WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump's approval ratings, the lowest ever for a first-term U.S. leader, are in decline, but he said Sunday that "almost 40% is not bad at this time."
Trump offered his assessment in a Twitter comment after a new Washington Post/ABC News poll showed his approval rating dropping from 42 percent in April to 36 percent. His unfavorable rating is up five points to 58 percent and 48 percent saying they "disapprove strongly" of his performance during the first six months of his White House tenure.
Trump described the Post/ABC poll as "just about the most inaccurate poll around election time!" The Gallup tracking poll averaging results on Trump's performance over a three-day period showed a similar current negative finding on Friday, 57-38 unfavorable.
The Post said Trump's low standing was "never reached" by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, although George W. Bush's standing did hit that level during his second term.
Almost half of the U.S. population, 48 percent, thinks the country's standing in the world has deteriorated under Trump, while 27 percent say it is stronger.
Nearly half of Americans, 48 percent, when asked specifically about Trump negotiating with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said they do not trust Trump "at all."
The poll was conducted after reports in The New York Times disclosed that Trump's eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., and officials from his father's presidential campaign met last year with a Russian lawyer and others who claimed to have incriminating information about Trump's Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.
The meeting was called "inappropriate" by more than six in 10 Americans, with a quarter saying it was appropriate. Almost half of all Republicans, however, said the meeting was appropriate.
On the plus side, opinions about Trump's economic proposals were evenly divided, with 43 percent of respondents approving and 41 percent disapproving. Trump also benefited from perceptions that the Democratic Party stands for nothing but opposition to the president.
Trump's standing, at this point in his presidency, is the opposite of Obama's and Bush's, who both enjoyed a 59 percent approval rating early in their administrations. The Post said Trump's popularity now is closer to that of Bill Clinton who had a record low of 43 percent approval rating in late June 1993, before it improved later in the year. Clinton had announced plans to raise taxes in February that year and was facing criticism after firing the White House travel office staff.