- The Washington Times - Monday, September 19, 2022

Former President Donald Trump’s favorability rating is gradually sliding downward even as the ex-president hits the road on behalf of Republican midterm candidates and hints he is ready to launch a 2024 bid for another four-year term in the White House.

An NBC News poll released Sunday reported that just 34% of registered voters have a positive view of Mr. Trump, compared to 54% who have a negative view.

Only 32% had a positive view of Mr. Trump in April 2021, a few months after he left office. His rating bounced up to 38% by August, as President Biden stumbled over Afghanistan and COVID-19, but positive feelings about Mr. Trump have slid downward since then.

By comparison, 42% of voters have a positive view of Mr. Biden and 47% have a negative view.

Mr. Trump remains the de facto leader of the Republican Party, and he is hitting the road to stump for GOP congressional and gubernatorial candidates and rail against a series of government investigations into his post-2020 election actions and the trove of sensitive government documents found at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida.

Mr. Trump recently told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt that he doesn’t think he will be indicted. But if he is charged, he said that wouldn’t deter him from running for president.

SEE ALSO: Rust Belt voters lukewarm on some GOP candidates but eager to deliver for Trump

The NBC poll found that 56% of voters think the investigations into Mr. Trump should continue, while 41% think they should stop.

Earlier polls found the investigations rallied Mr. Trump’s base to support him, particularly over potential GOP rivals in a theoretical 2024 primary, but the situation may be an overall drag on Republicans who’d rather focus on Mr. Biden’s economic stumbles.

The pollsters said Mr. Trump’s sliding favorability, Mr. Biden’s rising approval rating and opposition to the Supreme Court ruling that overturned the broad right to abortion as reasons Democrats have pulled even with Republicans, 46%-46%, when voters were asked which party they would like to see in control of Congress.

Republicans enjoyed a 47%-45% edge in a similar poll in August.

The GOP said it isn’t worried because it remains in the driver’s seat on key issues, with voters favoring the GOP to handle the economy (47% versus 28% for Democrats) and issues like border security, immigration and crime.

“Republicans hold a massive advantage on the issues that will decide competitive elections this November. Democrats are only talking to their base,” said Mike Berg, spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee.

The poll of 1,000 registered voters was taken Sept. 9-13 and had a margin of error of 3.1 points.

• Tom Howell Jr. can be reached at thowell@washingtontimes.com.

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