A look at President Trump's administration and the rest of Washington:
- Trump wants to boost defense spending by $54 billion, a 10% jump
- Justice Department shifts course in controversial Texas voting rights case
- Trump says "nobody knew healthcare could be this complicated."
- Trump says Hollywood's obsession with him led to Oscar snafu
- Trump's nominee for Navy secretary withdraws over financial conflicts
- Democrats pick Tom Perez to lead them from the political wilderness
Less than a month into President Trump’s tenure, an overwhelming share of Americans already have strongly held views about his job performance and positions are deeply polarized.
Trump's core supporters continue to strongly back the new president, a survey from the nonpartisan Pew Research Center finds. His opponents -- a larger group -- fervently disapprove of him.
Those polarized views help explain why Trump's attacks on the media and repeated mentions of his defeated Democratic opponent – he mentioned “Hillary” 12 times during his news conference today – may make sense as a strategy. While his approach may not change the minds of people who dislike him, it could help rally his existing supporters.
The Pew survey found that three-quarters of Americans either strongly approve or strongly disapprove of Trump. That's a much higher number than had strongly held views of other presidents at this stage of their terms in office.
Overall, the survey, which was conducted last Tuesday through Sunday, found that 56% of Americans disapproved of Trump’s performance in office and 39% approved.
That marked the first major poll in which Trump's approval dropped below 40%, but it's only slightly lower than several other recent polls.
The finding does, however, differ a lot from the poll by Rasmussen, a Republican favorite, which Trump cited in his news conference. That survey found 55% of Americans approving of Trump’s performance in office.
One major difference between the surveys is that Rasmussen, alone among recent major surveys, reported numbers only from people it considered "likely voters" -- a hard group to define this far away from an election and one that can easily be skewed.
In the Pew survey, almost half of Americans, 46%, strongly disapproved of Trump's work so far, while three in 10 strongly approved.
That level of strong disapproval is unprecedented for this early in a president’s tenure. Indeed, President Obama never generated that high a level of strong disapproval in his eight years. President George W. Bush did so only in his last month in office, Pew’s surveys found.
Trump's most controversial action so far -- his proposed temporary ban on travel from seven mostly Muslim countries -- also drew sharply polarized reactions.
Overall, the division of opinion on the travel order was almost the same as division on his job performance overall.
But views on how the administration had executed the order were more negative. Only 28% said they believed the administration had done a good job of rolling out the order, while 17% said the administration had done only a fair job and 53% said they had done a poor job.
The Pew poll surveyed 1,503 adult Americans nationwide by telephone, including cellphones and land lines. It has a margin of error for the full sample of 2.9 percentage points in either direction.