Fox News Poll: Trump approval down, voters support special counsel on Russia

American voters disagree with President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey, think the dismissal was for self-serving reasons, and approve of a special counsel being appointed to investigate Russian government efforts to influence the election and the Trump campaign.  In addition, a majority opposes the Republican plan to replace Obamacare.

That’s according to a new Fox News Poll of registered voters nationwide.

The last month took a toll on the president’s ratings.  The poll finds 40 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing, down from 45 percent last month.  Disapproval is up 5 points to 53 percent.

Some of the drop in approval comes from Republicans, as just 81 percent approve of the president.  GOP approval had been between 84-87 percent during Trump’s first three months in office.  Plus, his approval among whites without a college degree went from 62 percent last month to 53 percent now.  Working-class whites were a key voting bloc for him in the election (66 percent backed Trump according to the Fox News Exit Poll).


Among independents, approval fell to 34 percent.  It was 42 percent in April.  Forty-six percent voted for Trump.

Vice President Mike Pence’s ratings also declined:  42 percent of voters approve of his job performance, down from 50 percent in April.  Disapproval is up 10 points to 43 percent.

The first few months of the Trump administration are frequently described as turbulent -- but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  A large 44 percent minority says he’s just doing what he was elected to do -- shake up Washington.  A majority, 53 percent, thinks Trump’s bumpy start shows his presidency is coming apart.

Trump voters in particular believe the turbulence is what change feels like, as 90 percent say the president is doing what they elected him to do -- that is, shake up Washington.  And 84 percent of Republicans agree.  As expected, almost all of those voting for Hillary Clinton think the rattling sound you hear is the administration falling apart (92 percent).

There are indications Trump hasn’t shaken things up enough for working-class whites, as many, 44 percent, oppose the GOP health care bill, and 50 percent don’t think he’ll build a wall.  More on that later.

Meanwhile, a growing number of voters think Russian hackers helped Trump win in November: 44 percent feel that way, up from 32 percent in December.  Now 49 percent think Russia didn’t make a difference to the presidential election.  That was 59 percent five months ago.

In addition, by a 60-29 percent margin, voters think the real reason Trump fired Comey is because FBI investigations were harming the White House rather than because Comey was harming the agency.

Only 34 percent agree with Comey’s firing, and confidence in the FBI mostly held steady at 79 percent since his dismissal.  By comparison, 45 percent of voters have confidence in Trump.

Nearly 7-in-10 (68 percent) approve of the Justice Department appointing a special counsel to investigate Russian meddling.

Expectations on the investigation’s outcome split:  43 percent think the special counsel will find that the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia, while 45 percent disagree.

Few Republicans (13 percent) believe Russian hackers helped Trump in the election, yet they split on a special counsel investigating:  46 percent approve vs. 50 percent disapprove.

A majority of Republicans (58 percent) thinks Trump’s recent sharing of counterintelligence with Russian officials was a reasonable thing to do.  Among all voters, a majority says it showed bad judgment (57 percent).

Trump also seems to be experiencing a lack of traction on other issues key to his election.

By a 56-39 percent margin, voters think it’s still possible to completely repeal and replace Obama’s 2010 health care law.  However, a 54 percent majority opposes the GOP bill that passed the U.S. House to replace it and about that same number, 53 percent, feels Obamacare has been “mostly a good thing” for the country.

On immigration, 72 percent of Trump voters still want him to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border -- and 64 percent believe he truly will.   Among all voters, 36 percent believe he will.

There is positive news in the poll.  The number of voters concerned about the economy hit a post-2008 low of 75 percent.  That’s down from 84 percent last June -- and down nearly 20 points from a high 94 percent in 2012.  When Fox first asked the question after the 2008 mortgage meltdown, 93 percent were concerned.

Plus, concern about the job market declined from 84 percent in 2013 to 65 percent now.

Fifty-one percent are concerned about illegal immigration, down from 62 percent last June.

Along with the economy, government spending (80 percent concerned) and the nation’s infrastructure (75 percent) are the top three concerns.  Fewer, though still majorities, are concerned about war with North Korea (68 percent), attacks by Islamic terrorists (67 percent), Russian meddling in U.S. affairs (61 percent), and climate change (60 percent).

Since 2013, the greatest increases in concern are on infrastructure and climate change -- both higher now by 14 points.

Despite those worries, there’s still quite a bit of optimism:  62 percent of voters believe America’s best days are ahead.

Four years ago, 63 percent felt that way (June 2012).  At that time, 72 percent of Democrats and 59 percent of Republicans said the country’s best days are still ahead.  Now that’s reversed: it’s 76 percent of Republicans and 53 percent of Democrats.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,011 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from May 21-23, 2017.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.