Most American Give Trump Poor Grades for Russia Summit Performance

Just one-third of Americans say they approve of President Trump’s handling of his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll released early Sunday.

According to the Post: 

Americans give President Trump negative marks for his conduct during a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin last week and for his casting doubt on U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election.”

While just thirty-three percent of respondents said they approved of Trump’s handling of his meeting with Putin fully one-half of them said they disapproved of what Trump did and 18 percent say they have no opinion.

A larger percentage — 56 percent — disapprove of Trump’s comments where he said he doubted the conclusions of U.S. intelligence agencies that Russia attempted to influence the outcome of the 2016 election.

On both questions, those who say they “strongly disapprove” of Trump’s performance outnumber those who say they “strongly approve” by better than 2 to 1.

Among Democrats, just 8 percent approved while 83 percent disapproved. Two-thirds of Republican participants in the poll said they approved, with just 18 percent saying they disapproved.  Among independents, 46 percent disapproved of Trump and 33 percent approved.

Trump’s performance at the summit with Putin — and his remarks afterwards — were widely criticized by leaders of both political parties as well as my leading news organizations throughout the world.

During the post-summit press conference Trump not only refused to confront Putin over Russian interference in the 2016 election, but he also said he doubted his own intelligence community’s assessment that there was Russian interference.

A 51 percent majority of Republicans in the poll said they approved of Trump’s comments doubting U.S. intelligence conclusions, while just 31 percent disapproved. With respect to Democrats, 78 percent said they disapprove of what Trump said about U.S. intelligence findings, and 59 percent of independent voters said the same thing.

The poll also found that 40 percent of Americans said they think the president went “too far” in supporting Putin at the summit while 35 percent said the president handled Putin “about right,” and 15 percent said he did not go far enough, showing the country is split on this topic.

The new poll also found that 47 percent of Americans say that under Trump, America’s leadership in the world has gotten weaker, as opposed to just 30 percent who say it has gotten stronger.

What this poll shows is that Republicans still support Trump no matter how badly he performs on the world stage. Attitudes toward the president have hardened, and there is little he can do now to lose the support of his “base” of voters. Independent and “swing” voters are those who determine elections, and it appears that Trump’s summit performance failed to impress this all-important group that will decide the outcome of November’s elections.