He hasn’t even been in office three months but half of the nation’s voters already think President Donald Trump has weakened the United States’ role in the world, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.
Since he was sworn into office in January, Trump has been criticized for a series of what some call foreign policy missteps: authorizing a raid in Yemen that left a Navy seal dead, blasting a deal that calls for the U.S. to accept 1,250 refugees from Australia and insulting German Chancellor Angela Merkel by refusing to shake her hand when they met at the White House.
And in January, Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump after the U.S. president insisted Mexico pay for a wall along the U.S. southern border.
Fifty-five percent of voters think Trump has weakened the U.S.’s role, which is an increase from 52 percent in February. Not surprisingly, that includes 83 percent of Democrats but it also includes 59 percent of independents and 17 percent of Republicans as well as 12 percent of those who call themselves Trump supporters. Thirty-six percent think he has made the U.S. stronger. Nine percent were unsure.
“The first words that come to mind are bull---- or silly,” said Andrew Nelson, 34, a radio news anchor from Atlanta who considers himself an independent. “The president has been creating conflicts in a lot of places, which are distracting from other things going on in the administration.”
Trump has invited several world leaders at the White House, including Prime Ministers Theresa May of Britain, Justin Trudeau of Canada, Shinzo Abe of Japan, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark. He will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el Sissi on Monday and Jordan King Abdullah II on Wednesday. He will host a summit later this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.
He is expected to take his first trip abroad in May when he attends the G-7 and NATO summits in Belgium and Italy and is expected to visit Canada and Britain later this year.
“Even in the past month, his numbers for the image of the United States on the world stage and in his meeting with foreign leaders have declined, including among his GOP base,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the survey.
President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will meet at Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort, on Thursday and Friday
“There is a fine line between showing strength and being confrontational in international matters and President Trump is still trying to find that line.”
Fifty-three percent of voters think Trump’s meetings and talks with foreign leaders have weakened the standing of the U.S., which is an increase from 48 percent in February. That includes 86 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of independents and 12 percent of Republicans as well as 9 percent of those who call themselves Trump supporters. Thirty-nine percent said they have strengthened the U.S. Eight percent are unsure.
Trump and his aides have long been criticized for his friendly relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin and his ties to the country. Recently, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign advisers and Russia, an inquiry that could take years to conclude.
Trump has said he would consider lifting the sanctions imposed against Russia for its annexation of Crimea, along with suggesting that he’d be open to recognizing Crimea as Russian territory. The White House already loosened financial sanctions against Russia’s powerful security agency that the Obama administration had imposed as punishment for Russia’s meddling in November’s presidential election and for Russia’ 2014 annexation of Crimea.
There is a fine line between showing strength and being confrontational in international matters and President Trump is still trying to find that line
Lee Miringoff, director, Marist College Institute for Public Opinion
By 48-39 percent, voters think Trump’s relationship with Putin is mostly a bad thing for the United States. That includes 80 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of independents and 11 percent of Republicans as well as 8 percent of those who call themselves Trump supporters. That’s essentially uncharged from February, when the tally was 47-39 percent.
Cheryl Lewis, 64, an independent voter from Coral Springs, Florida, who did not vote for either candidate in November, said she thinks Trump has good ideas but is surrounding himself with bad people.
“The way he speaks out is bad,” said Lewis, co-owner of a UPS store. “I still feel he has a lot of contribute if he can learn. He’s not a politician.”
Thirty-three percent of voters think the country is less safe from terror attacks since Trump has become president. Nineteen percent think the county is more safe, while 46 percent think it’s about the same. Only 2 percent are unsure.
Those who feel less safe includes 56 percent of Democrats, 30 percent of independents and 5 percent of Republicans, as well as 4 percent of those who call themselves Trump supporters.
More than half of voters oppose Trump’s sweeping temporary halt on immigrants from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
By 82-15 percent, voters favor Congress providing a way for immigrants who are in the country illegally to gain legal citizenship if they learn English, pay fines and have jobs that pay taxes.
A federal judge in Hawaii last month temporarily blocked Trump’s travel ban hours before it was due to go into effect. It was the second time a Trump order seeking to temporarily limit U.S. entry from Muslim-majority countries has been blocked by a federal judge.
Trump’s initial order created chaos at U.S. airports as immigration and customs agents initially blocked the entry of all citizens from seven countries, including those who had lived in the United States for years.
“He’s not giving a chance to people who want a better life,” said Ruben Romero, 19, who came to the United States from Mexico when he was 1 year old and now works construction in Fort Worth, Texas. “They wanted to do better for their family.”
How the survey was conducted
This survey of 1,062 adults was conducted March 22-27 by The Marist Poll, sponsored and funded in partnership with McClatchy. People 18 and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers. Mobile telephone numbers were randomly selected based on a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation from Survey Sampling International. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. Mobile phones are treated as individual devices. After validation of age, personal ownership and non-business use of the mobile phone, interviews are typically conducted with the person answering the phone. To increase coverage, this mobile sample was supplemented by respondents reached through random dialing of landline phone numbers from ASDE Survey Sampler Inc. Within each landline household, a single respondent is selected through a random selection process to increase the representativeness of traditionally undercovered survey populations. The samples were then combined and balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey one-year estimates for age, gender, income, race and region. Results are statistically significant within ±3.0 percentage points. There are 906 registered voters. The results for this subset are statistically significant within ±3.3 percentage points. The error margin was not adjusted for sample weights and increases for cross-tabulations.