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Americans are losing confidence in Trump, poll shows

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President Donald Trump talks with Puerto Rico Governor Ricardo Rosselló as they take their seats for a briefing on hurricane relief efforts in a hangar at Muniz Air National Guard Base in Carolina, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday.

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05th-Oct-2017       
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Reuters, New York :
Americans are increasingly confident in the news media and less so in President Donald Trump's administration after a tumultuous year in U.S. politics that tested the public's trust in both institutions, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.
The poll of more than 14,300 people found that the percentage of adults who said they had a "great deal" or "some" confidence in the press rose to 48 percent in September from 39 percent last November. Earlier this year, Trump branded the entire industry as the "enemy of the American people."
The percentage of those who said they had "hardly any" confidence in the press dropped to 45 percent from 51 percent over the same period.
Confidence in Trump's administration moved in the opposite direction.
Reuters/Ipsos, which tracked confidence in major institutions every couple of months after the 2016 presidential election, found in late January that 52 percent of Americans had a "great deal" or "some" confidence in the new president's executive branch. That dropped to 51 percent in the May survey and to 48 percent in the latest poll. Trump took office in January.
In comparison, 57 percent of Americans expressed similar levels of confidence in former Democratic President Barack Obama's outgoing administration in November.
The poll also found that the shift in trust was not simply a partisan reaction to a Republican president.
From January to September, the percentage of people who had a "great deal" or "some" confidence in the executive branch dropped 6 percentage points among Republicans and 3 points among Democrats.
The percentage of those who expressed similar levels of confidence in the media rose 3 points this year among Republicans and 11 points among Democrats.
More than other modern presidents, Trump has treated the news media as an opposition party. He has shamed individual reporters by name and responded to unflattering reports as "fake news."
Every president clashes with the news media, but Trump "has gone a step further in attacking the press and questioning their legitimacy," said Martha Kumar, a presidential historian who has worked with White House transition teams for Obama and 2008 Republican presidential nominee Senator John McCain.
"What you're seeing now is a gradual recognition of the importance of the press" at a time when people are still getting used to a new president whose campaign is under federal investigation for alleged collusion with Russia, Kumar said. Trump has denied any collusion occurred. Kumar added that confidence in the press may be rising this year because news organizations have offered wildly different perspectives on Trump, satisfying people who like him as well as those who do not.
"They're not all watching and reading the same things," she said. "They're gravitating toward organizations they trust." Ari Fleischer, former Republican President George W. Bush's first press secretary, said any shift in the way people viewed the press and the president was likely the product of an oppositional relationship that both sides had pushed since the 2016 presidential campaign.
"Trump throws fastballs directly at the press' head. He does it almost every day," Fleischer said. "This makes those who oppose Trump draw into the press," elevating its stature among those who would otherwise not trust the media, he said. "But the press has played into it by the mistakes they've made, by missing the rise of Trump, by being too liberal," Fleischer added. "They've helped create this environment."
Meanwhile: President Donald Trump shook hands with storm survivors in Puerto Rico and told them to be "proud" the island did not lose more lives to Hurricane Maria, on a trip designed to quiet criticism of his administration's response to the disaster.
The US president, alongside First Lady Melania Trump, visited the middle class suburb of Guaynabo, walking among trees and signs felled two weeks ago by Maria's jet-blast winds.
Trump asked residents about their homes, posed for photos and stopped into a church along the way to shoot rolls of paper towel basketball-style into a crowd snapping pictures on their cellphones. Nearly two weeks after Maria thrashed through the US territory, much of the island remains short of food and without access to power or drinking water. The administration's critics said the early response was not fast enough or on a scale that could help the island's 3.4 million American citizens.
A fortnight later, seven percent of the island has electricity, more than 9,000 people are living in shelters, and just 40 percent of telecommunications are back up. Thousands of homes-most of them made of wood-have been destroyed, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
After touching down at Muniz Air National Guard Base, beginning his five hour trip, Trump rallied disaster management workers telling them they "can be very proud" of their response.

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