WASHINGTON — A majority of Americans say President Trump has not accomplished much during his first nine months in office, and they have delivered a report card that is far harsher even than the expectations they set for him when he was sworn into office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News survey.
Trump has an approval rating demonstrably lower than any previous chief executive at this point in his presidency over seven decades of polling. Fewer than 4 in 10 Americans, 37 percent, say they approve of the way he is handling his job.
Trump’s approval rating has changed little over the past four months, which have included tumultuous events, from hurricanes to legislative setbacks to indictments in special counsel Robert Mueller III’s investigation into the role Russia played in the 2016 campaign.
The president’s disapproval rating has reached 59 percent, with 50 percent saying they strongly disapprove of the job he is doing. While little has changed since summer, both represent the worst marks of his presidency.
He is the only president dating back to Harry S. Truman whose approval rating at this point in his presidency is net negative — by 22 points. The next-worst recorded in that time was for Bill Clinton, who had a net positive of 11 points by this time in his presidency.
Trump began his presidency with modest expectations on the part of a public that was divided coming out of last year’s contentious election. Roughly 100 days into his presidency, 42 percent said he had accomplished a great deal or a good amount while in office. Today, that has declined to 35 percent.
Meanwhile, 65 percent say he has accomplished ‘‘not much’’ or ‘‘little or nothing.’’ This is up from 56 percent last spring. Forty-three percent give him the lowest possible rating, saying he has accomplished ‘‘little or nothing.’’
At the 100-day mark of Trump’s presidency last spring, Americans were split almost evenly on the question of whether he was keeping most of his major campaign promises, with 44 percent saying he was and 41 percent disagreeing. Today the verdict is more severe, with 55 percent saying he is not keeping most of those promises.
The public sees Democrats acting mostly as an opposition party, rather than offering ideas.
Asked whether the Democratic Party is presenting alternatives or mainly criticizing the president, 61 percent said mainly criticizing, identical to the percentage who said this of Republican Party leaders one year after Obama’s election. Only a plurality of Democrats, 47 percent, say their leaders are offering alternatives to Trump’s ideas.
Trump’s actions and behavior have drawn sharp criticism from a few members of his own party, most recently from Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and Jeff Flake and John McCain of Arizona.
Former president George W. Bush delivered a recent speech that, while never mentioning Trump by name, was seen as a rebuke of the way he conducts himself.
The Post-ABC News poll asked self-identified Republicans and independents who lean toward the GOP whether they believed their party leaders should speak out when they disagree with the president. Overall, 71 percent said they should, with just 27 percent saying those leaders should avoid criticizing him, including 65 percent of Trump voters who say Republicans should air their disagreements.
On four key issues, Trump has not matched the early expectations for his presidency, and today, majorities — in some case strong majorities — give him negative reviews. Those issues are the economy, dealing with race relations, improving the health care system, and dealing with the threat of terrorism.
The president has pointed to what he sees as significant accomplishments in the area of the economy, with the stock market at record levels, unemployment at 4.1 percent — a 17-year low — and growth in the two most recent quarters at 3 percent.
But the public gives him little credit for the state of the economy. In January, 61 percent offered a positive assessment when asked how they thought he would handle the economy. Today, 44 percent give him positive marks, while 53 percent say he has not done well.