US President Donald Trump's standing with the American people has deteriorated since the northern spring, buffeted by perceptions of a decline in US leadership abroad, a stalled presidential agenda at home and an unpopular Republican healthcare bill, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Approaching six months in office, Trump's overall approval rating has dropped to 36 per cent from 42 per cent in April. His disapproval rating has risen five points to 58 per cent. Overall, 48 per cent say they "disapprove strongly" of Trump's performance in office, a level never reached by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and reached only in the second term of George W. Bush in Post-ABC polling.
Almost half of all Americans (48 per cent) see the country's leadership in the world as weaker since Trump was inaugurated, compared with 27 per cent who say it is stronger. Majorities also say they do not trust him in negotiations with foreign leaders and in particular Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Post-ABC poll finds 60 per cent of Americans think Russia tried to influence the election outcome, up slightly from 56 per cent in April. Some 44 per cent suspect Russian interference and think Trump benefited from their efforts. Roughly four in 10 believe members of Trump's campaign intentionally aided Russian efforts to influence the election.
Among Democrats, 8 in 10 believe Russia attempted to influence the election and more than 6 in 10 think members of Trump's team attempted to aid their efforts. But among Republicans, one-third think Russia tried to influence the election outcome, and fewer than 1 in 10 think Trump's associates sought to help them.
Last week, information was revealed by the New York Times that Donald Trump jnr and two other senior campaign officials met a Russian lawyer and others after being offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton and told that the information was part of a Russian Government effort to help Trump. Asked about this revelation, more than six in 10 Americans say the meeting was inappropriate. But almost half of all Republicans call the meeting appropriate.
The President's strongest assets continue to be the healthy economy and a view among many Americans that the Democrats do not have a coherent message or programme in opposition, other than opposition to the President.
Trump's standing is a mirror opposite of Obama and Bush at this point in their first terms. Each held a 59 per cent job approval rating in Post-ABC polling. A 55 per cent majority say Trump is not making major progress toward his goals.
The poll finds about twice as many Americans prefer Obamacare to GOP plans for replacing it - 50 per cent to 24 per cent. Yesterday Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell put off plans to vote on a bill after Senator John McCain announced he would be at home recovering from surgery, leaving Republicans short of the votes they needed to advance the legislation.
The poll shows risks of Democrats' opposition to Trump. Some 37 per cent say the party stands for something, while 52 per cent say it mainly stands against Trump.