What Do President Trump’s Poll Numbers Really Tell Us?

Success in politics is dependent on popularity to get elected, and the best way we have of gauging that – apart from Twitter followers, likes, and other forms of social media tools utilised in modern politics – is via opinion polls. However once a politician is in office the importance of the results of opinion polls tends to diminish somewhat, until the next election approaches and campaigning begins again.

During the election campaign against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump repeatedly stated that the polls were rigged, and even warned about potential voter fraud. Rigging polls is not an occult science, and during the election where there was so much at stake for both sides, it’s clear that the establishment candidate was favoured in more ways than one.

That said, despite the ominous title, there is some truth worth highlighting in the following article from CNN:

On March 11, 45% of Americans approved of the job Donald Trump was doing in Gallup’s daily tracking poll. It’s been all downhill since then.

 

In the intervening 86 days, Trump’s job approval has never again reached 45% in Gallup’s data. In fact, the last time Trump was even at 43% was on April 28. He’s spent most of the time between then and now mired in the low 40s and high 30s.

 

And now, Trump finds himself in the midst of his worst extended poll run of his presidency. Starting on May 28 when Gallup put his job approval at 42%, Trump has been sliding downward. The latest Gallup track on June 3 put Trump’s job approval at a dismal 36% — a single percentage point away from the lowest ebb of his time in the White House. (On March 28, Trump’s job approval was at 35%.)

 

The Gallup numbers are no anomaly. A Quinnipiac University poll released in late May put Trump’s job approval at 37%. A Monmouth poll conducted in mid-May put Trump’s job approval at 39%.

Lets assume for the sake of argument that these poll numbers are correct, and frankly they’re not very encouraging for a man used to winning. That said, what do they really tell us? Specifically, are they low because Trump is an unpopular President due to the policies he’s implemented, or is he unpopular because on the one hand he’s been continually blocked from implementing some of his signature campaign promises such as the Muslim travel ban, and the US border wall with Mexico, and on the other continually attacked by the legacy media with the contrived story regarding collusion with Russia to manipulate the elections?

We’re continually reminded by Hillary Clinton that she won the popular vote, and there’s always going to be a considerable proportion of those voters who would rate President Trump negatively for simply getting out of bed each morning, but these poll numbers indicate that there’s a proportion of those that voted for him who would like to see him to get out of bed in the morning and start winning as he promised during the campaign.

Because of the incredibly hostile opposition Trump’s facing from the majority of Democrats and establishment Republicans, he hasn’t had the support needed to implement some of his signature campaign promises. He also appears to have alienated many of his supporters with the cruise missile attack on a Syrian Army base on 7 April, the reasons for which were dubious to say the least.

Whether or not this was an attempt to deflect attention away from the Trump-Russia collusion media onslaught we can only speculate, the fact is though that it conspicuously came back into the news following the cessation of hostilities against Assad in Syria – much to the chagrin of the never Trump neocons – and the dismissal of former FBI Director James Corey.

However there have been signs that the Russia story is wearing a little thin with many except the most diehard Trump impeachment apologists such as Maxine Waters, but with Comey’s upcoming testimony this week before the Senate Intelligence Committee, anything is possible, and the whole story is likely to be blown out of all proportions again, no matter how mundane his testimony is.

In reality Trump needs to follow through with the promises he made during his campaign, and ensure that his Republican base is placated, or at the very minimum angry enough with those blocking his agenda to ensure that the party isn’t negatively effected in the 2018 midterm elections:

Trump’s poll numbers — if they stay anywhere near as low as they currently are — could have a hugely negative impact on his party’s chances in the 2018 midterms elections. Since 1946, according to Gallup, when a president’s job approval rating is above 50%, the average number of seats his party loses in a midterm election is 14. When a president’s job approval rating is below 50%? Try an average 36-seat loss.

 

If history holds, Democrats would likely take back control of the House in 2018 — given that they only need a 24-seat gain to do so. (One factor working against Democrats: The House is pretty well sorted out on partisan lines. Only 23 House Republicans currently represent districts Hillary Clinton carried last November.)

 

A Democratic-controlled House would be a nightmare for Trump as he tried to begin preparing for his re-election bid in 2020. Not only would he struggle to move his main agenda items through a divided Congress but a Democratic majority would almost certainly aggressively pursue its oversight responsibilities on the Trump administration.

 

The best (only?) thing going for Trump — and Republicans — in terms of the polling is that it’s June 2017, not June 2018. There’s still time for Trump to move his numbers up. But, the last few months suggest that much of the public has made up its mind on how the president is handling his business — and Trump has been found wanting.

This is an accurate analysis of the situation and something Trump is certainly aware of. Never have we seen so much opposition to a President less than six months into his term of office. This tells us a lot about who Donald Trump is and what he stands for, and it should be a warning to some of his wavering supporters and the silent majority, that the man who wants to Make America Great Again, needs the backing of those who voted for that idea.

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