility of an economic slowdown that could affect his 2020 reelection bid. Trump administration has publicly repeatedly tried to brush off the idea of a recession. The internal forecast, the Post reports, “contrasts sharply with the triumphant rhetoric the president and his surrogates have repeatedly used to describe the economy.”

On Thursday, the U.S. Department of Labor issued a downward revision of its estimate of jobs created from March 2018 to April 2019. The U.S. economy is now believed to have added 500,000 fewer jobs than previously reported, with the bulk of that drop coming from the struggling brick-and-mortar retail sector. As CNN’s Matt Egan argues that much of these wounds are “self-inflicted,” pointing toward the escalating trade war with China that has hurt U.S. manufacturing and a premature tax cut that created something akin to a “sugar high.”

Will an Economic Downturn Affect Trump’s Reelection?

Conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh says Trump has nothing to fret about in 2020 because his approval amongst his base of GOP voters is still strong.

“It doesn’t mean anything right now. How about if I directed you to another direction. There’s a simple other part of that poll. Over 80 percent of Republicans thumbs up on the job Trump is doing. What does that mean? Means Trump is holding his base,” he said.

He also adds that the president’s fundraising numbers remain strong and says that the poll “is an outlier and not part of the trend.”

Some independent observers agree with Limbaugh. Political scientist Rachel Bitecofer argues that the polarization in the electorate will still play into Trump’s favor even if the economy gets worse.

“Due to intense levels of polarization in the electorate, a recession is not likely to take Trump’s already abysmal reelection numbers much further down, although I would expect some modest erosion,” she told Vox.

However, some experts believe that a recession could prove to be an issue because the economy is viewed as Trump’s strength by his supporters who then have a more lenient view toward the president’s excesses.

Impeachment Process Might Actually Help Trump

Interestingly, even if recession hurts Trump’s chances, a new Monmouth University poll finds that an impeachment process against the president could boost his reelection campaign.

Many House Democrats have been pushing to begin impeachment proceedings against the president. However, the math works in Trump’s favor and any impeachment proceedings are likely to be quashed in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Seventy-five percent of those surveyed in the Monmouth University poll believe it is unlikely that Trump would be convicted by the Senate. And 31 percent think an impeachment attempt would strengthen his position in 2020.

While Trump’s approval ratings still remain low, the president is still hanging on to supporters from his base. The economy might have to witness a drastic slowdown for GOP voters to take notice. But even then, it still remains unlikely that they would vote for a Democrat.

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Written By

Rahima Sohail is a contributor to Globely News, writing on U.S. politics and the geopolitics of Asia. She was previously a sub-editor and producer at The Express Tribune, a Pakistani English-language daily. She spends most of her time reading and ranting about politics and football.

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