Looking Deeper in the Polls, Here’s the Good News for Trump
You’d think the end was near and the President will be handing in a resignation letter soon depending on which media outlet you watch. Sure, his approval numbers are low, but they’ve been low since he took office. Also, he’s getting battered over the firing of FBI Director James Comey, even from within his own party, but many voters simply do not care about that issue when there are far more pressing matters to be concerned with. Here’s a rundown of the positive points in Trump’s poll numbers if you dig a little deeper.
In the state of Pennsylvania, part of the “blue wall” that Trump broke, his approval rating has been steadily ticking in the upward trend:
President Trump’s overall job approval rating has bumped up a few points among Pennsylvania voters since February, according to the most recent F&M College poll released on Thursday.
Trump’s rating hasn’t reached 40 percent and remains lower than President Obama’s approval rating at the same point in office. Trump’s numbers rose from 32 percent to 37 percent since the last F&M poll was conducted in February.
Pennsylvania voters give Trump a high approval mark — 47 percent — for his dealing with terrorism and a low mark — 18 percent — for dealing with climate change.
Not that 37 percent approval in Pennsylvania is somehow majestic, but the number is improved from 32 percent in prior polls.
Here’s an op-ed from the New Orleans Times-Picayune analyzing the Comey firing on Trump’s poll numbers and finding the results largely unchanged:
Democrats hoping that President Donald Trump’s already low approval ratings would take a hit from his firing last week of FBI Director James Comey will be disappointed by the results of the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll.
The survey shows that while more people disapproved of the firing than approved, the president’s overall ratings were basically unchanged. The poll showed Trump with a 39 percent approval rating after he ousted Comey, just one point lower than the 40 percent approval rating he had in April. His disapproval rating was 54 percent in both surveys.
As for the Comey dismissal, 38 percent of those surveyed said the disapproved of the president’s decision while 29 percent approved. But 33 percent said they “Didn’t know enough to say” or were “Unsure” about the firing. An overwhelming 93 percent said they had read about or heard about the firing, including 56 percent who said they had heard a lot.
Despite the wall-to-wall media coverage, the Comey firing is a story of far greater consequence inside the beltway than outside the beltway. Contrary to conventional Washington wisdom, voters in somewhere like Louisiana probably don’t care much about the FBI Director getting canned, especially since they sent Trump to DC with the intention of “draining the swamp.” Furthermore, for many Trump voters, if CNN is angered by his actions, that means he’s doing a good thing in their minds.
One other interesting data point is the “Right Track/Wrong Track” poll question which simply asks voters whether they believe the country is headed in the right direction or wrong direction, whatever that might mean to them. On this mark, Trump is actually narrowing the gap, according to a recent Fox News poll:
The country’s right track/wrong track numbers have been underwater for years now, but this survey finds that trend edging closer to parity. This data set’s (45/53) result is the strongest that metric has been in nearly five years.
The point is that there are things that Trump is scoring higher marks on than the general “approval numbers.” If you examine back to the Obama presidency, our 44th president often scored high on “approval,” but lower on many individual issues. I suspect Trump will be somewhat of the opposite. Voters might like the way he handles some things, like fighting terrorism, or eventually his economic policy, but they may still simply “disapprove” of him in general because they don’t like the way he approaches the presidency.