A new poll from Quinnipiac has found that 54 percent of respondents believe that Trump is abusing the powers of his office.
While the president’s approval ratings have remained low across polling since he took office, the new found lack of trust is more telling.
A profound distrust
In addition to the belief that he is abusing his powers, 59 percent of those polled now say that Trump is dishonest and a full 66 percent supported the appointment of a special prosecutor to probe ties between his campaign and Russia.
Perhaps one of the more obvious examples of Trump indulging his power, the recent firing of FBI director James Comey, had respondents more split: 49% believed it to be an abuse of power while 47 percent didn’t.
However, a 55 percent majority did believe that Trump had asked Comey to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s possible ties to foreign collusion.
Tim Malloy, the poll’s assistant director, said:
President Donald Trump remains mired in dreadful mid 30s approval numbers and the red flags that are popping up tell an even darker story. But by far the most alarming determination is that President Trump is abusing his office.
In regards to approval, Quinnipiac found the president sitting at 37 percent, up just one point from the poll’s previous findings released 10 May. Perhaps unsurprising yet still worrying, despite these historically low ratings for a president so early in his term, 84 percent of Republicans surveyed still approve of Trump’s job performance.
Erosion of the base
That is not to say that Trump’s base is as rock solid as often boasted however. It has been frequently discussed that while he may not find favour with many Americans, his base is fervent enough to carry him and his policies forward.
Yet FiveThirtyEight’s approval ratings tracker has found that, between February and now, the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump has dropped from a 30 percent peak to roughly 21 percent or 22 percent now.
By notable comparison, in a similar time frame President Obama had a strong approval rating of 45% during his first term although those numbers would drop over the course of his presidency.
More worryingly for Trump, the number of respondents who strongly disapprove of him has been rising sharply, from the mid-30s in February to 44.1 percent as of Tuesday. If looking over a spread of polls, you’d actually find that, in most cases, this strong disapproval rating is higher than his overall approval rating.
Notable periods of increase in disapproval occur around the landmark legislation moments of the Trump presidency so far, the introduction of the first Republican health care bill and the attempted travel ban seeming to ignite the opposition to Trump.
It should also be noted that the balance of strongly to somewhat approve has seen an inverse correlation that probably signals those no longer strongly approving of the president are instead switching to somewhat approval rather than abandoning him entirely.
While Trump’s base has proven to be remarkably resilient to policies that are clearly far off the populist rhetoric of his campaign, and it certainly shouldn’t be believed that the hardline party loyalists of the Republican side are going to fall wholesale to Democratic campaigning, it should be of no small concern to the president that the base he so loves to harp on about is beginning to erode.