After a week of trading barbs with North Korea and a day of refusing to denounce white supremacy, President Trump's approval ratings sunk to the lowest they've ever been over the weekend, Gallup reported on Monday.
Only 34 percent of Americans approve of Trump's performance as president as of Aug. 14, compared with 61 percent who disapprove, according to the latest Gallup poll. That's lower than Trump's previous all-time low Gallup rating of 35 percent, which he reached at the end of March. It's also lower than any of Barack Obama's approval ratings during his eight years in the White House.
The polls were taken over the course of three days during the weekend ending on Aug. 13. The gap between Trump's positive and negative approval ratings is 27 percent. Because his negatives outweigh his positives, that gives him a "net" approval of -27 percent. Just four days earlier, however, his net approval was -19 percent. That means in just one week, he got extremely more unpopular than he was the week before. What happened?
It's unclear if one thing in particular precipitated the public's loss in confidence in Trump. But the preceding week was heavy with news, much of which involved either neo-Nazi violence or the prospect of nuclear war with North Korea. Any number of those things could have affected Trump's approval ratings.
Over the course of the previous week and weekend, the following things happened:
- North Korea threatened to nuke the island of Guam.
- While on vacation golf club in New Jersey, Trump threatened to unleash "fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before" on North Korea if the country's government continued threatening the U.S.
- It was reported that Trump receives a folder of uplifting, positive news about him and his presidency twice every day.
- After a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville resulted in a counter-protester being killed, Trump denounced violence in general, but refused on multiple occasions to condemn white supremacy or disavow white nationalists who support him. (In a second speech Monday, Trump did denounce "the KKK, neo- Nazis, white supremacists and other hate groups." However, this speech was given after the Gallup poll was complete.)
It's possible that Trump's decline in support could be due to eroding confidence in him from his base. The Gallup poll found that 79 percent of Republicans approve of Trump's job, and though that may sound high, it's the lowest approval he's had from his own party's voters so far. This matches up well with a POLITICO poll released Wednesday, which showed Trump rapidly losing support from Republicans and those who've previously said they "strongly support" his presidency.
Trump himself denied that he's lost any support from his base, however, writing on Twitter that "the Trump base is far bigger & stronger than ever before (despite some phony Fake News polling)." As evidence, he cited the turnout at several rallies he's held recently.