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Public to Trump: Lay off Twitter


PlaySaul Loeb/AFP/Getty ImagesWATCH Trump hits record low approval rating in new poll

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Americans are highly disapproving of President Donald Trump in personal terms, with his tweeting habit a major irritant: Seventy percent say he’s acted in an unpresidential manner since taking office, 68 percent don’t see him as a positive role model and 67 percent disapprove of his use of Twitter.

Fifty-seven percent in this ABC News/Washington Post poll also say that the more they hear about Trump the less they like him, vs. 29 percent who like him more. And 56 percent say unpresidential conduct by Trump is “damaging to the presidency overall.”

See PDF with full results here.

Trump’s behavior comes in for some criticism even in his own camp. Nearly four in 10 Republicans, 38 percent, say his conduct has been unpresident ial rather than “fitting and proper” for a president. So do 48 percent of evangelical white Protestants and 55 percent of non-college-educated white men, two core Trump support groups.

Specific to Twitter, word associations with Trump’s tweets are broadly negative in this poll, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates. Sixty-eight percent find them “inappropriate,” 65 percent “insulting,” 52 percent even “dangerous.” Fewer apply more positive descriptions: “interesting,” 41 percent; “effective,” 36 percent; or “refreshing,” 21 percent.

Such views are an important element of Trump’s poor job performance ratings. As reported Sunday, just 36 percent of Americans approve of his work in office overall, a record low at the six-month mark, and two-thirds distrust him to represent the United States in negotiations with other world leaders.

There are sharp differences among groups in response to Trump’s tweets, even beyond typical partisan and ideological divisions. While 58 percent of men call them inappropriate, that jumps to 78 percent among women. Conversely, just 29 percent of women see his tweets as interesting, vs. 54 percent of men. Forty-six percent of whites see them as dangerous, rising to 65 percent of nonwhites. Even among Republicans, well fewer than half, 41 percent, say they’re refreshing.

For more expert insight, check out “The Briefing Room,” where Chief White House Correspondent Jon Karl, Senior White House Correspondent Cecilia Vega and the rest of the ABC News politics team will be analyzing the White House press briefings LIVE starting this week. You can catch “The Briefing Room” on ABCNews.com, the ABC News app, and on ABC News’ Facebook and YouTube pages.

Say why?

In an open-ended question, negative personal attributes — rather than policy positions — are most mentioned as the top complaints by people who disapprove of Trump: acting inappropriately (13 percent), being ill-informed (12 percent) and making false statements (also 12 percent). Among his approvers, the economy and jobs top the list (cited by 11 percent total), followed by positive attributes — speaking his mind (9 percent) and strong leadership (again 9 percent).

The broad sense of inappropriateness by Trump informs another result — just 30 percent see him as a positive role model for young people, vs. 68 percent who say not. Among groups, half of white evangelicals see him as a good role model, fewer than might be expected in a key support group. And among young adults themselves, age 18 to 29, he’s seen as a good role model by just 19 percent.

An even worse result on this question has been seen before — as few as 18 percent of Americans saw President Bill Clinton as a positive role model. Clinton earned that approbation by having an affair with a White House intern; Trump’s, by contrast, seems rooted in what he says — 140 characters at a time.

Methodology

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted by landline and cellular telephone July 10-13, 2017, in English and Spanish, among a random national sample of 1,001 adults. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 35-23-35 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

The survey was produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates of New York, New York, with sampling, data collection and tabulation by Abt Associates of Cambridge, Mass. See details on the survey’s methodology here.

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