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More than half of voters polled say Trump has weakened the US

By Anita Kumar • Apr 3, 2017 at 6:00 AM

WASHINGTON — He hasn’t even been in office three months but half of the nation’s voters already say President Donald Trump has weakened the United States’ role in the world, according to a new McClatchy-Marist poll.

Since he was inaugurated in January, Trump has been criticized for a series of what some call foreign policy missteps: authorizing a raid in Yemen in which a Navy SEAL died, criticizing a deal that calls for the U.S. to accept 1,250 refugees from Australia, and insulting German Chancellor Angela Merkel by refusing to shake her hand when they met at the White House.

And in January, Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto canceled a meeting with Trump after the U.S. president insisted that Mexico pay for a wall along the U.S. southern border.

Fifty-five percent of voters polled said Trump has weakened the U.S.’s role in the world, up from 52 percent in February. That includes 83 percent of Democrats but also includes 59 percent of independents, 17 percent of Republicans and 12 percent of those who called themselves Trump supporters. Thirty-six percent said he has made the U.S. stronger. Nine percent were unsure.

Trump has invited several world leaders to the White House, including Prime Ministers Theresa May of Britain, Justin Trudeau of Canada, Shinzo Abe of Japan, Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Lars Lokke Rasmussen of Denmark. He will meet with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el Sissi Monday and Jordanian King Abdullah II Wednesday. He will Chinese President Xi Jinping later this week at his Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago.

Trump is expected to take his first trip abroad as president in May when he attends the Group of Seven and NATO summits in Belgium and Italy. He is also expected to visit Canada and Britain this year.

“Even in the past month, his numbers for the image of the United States on the world stage and in his meeting with foreign leaders have declined, including among his GOP base,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the survey.

“There is a fine line between showing strength and being confrontational in international matters and President Trump is still trying to find that line.”

Trump and his aides have long been criticized for his friendly relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Recently, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign advisers and Russia.

Trump has said he would consider lifting the sanctions imposed against Russia for its annexation of Crimea, and suggested that he is open to recognizing Crimea as Russian territory. The White House already has loosened financial sanctions against Russia’s security agency that the Obama administration imposed as punishment for Russia’s meddling in November’s presidential election and for Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea.

By 48-39 percent, voters said Trump’s relationship with Putin is mostly a bad thing for the United States. That includes 80 percent of Democrats, 47 percent of independents, 11 percent of Republicans and 8 percent of those who called themselves Trump supporters. That’s essentially uncharged from February, when the tally was 47-39 percent.

Cheryl Lewis, an independent voter from Coral Springs, Fla., who did not vote for either Trump nor Hillary Clinton last year,, said Trump has good ideas but is surrounding himself with bad people.

“The way he speaks out is bad,” Lewis said. “I still feel he has a lot of contribute if he can learn. He’s not a politician.”

Thirty-three percent of voters polled said the country is less safe from terrorist attacks since Trump became president. Nineteen percent said the county is safer, safe, while 46 percent said it’s about the same. Two percent said they were unsure.

Those who feel less safe include 56 percent of Democrats, 30 percent of independents, 5 percent of Republicans and 4 percent of those who called themselves Trump supporters.

More than half of voters polled said they oppose Trump’s temporary halt on immigration from six Muslim-majority countries: Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.

A federal judge in Hawaii last month temporarily blocked Trump’s travel ban hours before it was to go into effect. It was the second time a Trump order seeking to temporarily limit U.S. entry from Muslim-majority countries has been blocked by a federal judge.

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SURVEY METHODOLOGY

The survey of 1,062 adults was conducted March 22-27 by The Marist Poll, sponsored and funded in partnership with McClatchy. People 18 and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone by live interviewers. Mobile telephone numbers were randomly selected based on a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation from Survey Sampling International. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. Mobile phones are treated as individual devices. After validation of age, personal ownership and non-business use of the mobile phone, interviews are typically conducted with the person answering the phone. To increase coverage, this mobile sample was supplemented by respondents reached through random dialing of landline phone numbers from ASDE Survey Sampler Inc. Within each landline household, a single respondent is selected through a random selection process to increase the representativeness of traditionally undercovered survey populations. The samples were then combined and balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey one-year estimates for age, gender, income, race and region. Results are statistically significant within plus or minus 3.0 percentage points. There are 906 registered voters. The results for this subset are statistically significant within plus or minus percentage points. The error margin was not adjusted for sample weights and increases for cross-tabulations.

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©2017 McClatchy Washington Bureau

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