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Wary Congressional Republicans React As Trump Polls Show Deepening Problems

February 24, 2017

First lets look at the numbers.

Adding to what was shown by Pew Research Center this week comes more bad numbers for Donald Trump.  (Readers by now know the word president is never used to describe him on this blog.)  A new CBS News poll finds Trump’s overall job approval rating at 39%, with 51% of Americans disapproving and 10% who don’t have an opinion.   Meanwhile a new McClatchy-Marist poll finds that more than half of voters believe Trump has done something illegal or unethical as he faces potential conflicts of interest by continuing to own his businesses while serving as president.  Even more voters – nearly six in 10 – say Trump’s conduct as president makes them feel embarrassed.

Perhaps the most pounding poll this week came from the new Quinnipiac poll which finds that Trump’s policy agenda is not very popular with most American voters:

  • 62% to 31% are against reducing taxes across the board, even if it increases the deficit
  • 51% to 38% are against restarting the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines
  • 76% to 18% are against lowering taxes on the wealthy
  • 50% to 43% are against lowering taxes on businesses and corporations
  • 54% to 34% are against removing regulations on businesses and corporations
  • 63% to 27% are against removing specific regulations intended to combat climate change
  • 54% to 43% are against repealing the Affordable Care Act
  • 60% to 37% are against building the wall on the Mexican border, with 65% to 33% against the wall if the U.S. must pay for it

Said pollster Tim Malloy about the Quinnipac Poll: “He rattled the rafters with bold calls for pipelines and tax cuts, a big wall and a new health care plan. But while his base may be eating it up, a broad portion of the electorate is telling President Trump there is a big difference between campaign bravado and an agenda that works for all Americans.”

The issue the Republican congress has to be mindful of is how far away from Trump do they stand so not to anger the base of Trump support that might threaten a primary race in 2018 but at the same time show they are not wedded to the self-admitted sexual offender in the White House.  It is a dicey road to walk but this is what the GOP signed up for last summer at their nominating convention.

The Washington Post has a solid report on the thin ice many Republican congressional members face.

This week’s congressional town halls have repeatedly found Republicans hedging their support for Trump’s agenda — and in many cases contradicting their past statements. Hostile questions put them on record criticizing some of the fights Trump has picked or pledging to protect policies such as the more popular elements of Obamacare. And voters got it all on tape, promising to keep hounding their lawmakers if they falter.

Some GOP members, however, are starting to see the light.

Rep. Matt Gaetz “surprised a roomful of angry protesters Thursday night when he called for Trump to release his tax returns.   CNN reports the congressman said “Absolutely, Donald Trump should release his tax returns.”

There is also reporting on the sham idea that the strong turnout at congressional town hall meetings is somehow a staged event.   Even the Wall Street Journal knocks down that idea.

The White House and prominent Republicans have largely dismissed the noisy eruption of civic activism at town-hall meetings across the U.S. as the work of professional organizers and paid activists, partly because MoveOn and other liberal groups have offered help.

“Interviews suggest otherwise. Many participants are first-timers who echo in passion, though not in politics, the people who emerged early in the tea-party movement in 2009, when unhappy voters banded together against what they saw as government overreach by the Obama administration.

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