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Trump Focused on Pleasing Core Supporters, say Analysts


Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on the Federal budget, Feb. 22, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington.

Recent public opinion polls show President Donald Trump's approval ratings hovering around 40 percent, a modern low for a new president.

But Trump continues to go to great lengths to please that 40 percent or so of his true believers, and many of them say that despite his controversial start, they are pleased with what they've seen.

Trump's effort to cater to his political base was on display at his recent campaign style rally in Florida. After what has been a busy though at times chaotic first month in office, Trump was eager to reconnect with his political base and to keep what he calls his political movement fired up.

“This was a truly great movement and I want to be here with you and I will always be with you, I promise you that,” Trump told cheering supporters.

One enthusiastic Trump fan, Gene Huber, caught the president's eye and was invited up on stage to say a few words, despite some misgivings from the Secret Service, which protects the president.

Like many Trump supporters, Huber said the president deserves credit for following through on his campaign pledges.

“When President Trump during the election (campaign) promised all these things that he was going to do for us, I knew he was going to do this for us!” Huber said.

President Donald Trump, left, with supporter Gene Huber during a campaign rally, Feb. 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Florida.
President Donald Trump, left, with supporter Gene Huber during a campaign rally, Feb. 18, 2017, in Melbourne, Florida.

Core supporters pleased

Polls show Trump is a divisive figure, but his political base appears to be largely content at the moment.

“His most ardent supporters are delighted with what Donald Trump has been doing because he has basically been taking the status quo and throwing it on the ground and smashing it up,” Republican strategist John Feehery said.

Watch: Analysts: Trump Focused on Pleasing Core Supporters

“He is keeping faith with his campaign promises. He said he was going to appoint a conservative Supreme Court justice. He said he was going to be very vigilant on immigration,” Feehery added.

Trump no doubt will feed off that tangible support after what has been a raucous and at times polarizing first month in office.

Some of that is reflected in a new Quinnipiac University poll that found only 38 percent of those surveyed have a positive view of Trump's job performance so far, while 55 percent disapprove.

Republicans approved of Trump by a margin of 83 to 10 percentage points, while Democrats disapproved by a whopping 91 percent, compared to 5 percent who approve of him.

“Trump's popularity is sinking like a rock,” Quinnipiac pollster Tim Malloy said in a statement that accompanied the poll. “This is a terrible survey one month in.”

Other recent surveys have shown Trump's approval in the low to mid-40s.

Activists and protesters with the National Center for Transgender Equality rally in front of the White House, Feb. 22, 2017, after President Trump announced he would revoke guidelines for protecting transgender students.
Activists and protesters with the National Center for Transgender Equality rally in front of the White House, Feb. 22, 2017, after President Trump announced he would revoke guidelines for protecting transgender students.

Rising voices of opposition

Trump opponents have been out in the streets of late, with rallies and demonstrations across the country, as well as showing up in strong numbers at congressional town halls this week.

Some of the rallies demonstrate support for immigrants in the wake of Trump's moves to crack down on illegal entry. But many of the protests reflected a general discontent with where the country is headed under Trump's presidency.

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    Jim Malone

    Jim Malone has served as VOA’s National correspondent covering U.S. elections and politics since 1995. Prior to that he was a VOA congressional correspondent and served as VOA’s East Africa Correspondent from 1986 to 1990. Jim began his VOA career with the English to Africa Service in 1983.

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