DAVID GREENE, HOST:
President Trump continues his blitz on the campaign trail today with a rally in Columbia, Mo. Last night, he was stumping in Florida, where he took a moment, as he often does, to single out journalists.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: And when we talk about division, this is a big part of the division right there.
GREENE: The president was motioning to the reporters in the back of the room. Now, 29 percent of people do believe that the media is most to blame for the negative tone and lack of civility in Washington. But 40 percent, a higher number, blame President Trump. This is all according to a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll that is out this morning. And let's talk it through with NPR's lead political editor Domenico Montanaro. Hi, Domenico.
DOMENICO MONTANARO, BYLINE: Hey there, David.
GREENE: So lots of numbers to talk about, and one I really wanted to dig into. It seems like people are not just worried about a lack of civility, according to this poll, but they're concerned that that lack of civility could lead to more violence. What exactly are we seeing here?
MONTANARO: Yeah. And it's an overwhelming number and across party lines. About 4 in 5 voters say that they're concerned that that lack of civility in Washington will lead to violence. About 4 in 10 believe that the way the president conducts himself is largely to blame for incidents like the recent improvised explosive devices that were sent to prominent Democrats and critics of the president. About 1/5 though, we should say, blame the media and the way it reports on the news.
And neither the president nor the media come across very well. About half of Americans say Trump has handled the aftermath of these incidents irresponsibly, and about half also say the media has acted irresponsibly in reporting those incidents. Of course, there's a political split in that. About 4 in 5 Democrats say Trump has acted irresponsibly, while about 3/4 quarters of Republicans say the media has.
GREENE: Well, Domenico, help me understand this, as well. The survey is telling us that people feel civility has gotten much worse since President Trump took office, but 40 percent - only 40 percent - think that he is responsible for that. Can you make sense of that at all?
MONTANARO: Well, I mean, about 3/4 say the overall tone and level of civility in Washington have gotten worse since Trump has become president, and that's up from earlier in his presidency and much higher than when President Obama was in office, by the way. And Obama, we know, was certainly a lightning rod for the right. But these numbers that you're looking at, I mean, 3/4 of Americans saying it's gotten worse, tells you Americans really perceive this time under Trump to be something different.
GREENE: So I mean, this is an important moment for any presidency, a midterm election, even though the president is not on the ballot. What kind of support does he have right now, if we use this as a snapshot?
MONTANARO: Well, it hasn't changed very much, you know? About 41 percent approve of the job that he's doing, which is kind of where it's been for the entirety of his presidency. It's historically low and could hurt Republicans in the House in particular. And, you know, on the question of who people prefer to control Congress, Democrats are leading. Among registered voters, Democrats lead by six points.
And for the first time, we had our pollsters do a, quote, "likely voter model" to see the kinds of people who might turn out. And with that, it's nine points that Democrats lead. That's a range that our pollsters say is a real, you know, warning sign for Republicans that likely means a flip of control of the House, provided everyone who says they're going to go out and vote actually do so.
GREENE: But you still see Republican candidates, even though the president's numbers aren't that great, wanting to have him come campaign and tie themselves to him.
MONTANARO: In some places, yes. I mean, he puts a lot of Republicans in a difficult position. You know, Missouri, yes. Florida, maybe not so much. Certainly in Georgia, for example. The Republican candidate there, Brian Kemp, for governor, is skipping a final debate with Democrat Stacey Abrams to campaign with President Trump this weekend. You know, Kemp is making that gamble that being with the president is more important in this traditionally conservative state.
GREENE: All right. NPR lead political editor Domenico Montanaro. Domenico, thanks.
MONTANARO: You're welcome.
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