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Reprinted with permission from Alternet.


Fewer than 4 in 10 U.S. voters approve of President Donald Trump’s performance in office, according to a Marist College poll released after the bombing attack in Syria.

They also expressed dissatisfaction with the way Trump was handling foreign policy, said the county’s international role was diminished under his administration, and said they had little or no trust in the president to make the right decision in an international crisis.

“As tensions mount, President Trump is facing a critical test as Commander in Chief,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Instead of a rally ’round the flag effect, Americans are still looking for President Trump to provide leadership and more careful planning to arrive at sound policies.”

Here are five takeaways from the poll.

1. Trump remains unpopular.

Trump’s job approval rating among registered voters was just 39 percent, with 49 percent disapproving. The numbers have remained constant since the president took office; his job approval rating was 41 percent positive and 49 percent negative in February.

A majority, 54 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion of the president while just 38 percent viewed him favorably. Again, that was largely unchanged from February.

2. So does his handling of foreign policy.

Forty percent of voters approved and 49 percent disapproved.

This came at time at a time when more than 7 in 10 voters, 72 percent, said tensions were rising around the world, compared with just 21%

3. Doing the wrong thing.

Majorities of U.S. voters had little trust in Trump to do the right thing in international affairs.

Asked about making the right decision, 55 percent said they had little or no trust in Trump, while 42 percent said they had a great deal or good amount.

Regarding weighing all options before taking action, 58 percent said they had little or no trust that he would do so, while 39 percent said they had a great deal of trust or a good amount.

And 55 percent said they had little or no trust that Trump would come up with a sound strategy, compared with 42 percent who had a great or good amount of trust.

4. A lack of confidence at the top.

Asked whether Trump should be considered a good leader, 54 percent of registered voters said no and 41 percent said yes.

More than twice as many, 38 percent, strongly disagreed with that characterization as strongly agreed, 16 percent.

A majority of voters, 52 percent said they had little or no confidence in Trump’s ability to keep the U.S. safe, while 47 percent said they had either a great deal or a good amount of confidence in the president to do so.

5. What should be done about Syria?

Six in 10 U.S. voters said Trump did not have a clear idea of what he wanted to do in Syria. Just one-third, 33 percent, said he did.

Even so, 58 percent supported the limited air strikes in response to Syria’s use of chemical weapons while 33 percent opposed them. In 2013 under President Barack Obama, just 32 percent favored bombing Syria compared with 58 percent who opposed such actions.

Just 21 percent said the U.S. should actively work to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, while 71 percent said the U.S, should either support his removal without doing anything about it, or should not be involved at all.

Sixty percent said Syria posed either a minor threat or no threat at all to the U.S. Just 36 percent said the Arab nation was a serious threat.

The poll of 869 registered voters was conducted April 11-12 and had a margin of error of 3.3 percentage points.

This article was made possible by the readers and supporters of AlterNet.


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Eric Holder

The failure of major federal voting rights legislation in the Senate has left civil rights advocates saying they are determined to keep fighting—including by suing in battleground states. But the little bipartisan consensus that exists on election reform would, at best, lead to much narrower legislation that is unlikely to address state-level GOP efforts now targeting Democratic blocs.

“This is the loss of a battle, but it is not necessarily the loss of a war, and this war will go on,” Eric Holder, the former U.S. attorney general and Democrat, told MSNBC, saying that he and the Democratic Party will be suing in states where state constitutions protect voting rights. “This fight for voting rights and voter protection and for our democracy will continue.”

“The stakes are too important to give up now,” said Damon Hewitt, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which for years has operated an Election Day hotline to help people vote. “Our country cannot claim to be free while allowing states to legislate away that freedom at will.”

In recent weeks, as it became clear that the Senate was not going to change its rules to allow the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to pass with a simple majority, there have been efforts by some lawmakers, election policy experts, and civil rights advocates to identify what election reforms could pass the Senate.

“There are several areas… where I think there could be bipartisan consensus,” said David Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research, in a briefing on January 20. “These areas are all around those guardrails of democracy. They are all about ensuring that however the voters speak that their voice is heard… and cannot be subverted by anyone in the post-election process.”

Becker cited updating the 1887 Electoral Count Act, which addressed the process where state-based slates of presidential electors are accepted by Congress. (In recent weeks, new evidence has surfaced showing that Donald Trump’s supporters tried to present Congress with forged certificates as part of an effort to disrupt ratifying the results on January 6, 2021.) Updating that law could also include clarifying which state officials have final authority in elections and setting out clear timetables for challenging election results in federal court after Election Day.

Five centrist Washington-based think tanks issued a report on January 20, Prioritizing Achievable Federal Election Reform, which suggested federal legislation could codify practices now used by nearly three-quarters of the states. Those include requiring voters to present ID, offering at least a week of early voting, allowing all voters to request a mailed-out ballot, and allowing states to start processing returned absentee ballots a week before Election Day.

But the report, which heavily drew on a task force of 29 state and local election officials from 20 states convened by Washington’s Bipartisan Policy Center, was notable in what it did not include, such as restoring the major enforcement section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which was removed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2013. It did not mention the Electoral Count Act nor growing threats to election officials from Trump supporters.

“This won’t satisfy all supporters of the Freedom to Vote Act, but this is a plausible & serious package of reforms to make elections more accessible and secure that could attract bipartisan support,” tweeted Charles Stewart III, a political scientist and director of the MIT Election Data and Science Lab. “A good starting point.”

The reason the centrist recommendations won’t satisfy civil rights advocates is that many of the most troubling developments since the 2020 election would likely remain.

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