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New polling suggests that as Donald Trump solidifies the GOP base, he and the Republican party are also repelling independent voters. In a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Trump’s approval rating among Republican voters is at an all-time high for the poll—88 percent. But while 29 percent of all voters say they “strongly approve” of his performance, another 44 percent of all voters “strongly disapprove” of his performance.

That disparity is expressing itself in his drop in approvals among independent voters, writes NBC News.

The bad news for the president is that his standing — plus the GOP’s — is now worse with independents than it was a month ago. Just 36 percent of independents approve of Trump’s job (down 7 points from June). What’s more, independents prefer a Democratic-controlled Congress by more than 20 points, 48 percent to 26 percent. In June, the Dem lead among indies was just 7 points, 39 percent to 32 percent. (emphasis added)

That 22-point gap among independents who favor Democrats over Republicans in the generic ballot also seems to track with the 30-point gap between the number of independents who “strongly disapprove” of Trump versus those who “strongly approve” of him (with 46 percent strongly disapproving and just 16 percent strongly approving).

Chart showing a 30-point gap between independents who "strongly" disapprove of Trump vs. those who "strongly" approve of him (46-16 percent).

The bottom-line takeaway appears to be: the more Trump appeals to Republicans while ignoring the rest of the country, the more independents are turning against him. That ripple effect is also spilling over onto Republican lawmakers, positioning this fall’s elections as a clear referendum on Trump’s performance more than any other single factor.

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