Increasingly bitter and aggressive attacks on President Trump managed to bolster his approval rating, which climbed 5 points to reach the second highest level of his presidency, the latest IBD/TIPP Poll finds.
The July poll found that 41% approve of the job Trump is doing. That's the first time he's been above 40% since March 2017, and just 1 point below his highest approval rating of 42% during his first month in office. Fifty-four disapprove of his job performance.
Attacks on Trump intensified late last month in the wake of the administration's "zero tolerance" policy toward those caught illegally crossing the U.S.-Mexico border — including families.
That policy resulted in the temporary separation of children from their parents seeking asylum. Trump later signed an executive order to keep families together while asylum claims played out.
In the span of a few days, a mob chased Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen out of a D.C. restaurant, the owner of the Red Hen in Virginia kicked Trump spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders out. Actor Peter Fonda encouraged the abduction and molestation of the president's youngest son. Rep. Maxine Waters made remarks that appeared to encourage mob violence.
Some Democrats worried that such antics would only help Trump, which the IBD/TIPP poll appears to confirm.
At the same time, Trump scored a big win internationally with his summit meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un. He also won a string of victories at the Supreme Court. Among other things, the court upheld Trump's travel ban on certain Muslim countries.
Trump not only made gains among Republicans — 83% of whom now approve of the job he's doing — but among independents, whose approval climbed 5 points to 34%. His approval jumped 7 points among men and 2 points among women.
Regionally, Trump's biggest gain came from the south (up 8 points) and rural areas (up 7 points). He also made strong gains among the young, high school educated, and lower income groups, as well as among blacks.
The July IBD/TIPP Poll shows a four-point gain in Trump's favorability, which is currently -13 (40% favorable to 53% unfavorable).
The broader IBD/TIPP Presidential Leadership Index for Trump is now 44.3, an almost 8% gain over last month and the highest it's been since his second month in office.
Not All Good News
However, more say they'd prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats rather than Republicans after the midterm elections, 48% to 40%. The Democrats' +8 score on this generic ballot question is up a point from last month.
The Real Clear Politics average of national polls on the generic ballot has Democrats up by 5.9 points. At the start of the year, Democrats were up by 13 points in the RCP average.
And Trump's recent immigration actions are not winning a lot of support.
The poll found that just 33% give him high marks for his handling of the situation involving families who've illegally crossed into the U.S. from Mexico. On a partisan basis, 67% of Republicans approved, 27% of independents, and 4% Democrats.
The poll also found that a plurality (43%) say Trump's immigration policies have had no impact on security along the southern border. Forty say they've improved security; 13% say they've weakened it.
Still, last month's poll found the public backing Trump on sanctuary cities. And the February IBD/TIPP Poll found that 50% approve of "the construction of physical and electronic barriers along the southern U.S. border." It also found that 55% back limits on chain migration.
FBI Gets A Black Eye
While Trump's approval rating improved, the FBI's has taken a beating in the wake of the inspector general's report detailing how FBI agents and officials bungled its investigation into Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified information while secretary of State.
The poll found that just 39% have a favorable view of the FBI, with 30% feeling unfavorable and 31% not sure.
More than half of the public (53%) say political bias influenced the FBI's decision not to recommend charges against Clinton. Just 37% say politics didn't play a role.
Not surprisingly, more than three-quarters of Republicans point to political bias for the FBI's exoneration of Clinton. But so do 55% of independents. Even among Democrats, more 1 in 5 (27%) say bias influenced the FBI's decision to drop the case against Clinton.
The public splits on whether there was outright collusion between the FBI and Clinton, given revelations in an inspector general's report that FBI employees got gifts from reporters. While 44% say this is evidence of collusion, 47% say it isn't and 8% aren't sure.
However, the public is also split on the question of Trump's colluding with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.
Forty-seven say that special counsel Robert Mueller would have produced evidence of collusion by now if there were any. But 49% say the lack of evidence after more than a year of investigation doesn't mean Trump is off the hook.
Other Poll Findings
- Just 37% think North Korea will end its nuclear weapons program in the near future, despite Trump's recent dealings with its leader Kim Jong Un; 60% think it won't.
- 46% give Trump high marks for his handling of the economy, up from 44% last month
- 47% give him high marks for handling of terrorism, up from 44% last month.
- 56% believe the economy is improving.
- 15% worry that someone in their household will be laid off. That's down from 21% in January.
- 45% are satisfied with the direction of the country. In President Obama's last month in office, it was 42%.
Methodology: IBD/TIPP conducted the July poll from June 21 to June 29. It includes responses from 900 people nationwide, who were asked questions by live interviewers on phones. The poll's margin of error is +/-3.3 percentage points. (Toplines from the July IBD/TIPP Poll will be posted here later this week.)
The IBD/TIPP Poll has been credited as being the most accurate poll in the past four presidential elections, and was one of only two that correctly predicted the outcome of the November 2016 presidential election.
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