Fox News Poll: Trump not tough enough on Russia, approval of Mueller down

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Voters think President Trump has been too soft on Russia, yet a majority approves of his July 16 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to a new Fox News Poll.  Meantime, approval of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation has dropped below 50 percent.

A 53 percent majority thinks President Trump is not tough enough on Russia, including 32 percent of Republicans.


Fifty-nine percent think Trump should meet with Putin.  Even so, they aren’t all that optimistic about the outcome.  By a 7-point margin, more think Putin (31 percent) than Trump (24 percent) will come out of the meeting with the “better deal.”

For comparison, 66 percent approved of Trump’s June 12 meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, and by a 10-point margin voters expected Trump to negotiate the better deal.

Large numbers of Republicans back both the meeting with Kim (85 percent) and Putin (81 percent).  Among Democrats, 51 percent said Trump should meet Kim, yet just 39 percent approve of Monday’s summit.

The survey also asked about the investigations into Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election and finds voters remain unhappy with how the current and former administrations have handled the interference.

Fifty-three percent disapprove of the way the Obama administration responded to cyberattacks by the Russian government, and 54 percent disapprove of the way the Trump administration is handling investigations into Russian involvement.  These sentiments are nearly identical to last June.

On the other hand, approval of Mueller’s investigation of the Trump campaign’s ties with Russia has slipped from 55 percent last month to 48 percent now.  That 7-point drop comes completely from a decline among Democrats, as 84 percent approved in June compared to 72 percent now.

Even so, Americans want Mueller to take his time and do the investigation right.  Fifty-five percent say that, including 33 percent of Republicans.

One-third of voters think Mueller should “wrap it up already” (34 percent).

Approval of the job Donald Trump is doing as president stands at 46 percent.  That’s up one point from last month, and up five points from a year ago (July 2017).

His approval hits 94 percent among those who voted for him in 2016, 91 percent among “very” conservative voters, and 84 percent among Republicans.

Overall, 51 percent of voters disapprove of the president’s job performance, and over half disapprove of how he’s handling immigration (43-55 percent), foreign policy (41-53 percent), and international trade (41-53 percent).  On trade, by a 16-point margin, more voters think Trump’s policies are hurting rather than helping the economy.

The president continues to receive his highest approval on the economy:  a record 53 percent approve, while 43 percent disapprove.  It was 52-41 percent in June.

Some 41 percent say they are getting ahead financially.  That’s about where it was last summer (42 percent).  It’s also higher than at any point under President Obama (his highest was 35 percent in July 2016).

Over half are either getting by or losing ground:  42 percent say they are just able to pay most bills and 12 percent are falling behind.

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,007 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from July 9-11, 2018.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.