White House

Trump attacks new poll showing his approval rating tumbling

Washington Post-ABC survey shows a 6-point drop over a summer of self-inflicted wounds, trade war

President Donald Trump speaks to members of the media at the White House before departing on Monday for a campaign rally in North Carolina. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

On a day when voters in a reliably red North Carolina congressional district head to the polls in a closer-than-expected House race, President Donald Trump lashed out at a poll that showed his approval rating tumbling.

As he waited to see if voters in the Tar Heel State’s competitive 9th Congressional District will send a Democrat to Washington for the first time since 1963, he took umbrage at a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. That survey put his approval rating at 38 percent — down from 44 percent in June — along with a 56 percent disapproval rating.

The Post-ABC News survey showed Americans increasingly worried about the state of the economy and the president’s trade war with China. When asked about Trump’s handling of the economy, 46 percent said they approve; that’s down from 51 percent in July.

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Trump used a pair of late-morning tweets to try to discredit the poll, something he regularly does to political foes and critics. In one, he dubbed the regular survey “the worst and most inaccurate poll of any taken prior to the 2016 Election.”

“It was a Fake Poll by two very bad and dangerous media outlets,” the president wrote, adding: “Sad!”

Trump, who often casts himself and his supporters as victims of coastal “elites,” claimed the news media collectively uses polls as one of its “greatest and most powerful weapons.”

“Many of these polls are fixed, or worked in such a way that a certain candidate will look good or bad,” he wrote in a second tweet, claiming his campaign team’s “Internal polling looks great, the best ever!”

Privately, however, White House aides acknowledge that polling data suggests they have a tough fight ahead to help their boss secure a second term.

The president and his campaign team have signaled a no-holds-barred reelection campaign built largely on warning his white conservative base that individuals — such as undocumented migrants to minority House members — threaten their way of life. And as he displayed at a campaign rally in North Carolina’s 9th District on Monday night, he and GOP candidates will be warning voters that Democrats want to turn America socialist.

Trump on Monday denied the suggestions that the North Carolina special election is a bellwether of things to come in 2020.

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But his warning at the rally in Fayetteville on Monday that Democratic candidate Dan McCready is part of a “radical” party that wants to take away guns and turn the United States into a socialist hellscape is a sign that the president is worried about dismal poll numbers, strategists say.

“You must defeat open borders, and you have a Democrat named Dan McCready and he wants open borders,” Trump said as a crowd of supporters booed loudly. “He wants sanctuary cities. He’s not going to protect your Second Amendment. He’s doing nothing on your side.”

Recent polls have shown McCready either narrowly leading or tied with Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop, the sponsor of the state’s controversial “bathroom bill.”

A McCready victory would increase the net number of seats Republicans need to retake the House in 2020, from 19 to 20. That deficit could further depress GOP members already considering retirement as they contemplate another term in the minority.

And even a tight loss by the Democrat in such a longtime GOP stronghold could signal trouble ahead for Trump and his party — especially if the economy slides into a slowdown or recession.

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