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Trump’s approval rating drops to new lows after Capitol riot, poll finds

President Trump returned to the White House on Jan. 12.
President Trump returned to the White House on Jan. 12.Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post

A new poll shows President Trump is exiting the White House with his lowest-ever job approval rating, and a majority of respondents believe he bears at least some responsibility for last week’s deadly Capitol riot.

The survey, released Friday by the Pew Research Center, was conducted in the days after Trump continued to falsely assert that he won the election and incited a mob of his supporters to march to the Capitol on Jan. 6 as lawmakers confirmed President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

Trump’s approval rating has dropped sharply in the wake of the November election and the Capitol riots, according to Pew. In August, 38 percent of survey participants approved of his performance as president, according to the research organization. That number has now dropped to 29 percent, the lowest Pew has recorded during his presidency.

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Three-quarters of those polled said they believe Trump bears at least some responsibility for the Capitol riots, in which five people, including a Capitol police officer, died and hundreds of lawmakers had to shelter in place in a crowded room. Fifty-two percent of people said Trump bears “a lot” of responsibility, while 23 percent said he bears “some” responsibility for the riot. Almost a quarter of those surveyed said he is not responsible for it at all.

More than 5,300 American adults, 4,040 of whom said they voted in the November election, participated in the Pew survey, which was conducted between Jan. 8 to Jan. 12.

A separate poll conducted by The Washington Post and ABC had similar findings, with most respondents saying Trump deserves at least some responsibility for the Capitol siege. In that survey, 45 percent said Trump bears “a great deal” of responsibility, 12 percent said he bears “a good amount” of responsibility, 14 percent said he deserves “just some” responsibility, while 28 percent said he is not responsible at all.

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A majority of those surveyed — 54 percent — said Trump should be charged with the crime of inciting the riot, the Post/ABC poll found, though the results are sharply split between Republicans and Democrats.

More respondents supported Trump’s removal and disqualification from office this time than did when he faced his first impeachment and removal, according to the Post/ABC poll, which was conducted Jan. 10 to 13 by phone among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. Overall, 56 percent of respondents said they thought Trump should be removed from office and barred from holding elected office in the future, up from 47 percent during his trial last year. The question also saw large partisan differences: 89 percent of those who identify as Democrats or lean Democratic said Trump should be ousted and disqualified, while 85 percent of those who are Republicans or lean Republican disagreed. The poll had a margin of error of 3.5 percentage points.

Almost 70 percent of those surveyed said they don’t want to see Trump continue as a major figure in politics, according to the Pew poll, including a substantial portion of Republicans. Still, 57 percent of Republicans said they want him to remain a major figure in politics. Ninety-three percent of Democrats disagreed.

Americans have increasingly dismal views of Trump’s conduct since the election, the Pew survey found. In mid-November, 54 percent of Americans said his behavior since. Nov. 3 was “poor.” That number increased to 62 percent in January. Even Trump’s own supporters are increasingly disapproving of his behavior: Ten percent of respondents who voted for Trump rated his post-election conduct as “poor” in November, and 20 percent did so in January.

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Since November, Trump has gone to great lengths to overturn the election results by pushing a number of far-fetched conspiracy theories of fraud and irregularities, pressuring Vice President Mike Pence to intervene during the final vote count before Congress, and asking Georgia’s top elections official to “find” him votes to alter the state’s results.

The surveys come days after Trump was impeached in the most bipartisan vote in history for “inciting violence against the government of the United States,” and as senators weigh how to vote in Trump’s upcoming trial. After a vote on whether or not to convict Trump of the charge in the Senate, the chamber could take up a separate vote that would bar him from seeking office again.


Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.