North Carolina has soured a bit on President Donald Trump after his first 100 days in office, according to the first Elon University Poll released since he took office in January.
Trump was elected in November with 49.9 percent of the vote in North Carolina, but today only 41.6 percent of Tar Heel voters approve of the job he is doing, the poll found. In the survey, 50.5 percent said they disapprove of his performance, and 7.9 percent were undecided.
“Though President Trump enjoyed considerable support among North Carolinians on Election Day, he has lost ground among the crucial independent voters responsible for his success over Hillary Clinton,” said Jason Husser, director of the Elon University Poll.
Trump still has time to regain the confidence of North Carolina voters before the 2018 midterm election, but his support in North Carolina is lower than for most presidents this early in their terms — the stretch often considered a honeymoon period, Husser said.
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The poll found that voter attitudes followed party lines, Husser said, with 87 percent of Democrats disapproving of Trump’s performance and 88 percent of Republicans approving.
“Some of Trump’s negative numbers are his own choices, but some of it is that nobody’s really happy with the other side,” Husser said. “Even if you had someone like Jeb Bush right now, he may have different numbers, but the people on the other side would not be happy with him.”
In the survey, 49 percent of the people polled said Trump is doing a worse job as president than President Obama, and 39 percent say Trump is outperforming his predecessor.
Independents are key
Elon’s survey talked to 506 likely voters, a release from Elon spokesman Owen Covington said.
Trump’s downturn could be a bad omen for the state’s Republicans up for re-election in 2018, Husser said.
The drop mirrors what voters are feeling across the nation. According to a Washington Post-ABC News Poll released Wednesday, 42 percent of those surveyed approve of the way Trump is handling his job, and 53 percent disapprove.
Similar trends were seen on generational lines. Fifty-nine percent of younger voters — ages 18 to 36 — said they disapprove of Trump’s work, but members of the Silent Generation — ages 73 or older — give the president his highest approval rating at 52 percent.
Men were evenly split on Trump’s job performance, but female voters were more likely to give him low marks — 54 percent disapproved and 38 percent approved.
Approval may have dipped, but 56 percent of voters think Trump’s actions are consistent with his campaign promises, the survey said. They did have a problem with one of his campaign promises — building a wall along the Mexican border.
Nearly 60 percent of all voters oppose the wall, including 92 percent of Democrats, the poll found.
Tweets get low marks
Trump took to Twitter Sunday to bash ABC and NBC polls, calling them fake, and has been a frequent critic of the media. But blasting the media, and doing it on social media, is out of step with some voters, the Elon poll said.
Nearly three-quarters of North Carolina voters think that Trump’s use of the social media platform Twitter is “inappropriate,” and 55 percent disagree with his claim that the news media are “the enemy of the American people.”
Younger voters were more likely to disapprove of his tweets. Among millennials, 81 percent say the president’s use of Twitter is “inappropriate.”
Criticism of Trump’s social media use and belief that the media are the enemy also fell along party lines, the poll found. About half of Republicans surveyed said both his tweets were inappropriate and disagreed that the media are the “enemy of the American people,” while more than 90 percent of Democrats disagreed with both statements.
“The president’s core support in North Carolina is very robust,” Husser said. “However, his use of Twitter is deeply unpopular, even among his otherwise loyal base voters.”