ChrisWeigant.com

Checking In With Trump's Polling

[ Posted Wednesday, March 7th, 2018 – 18:19 PST ]

Since it's been more than a few months, I thought today would be a good time to check in to see how President Donald Trump's job approval polling has been doing. There has been a lot of activity since the last time we looked, including two bumps and a slide. As always, the numbers discussed come from the Real Clear Politics "poll of polls" rolling average tracking page.

Right after I wrote about Trump's polls in mid-December, his numbers bottomed out at yet another low point for him -- 37.0 percent average job approval, and a whopping 58.1 percent average job disapproval. Since that time, Trump recovered to the point where he was seeing numbers he hasn't seen since the beginning of May, 2017. Of course, as with all things Trump, this is relative, because it only meant his job approval squeaking above 42 percent, rather than hovering in the 38-40 percent range. In other words, those are still pretty dismal approval numbers for a president entering his second year.

Still, Trump's sustained climb from December until just recently is the biggest rise he's yet seen, so it is somewhat significant. From his 37.0 percent low (on December 12), Trump got his first bump with the passage of the Republican tax bill. All presidents get a bump whenever Congress actually does anything, and these often happen at the end of the year (as they face big deadlines). Barack Obama saw several of these happen, mostly over budget agreements hammered together just before the year-end vacation. It's interesting to note that these bumps normally happen no matter what actually passes -- the public is kind of breathing a sigh of relief that Congress did anything, in other words. Obama signed both Democratic budgets and Republican budgets in December, and still saw roughly the same bump either way.

Trump's first bump peaked on January 3, when he hit 40.5 percent approval and his disapproval slipped to 55.8 percent. By mid-month, his approval rate had slipped a bit, down to 39.1 percent, while his disapproval remained unchanged.

Trump's next bump was also a normal one in presidential politics, as it happened just after he delivered his first official "State Of The Union" speech to Congress. This pushed him up another two points, to top out in mid-February at 42.3 percent approval and 53.3 percent disapproval. All told, that meant a rise of 5.3 percent approval in two months' time, which is a fairly respectable improvement over such a short period.

Since then, however, Trump's numbers have begun to fall once again. Trump's highest point in the daily average was coincidentally the same day (Valentine's Day) as the school shooting in Florida. Since then, Trump's seen his numbers slide, although what may be driving this downturn more than Trump's incoherent response to the shooting may be his newly-announced tariffs on steel and aluminum (as well as the continuing departure of his closest staff). Today, Trump's average approval stands at 39.8 percent while his disapproval has climbed back up to 55.5 percent.

More simply stated, his State Of The Union bump has now disappeared, putting him roughly where he was after his December bump. The trendline is down in the past week, but it's too soon to tell whether his numbers will fall further (whether his year-end bump will also dissipate, in other words). As always, though, it's impossible to really correlate the shift in public opinion with specific events. Trump may be down in the polling because volatility has returned to Wall Street, making people more uncertain about their economic future. Or it could be any number of other issues driving his numbers down. With Trump, there's certainly no shortage of issues to choose from.

Looking at the bigger picture, Trump has managed to rebound slightly from the doldrums he's been in for almost the entire past year (as mentioned, his "honeymoon" period, what there was of it, ended last May, when his poll numbers sank below 43 percent approval, where they've remained ever since). Other than small spikes both upward and downward ("small" equals roughly a percentage point), Trump has stayed pretty consistently within the range of 38-to-40 percent approval for many months. So the past three months may represent a slight widening of that range, to perhaps the 37-to-42 percent range, or the downward spike may have been an outlier -- in which case, Trump is expanding his approval window upwards into the very low 40s. The next few months should show which is really the case. Trump may even sink back into his usual 38-to-40 percent range, after both the downward and upwards spikes smooth out.

Conservatives attempted to boast about Trump's approval ratings during January, without much notable success. They pointed to their favorite poll (Rasmussen, naturally) which showed Trump up to 50 percent approval, higher even than Barack Obama at this point in his presidency. Well, that's why they call them outliers, folks. During roughly the same time, Trump was also charting job approval as low as 35 percent in other individual polls, at the other end of the outlier scale.

An honest comparison between Trump and Obama tells a radically different story. On this exact date in his presidency, Barack Obama was at 48.7 percent approval, and only 45.8 percent disapproval in Real Clear Politics' averages. He had fallen to that point from his best showing for his second year, which happened on January 5, when Obama had a 50.0 percent approval rating -- a number Trump has yet to even get close to. Obama saw his worst number to date in late February, when his job approval fell to 47.1 percent, with 46.0 percent disapproval.

Even projecting forward a bit, the rest of the second year of Obama's term had him steadily losing ground in job approval, and on March 17 Obama reached his first "crossover" point, where his job approval (47.3 percent) came in lower than his disapproval (47.8 percent). His chart lines crossed over again in June, and he spent the rest of the year underwater. Even so, his worst day during 2010 came in September, when he fell to 44.5 percent approval and 51.2 percent disapproval.

Now compare those numbers to Trump's rolling average. To date, Obama stands almost nine full points above where Trump now stands in job approval (48.7 percent versus 39.8 percent). Even if you compare Obama's worst day of his second year (so far) to Trump's best day, Obama still beats Trump by almost five points (47.1 percent to 42.3 percent). Even if you compare Trump's best numbers so far this calendar year with Obama's worst number for all of 2010, Obama still wins by over two points (44.5 percent to 42.3 percent). So saying that Trump is "more popular than Obama was" is just flat-out incorrect. Trump still has a long way to go to even match his best numbers against Obama's worst numbers, to say nothing of a head-to-head matchup (where, again, Obama would be 8.9 points above Trump's current rating).

Other than his first few days in office, Donald Trump has spent his entire presidency underwater in the polling, often by a margin of double digits. On his worst day, he was more than 21 points underwater, in fact. Today, he is at a whopping 15.7 points under the waves, which is a rather enormous disparity between those who approve of the job he's doing and those who don't. Obama's numbers, by contrast, had still yet to go underwater even once by this point, and wouldn't do so for another couple of weeks (where he would end up only 0.5 points underwater). So the comparison between the two is really not even close.

Not unlike the stock market of late, Trump's job approval seems to be experiencing more volatility than it has for almost a year. He broke out of his narrow 2-point range to fall to 37 percent approval, and then rose to just above 42 percent approval. This may signal more volatility to come, or it may have just be a couple of hiccups. Time will tell.

-- Chris Weigant

 

Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisWeigant

 

29 Comments on “Checking In With Trump's Polling”

  1. [1] 
    Paula wrote:

    He ought to be at about 4% approval - allowing for the mentally ill, developmentally challenged and perennially drunk.

  2. [2] 
    Balthasar wrote:

    Paula [1]: heh!

    CW: None of which, you should add, should give the Democrats any hope of easy wins in November, save that it diminishes the ability of any individual Republicant to run on Trump's coattails.

    You didn't mention, for instance, what happens when you only count Republicans. Then the number flips to something like 80%-20%, but as has been pointed out before, those numbers are as soft as cheese in the sun. Still, tribalism runs deep this year, and I suspect that despite national generic ballots that seem to favor Democrats by large numbers, the midterms will be fought hand-to-hand in many more districts than these numbers would suggest.

  3. [3] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @CW,

    i'm a bit suspicious of the sampling of most polls. based on my read of campaign opinion polls versus the actual results of the election, there seems to be a sizable percentage of people who support donald but won't admit it to a pollster. i don't know how big that percentage is or whether its size has changed since he's been president, but its a good wager that the 'silent donjority' exists.

    JL

  4. [4] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    there are a lot of americans who won't say it when anyone asks them because they know he's horrible, but somewhere inside it's the kind of horrible they want.

    JL

    You don't want the truth, because deep down in places you don't talk about at parties, you want me on that wall. You need me on that wall.
    ~?Col. Nathan R. Jessup

  5. [5] 
    Michale wrote:

    there are a lot of americans who won't say it when anyone asks them because they know he's horrible, but somewhere inside it's the kind of horrible they want.

    And there are a lot of Americans who won't say their true feelings about President Trump because then they are physically assaulted and attacked as "deplorables" and "racists"..

    Once you take that FACT into account, you understand why President Trump polls so low...

    President Trump polled lower in the election and, guess what??

    He still won..

  6. [6] 
    Michale wrote:

    JL,

    Exactly as you said in comment #3... :D

    My bust.. :D

    Maybe I should read the comments in order.. :D

    But, at least, I explained WHY poll'ees won't admit their Trump support to a pollster..

  7. [7] 
    Michale wrote:

    and I suspect that despite national generic ballots that seem to favor Democrats by large numbers, the midterms will be fought hand-to-hand in many more districts than these numbers would suggest.

    That's old news..

    In generic ballots, GOP'ers are up over Democrats...

    You are correct to be concerned...

    Democrats are losing their edge because it has become clear that they have nothing to offer except RUSSIA!!! TRUMP!!! RUSSIA!!! TRUMP!!! RUSSIA!!! TRUMP!!!..

  8. [8] 
    Kick wrote:

    In generic ballots, GOP'ers are up over Democrats...

    Can somebody please point me to any generic ballot where the GOP is up over Democrats? <--- Not snark.

    https://tinyurl.com/yddcgkgt

  9. [9] 
    Kick wrote:

    CW: Even if you compare Trump's best numbers so far this calendar year with Obama's worst number for all of 2010, Obama still wins by over two points (44.5 percent to 42.3 percent). So saying that Trump is "more popular than Obama was" is just flat-out incorrect. Trump still has a long way to go to even match his best numbers against Obama's worst numbers, to say nothing of a head-to-head matchup (where, again, Obama would be 8.9 points above Trump's current rating).

    Absolutely 100% correct. In fact, I looked high and low for a recent poll where Trump's numbers actually do beat Obama's. The good news is, I did find one; the bad news is that it's a poll that asks for opinions regarding "worst president" of the 13 presidents since World War II.

    Poll: Trump picked as worst president since World War II

    A plurality of American voters believe President Trump is the worst commander in chief since the end of World War II, a poll released Wednesday found.

    The Quinnipiac University survey showed 41 percent of American voters think Trump is the worst of the 13 presidents who have held the office since 1945. The same poll also shows Trump with a 38 percent approval rating.

    https://tinyurl.com/y729dfbu

    The exact question polled was: Which of these thirteen presidents we have had since World War II would you consider the worst president: Harry Truman, Dwight Eisenhower, John Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Senior, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, or Donald Trump?

    When queried similarly regarding "best president" since World War II, Donald Trump garnered a dismal 7%, while Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama are at the top of the list with 28% and 24%, respectively.

  10. [10] 
    TheStig wrote:

    nypoet22-3

    Holy tinfoil!

    What does your term "silent donjority" mean? That a majority of people actually prefer Trump? He did lose the popular vote by roughly 3 million.

    Or do mean that a substantial block of Trump supporters deliberately and consistently under report to pollsters? If so, why does the data signal burble so much from day to day? Does the donjority rise and fall like the tides?

    So, "bit," "seems," "I don't know how big," somehow adds up to a good wager? If so, I have a bridge I'd like to sell you in Brooklyn.

  11. [11] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    On a scale of 0-100 my approval rating for this article is minus 50.

    Just because it has been a few months since you wrote another useless article on this subject is a reason to do it again?

    It's been over two years since you were given the opportunity to write about the One Demand campaign financing approach that could lead to not presidents with much higher approval ratings but higher approval ratings for both the Republicans and Democrats in Congress that make Trump's ratings look good in comparison.

    But you never found the time to write about that or even man up and answer my questions on One Demand.

    Did you EVER even visit the website?

    Jesus may be the number one con man and Trump number two, but the Big Money Democrat con is in the top five if not number three.

    And it doesn't matter if you believe the con. Buying into it and trying to sell it to others still makes you part of the con even if you know you are part of it.

    You can do better. It won't be easy, but at least it will be the right thing to do.

  12. [12] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    that should be: ...even if you DON'T know you are part of it.

  13. [13] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    11

    But you never found the time to write about that or even man up and answer my questions on One Demand.

    FACT: We each have 24 hours every single day to use as we choose.

    FACT: For 2+ years, you have trolled the author of this blog whilst he simultaneously has chosen to write about other topics.

    OPINION: You should "man up" and clue in to the possibility that the author has answered you multiple times by choosing not to answer you. :)

  14. [14] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    Thank you for agreeing that CW has not answered my questions or addressed One Demand.

    Manning up when you don't get an answer does not consist of giving up, it consists of remaining persistent.

    I choose to spend some of my 24 hours trying to convince CW of the error of his ways and comment on his articles in the way I choose about an issue that effects every other issue so it is relevant to just about everything he writes about.

    As I understand it, there is no requirement that commenters agree with CW in order to comment here.

  15. [15] 
    C. R. Stucki wrote:

    Don H

    At some point, ya gotta face the fact that probably CW (along with me and most others) thinks your crusade is unrealistic, as in 'pipedream'!

  16. [16] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Trump and Bernie were also considered unrealistic and pipedreams early in the 2016 campaign.

    Many of you have tried to explain why you think it is unrealistic or a pipedream, just as I have explained that expecting the Big Money candidates from either CMP to represent ordinary citizens instead of their Big Money contributors is unrealistic and a pipedream.

    And I will keep asking until CW explains why he thinks it's unrealistic or a pipedream. Of course, we don't know if he thinks that because he has not addressed it.

    It could be that he knows it would work and knows that he can't explain that it is an unrealistic pipedream so he just avoids the issue to protect the Big Money Democrat con job.

  17. [17] 
    Paula wrote:

    https://www.rawstory.com/2018/03/going-burn-store-trump-supporters-caught-camera-threatening-california-book-shop/

    pair of Trump supporters were caught on camera this past weekend issuing unhinged threats to a left-wing bookstore in Berkeley, California.

    The video, which was posted on YouTube by Berkeley’s Revolution Books, shows the Trump supporters coming into the store and confronting people working there.

    The video begins with a woman Trump supporter asking a store staff member if she really thinks “I’m racist because I support our president?”

    “Yes, basically, yes,” the staff member replies.

    A male Trump supporter, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, called the staffer “commie scum” and told her that “we’re going to burn down your bookstore.”

    The staffer informed them that she had video of them threatening to burn down the store and told them to “please leave” the premises.

    “This is America, f*ck you!” the man shouted at her.

    Later in the video, the man can be seen telling people outside the store that “Trump is going to get rid of all you pieces of sh*t.”

    He also called the woman who worked at the book store an “anti-white racist piece of sh*t” and said that the only people who shopped at the store were “Antifa pieces of sh*t.”

  18. [18] 
    ListenWhenYouHear wrote:

    It could be that he knows it would work and knows that he can't explain that it is an unrealistic pipedream so he just avoids the issue to protect the Big Money Democrat con job.

    And why, exactly, would CW choose to do this? How does it benefit him in any way?


    Many of you have tried to explain why you think it is unrealistic or a pipedream, just as I have explained that expecting the Big Money candidates…

    It’s also telling that you say that we attempt to explain why we think that your plan is faulty, but you EXPLAIN with unquestionable certainty that Big Money candidates will never work on behalf of anyone who doesn’t make a large donation to their campaign.

    You also seem to believe that the interests of large donors are always going to be in opposition to the interests of small donors — a position that you could not possibly know to be true with any level of certainty.

  19. [19] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    14

    Thank you for agreeing that CW has not answered my questions or addressed One Demand.

    Actually, I said CW has answered you on multiple occasions when he chose other topics despite your trolling.

    Manning up when you don't get an answer does not consist of giving up, it consists of remaining persistent.

    Your 2+ years of trolling has produced multiple answers in the form of other blog topics.

    I choose to spend some of my 24 hours trying to convince CW of the error of his ways and comment on his articles in the way I choose about an issue that effects every other issue so it is relevant to just about everything he writes about.

    A lot of people feel that way about Jesus, Don, but you have referred to Him as a "big con." How would you feel if someone was trolling you on a near daily basis insisting you needed to "man up" and preach the gospel on your website?

    No, Don, I am not comparing your repetitive BS to the Word of God; however, with all that proselytizing on your part that has borne little response, perhaps you should consider the possibility that CW feels about "One Demand" the way you feel about Jesus and no amount of trolling will convert him. :)

  20. [20] 
    Kick wrote:

    Russ
    18

    You also seem to believe that the interests of large donors are always going to be in opposition to the interests of small donors — a position that you could not possibly know to be true with any level of certainty.

    Amen. :)

  21. [21] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Listen-
    And you do not know the candidates/legislators will not represent the interests of the Big Money donors that are in opposition to the interests of small donors. And you cannot possibly know that there are no Big Money donors in opposition to the small donors.

    But if citizens demand small contribution candidates and the candidates make the commitment then we will have the closest degree of certainty attainable as there will be no Big Money donors to be uncertain about.

  22. [22] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    If someone were to ask or demand that I to preach the gospel on a blog I would ask them to provide evidence of the existence of God because it would be a reality-based blog as CW's is supposed to be.

    And that is all I am asking of CW, to back up his statements on supporting the Big Money Democrats and address the arguments I have made on why he shouldn't support the Big Money Democrats and should inform citizens about One Demand.

    Pretty much one of the purposes of a comments section.

    I have considered many possibilities on why CW has not responded in a manner consistent to someone claiming a reality-based blog, just as many of you have. This would not be necessary if CW would weigh in.

  23. [23] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    @don- be thankful you don't get banned for solicitation.

    @ts-i already own the Brooklyn Bridge. [I told them we already got one]. What i mean is a large percentage of Trump voters don't particularly like him or approve of the job he's doing, but would still vote for him.

  24. [24] 
    nypoet22 wrote:

    in other words, people's political behaviors are more complicated than whatever the polls are measuring...

    JL

  25. [25] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    22

    If someone were to ask or demand that I to preach the gospel on a blog I would ask them to provide evidence of the existence of God because it would be a reality-based blog as CW's is supposed to be.

    Okay, then. Now we are getting somewhere. Until you can provide the existence of a "Small Money Democrat" as defined in your "One Demand" purity gospel, there's nothing to support because none exist. To date, you have offered Buddy Roemer as an example, which a 5-minute search revealed Buddy to be a fraud. Until a "Small Money Democrat" exists, Don, there's no one to support. Got that?

    And that is all I am asking of CW, to back up his statements on supporting the Big Money Democrats and address the arguments I have made on why he shouldn't support the Big Money Democrats and should inform citizens about One Demand.

    Pretty much one of the purposes of a comments section.

    Wrong, Don. Free speech regarding political topics is one thing, but insisting on trolling an author until your political venture is addressed in a manner satisfactory to you is quite another. JL is absolutely correct that you should be thankful you don't get banned for solicitation, and the trolling insults toward the author are beyond the pale, in my opinion.

    I have considered many possibilities on why CW has not responded in a manner consistent to someone claiming a reality-based blog, just as many of you have. This would not be necessary if CW would weigh in.

    He gave you an answer, Don. Perhaps you should read and reread it until it sinks in.

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2017/12/20/gops-swamp-creature-of-a-tax-bill/#comment-112608

  26. [26] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    Thanks again for referring to the alleged answer CW gave on the "Swamp Creature of a Tax Bill" article. I was waiting for that.

    That "answer", as I had speculated it might be in previous comments, was just a rehash of the same arguments that had been made by the Big Money Democrat Deniers that comment here and that I had debunked in response to those commenters.

    But rather than point that out I instead responded to all his points, pointing out the flaws in his argument, how he had avoided addressing issues I raised and asking him again to address the points he avoided in comment 37 of that article.

    For example, your statement that the small contribution candidate has to exist first before an organization to create small contribution candidates is worth considering. Try reading and re-reading comment 37 before you make that debunked claim again.

    And I even tried in subsequent articles to get CW to continue that conversation by referring to his comment and my reply in case he had not gone back to check comment 37 (it was right before the holidays). That is how a discussion happens. CW's comment was just a comment (or statement) that did not address and/or avoided the arguments I made and therefore is not an actual discussion of the issue and does not qualify as a real or at least a complete answer.

    It could have been the beginning of a discussion, but if the discussion does not continue then it does not qualify as a beginning.

  27. [27] 
    TheStig wrote:

    Just to go out on a high note;)

    Most politicians poll their constituents, Trump prefers to "poll" prostitutes.

    https://out.reddit.com/t3_26b9ve?url=http%3A%2F%2Fi.imgur.com%2FWs7P9Tm.png&token=AQAAp56iWlbzeZuOgMemIyuGZz65tD-cas8YXsBvpTkWo0GR7tSu&app_name=reddit.com

  28. [28] 
    Kick wrote:

    Don Harris
    26

    That "answer", as I had speculated it might be in previous comments, was just a rehash of the same arguments that had been made by the Big Money Democrat Deniers that comment here and that I had debunked in response to those commenters.

    Oh, I see the problem now; you are under the mistaken impression that you "debunked" a commenter on this board when you have done nothing of the sort... quite the contrary too since multiple commenters on this board including the author, have actually pointed out the multiple flaws in your solicitation.

    For example, your statement that the small contribution candidate has to exist first before an organization to create small contribution candidates is worth considering. Try reading and re-reading comment 37 before you make that debunked claim again.

    I didn't exactly say that, Don, but nevertheless we continue to make progress with your seeming admission that the "Small Money Democrats" you claim to represent do not... in fact... exist.

    It could have been the beginning of a discussion, but if the discussion does not continue then it does not qualify as a beginning.

    And therein lies the fate of your "One Demand." You began a discussion that you can't sell to people who agree with a lot of your premise. You're preaching to the choir, but your sermon is severely lacking in so many ways that have been pointed out to you by several commenters as well as the author. The so-called "Small Money Democrats" you claim to represent don't exist, and until such time as they do, that makes you just a guy trolling another man's blog trying to force him to shill for your "organization to create small contribution candidates."

    The continued trolling of this blog to force a conversation to shill for your organization is beyond the pale, in my opinion. Sell it yourself, Don, and if you can't sell it to the choir, don't expect another man to shill for you.

    You can do better. It won't be easy, but at least it will be the right thing to do. ~ Don Harris

    http://www.chrisweigant.com/2018/03/07/checking-in-with-trumps-polling/#comment-117167

    I've got nothing further to add to this discussion so over and out. :)

  29. [29] 
    Don Harris wrote:

    Kick-
    It is factually incorrect to claim that multiple commenters and the author have pointed out the flaws in my argument. As I stated those attempts were often not addressing my argument, but in many cases actually avoiding the issue. And when I point out the flaws in those arguments you either just repeat the original statement without addressing the points I made refuting your or pretend that my response never existed.

    For example, your statement in comment 28 that there are no small contribution candidates. Is there some other way to interpret your statement about no candidates means nothing to support, then if there are no small contribution candidates first there is no point discussing an organization to create small contribution candidates?

    But if that's not exactly what you said, then will you say it now? Will you say that if citizens want small contribution candidates and there none that forming an organization to create and demonstrate demand for small contribution candidates is not a way to accomplish that goal?

    Or don't you believe that when politicians do something that citizens don't want them to do, such as taking Big Money contributions, that not voting for the politician and voting for another politician and/or forming an organization to further the goal of having small contribution candidates as an option will work? You know, basic democracy.

    Do you really want to say that democracy can't work? Or are you saying it only works when voting for Big Money Democrats and not in any other instance?

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