(CN) – Though more than six in 10 Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s job performance according to a new survey from The Associated Press, the president’s professed strengths lie in his economic savvy – and whispers of recession could deal a blow to his relatively positive economic optics.
In a survey of 1,058 adults between Aug. 15-19, researchers at the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found 62% of respondents disapproved of President Trump’s job in office and just 36% approved. Stratified by policy, 61% disapproved of President Trump’s handling of gun policy and foreign policy, 60% disapproved of how he is handling health care and immigration policies and 51% disapprove of his job on the economy.
The president’s approval rating has been in the low 40s for the majority of his presidency, particularly in his second and third year in office, though his disapproval rating spiked above 58% at the end of 2017 according to data from RealClearPolitics. In fact, the AP noted in its analysis that “Trump’s approval rating has never dipped below 32% or risen above 42% in AP-NORC polls since he took office,” which was characterized as “remarkably consistent.”
General election match-ups for 2020 were a parallel metric for measuring presidential approval, and surveys from Morning Consult and Emerson College revealed similar data points at 35% and 45% in favor of President Trump from Aug. 16-19.
The president’s approval comes after a string of statements that pundits and members of Congress have characterized as racist and anti-Semitic, including telling four congresswomen of color to “go back to where [they] came from,” and accusing Jewish Democrats of unspecified “disloyalty.”
In other words, the averaged 40% of Americans who support the president (and the roughly 60% of Americans who oppose him) are not substantially swayed by his rhetoric on race and religious affiliations, which parallels closely with his approval ratings on immigration, health care, foreign policy and gun policy.
Despite the unfavorable metrics for the president, respondents were slightly more supportive of his economic policies. Forty-six percent of respondents approved of his economic policies, and 51% disapproved. Though Trump’s approvals were still underwater on the economy, they’re 10 points more favorable than his policies on international affairs and guns, and it has largely been portrayed as his biggest strength in office.
However, a string of foreboding economic indicators could deal a blow to the president’s economic approval ratings. On Aug. 14, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 800 points in a single day. Also that day, a yield curve inversion occurred at the Treasury Department, which is when 10-year loan rates rise above two-year rates. This phenomenon occurred again Thursday, which economists and traders have characterized as a sign of economic downturn.
Additionally, U.S. manufacturers indicated industry shrinkage via the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) at 49.9. In July, the PMI was above the neutral threshold at 50.4 percent according to CNBC.
Though the president has touted economic growth through tax cuts and economic protectionism, the rising alarms from economic institutions could deal a blow to optics surrounding the U.S. economy under the Trump administration. Trump’s approval ratings in policy categories have largely stagnated during his term, but economic downturn could damage his higher-than-average approval ratings on the economy going forward.