What you need to know about the Trump/Comey saga
Donald Trump is winning one race in California – the contest for the most unpopular president so early in his term.
Trump, who warned Americans that they might tire of his string of unrelenting victories, has the approval of just 28 percent of the state’s registered voters, according to a new poll by UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies. Fifty-seven disapprove and 15 percent have no opinion.
The president’s job approval fell along predictably partisan lines, with a large majority of Democrats (83 percent) disapproving and nearly three quarters of Republicans approving.
“He’s holding the Republican base to some extent, but very few others, I mean almost no Democrats, and few (independent) voters, approve,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the poll.
Trump’s deep unpopularity was most pronounced with voters who comprise the future demography of California – people under the age of 30, and Latinos, African Americans and Asian Americans. The survey found only a quarter of women expressed their admiration for the president.
Trump has not fallen as far as two other Republican presidents, however.
He is faring far worse than George W. Bush, early in his tenure, according to the Field Poll. It spiked to 74 percent after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, but by the end of his presidency, just 24 percent approved of his performance.
Richard Nixon’s approval also dropped to 24 percent. A native son of California, Nixon’s low point came in August 1974, the same month he resigned from office after his role in the Watergate scandal was revealed. Jimmy Carter’s lowest approval level was 33 percent.
Tuesday’s poll on Trump also looked at the importance voters were assigning to the investigation into Russia’s possible interference in the presidential election, with the split similarly based on voters’ political parties. Overall, nearly 70 percent said they consider the probe very important or somewhat important to the country.
Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey drew disapproval at a spread of two to one, 56 percent to 28 percent. Far more said they believe Comey’s firing had more to do with Trump wanting to slow the FBI’s investigation into Russian involvement (48 percent) than the former director’s handling of Hillary Clinton’s use of her private email server while secretary of state (23 percent).
Both Democrats and Republicans, however, said they view the appointment of former FBI Director Robert Mueller as special counsel to oversee the Russian investigation as a good development.
“They may be looking at him differently,” DiCamillo said. “Maybe Republicans see an honest investigation as clearing the air. The Democrats believe there is something there ... and they trust the guy to get to the bottom of it.”
Few Californians gave a positive assessment of Trump’s handling of the economy (35 percent) or his stewardship of the nation’s foreign policy (25 percent). The survey was taken before Trump’s announcement last week that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris climate accord.