President Donald Trump's job approval rating fell to 36% for the three-day period of March 24-26, following Republican House leaders' failed effort to pass a new healthcare bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act. [...]Trump's current 36% is two percentage points below Barack Obama's low point of 38%, recorded in 2011 and 2014. Trump has also edged below Bill Clinton's all-time low of 37%, recorded in the summer of 1993, his first year in office, as well as Gerald Ford's 37% low point in January and March 1975.
It's only natural to wonder whether the public at large is noticing Donald Trump's failures as president. For people who follow current events fairly closely -- folks, I assume, like you -- the Republican's many troubles probably seem obvious, but what about the electorate in general?The latest report from Gallup suggests Americans are, in fact, noticing.
While this is only one poll among many, note that polling aggregators also show the president's overall approval rating slipping to new lows.There is no precedent for this dynamic. Public support for various presidents has always waxed and waned, but since the dawn of modern polling, no national leader has seen support this low, this early in his presidency, as Donald J. Trump.What's more, the trend isn't the result of a national crisis or an economic collapse; this is solely the result of the American public disapproving of what they're seeing from the White House. And under the circumstances, it's not hard to understand what's driving those attitudes: Trump's health care push was a fiasco; his campaign team is under an FBI investigation; his misguided Muslim ban has flopped in the courts (twice); his National Security Advisor was forced to resign; the Russia scandal continues to raise questions about the legitimacy of his presidency; he's alienated a wide variety of U.S. allies around the globe; and his assorted conspiracy theories have contributed to questions about his stability.Presidential historian Douglas Brinkley told the Washington Post the other day, "This is the most failed first 100 days of any president.... I don't know how it can get much worse."As much as I respect Brinkley's work, I happen to believe it can get worse. Not only is the Russia scandal moving forward apace, but there are additional hazards on the horizon, including a possible government shutdown next month, the unraveling of Trump's regressive budget plan, and a fight over tax reform that's likely to end badly for the president and his party.And Trump hasn't even been confronted yet with a crisis that isn't of his own making.None of this is to say that the president can't somehow bounce back -- he has all kinds of time -- but his failures coupled with his weak support have left Trump with very little political capital, and even less credibility. Even competent leaders find it difficult to recover once they're the punch-line to a national joke, and Trump is an amateur who appears to be lost without a map.