Saturday, September 15, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

Trump managed to avoid the subject of federal prosecutors' "flipping" of his Russia-connected campaign manager Paul Manafort for a whole day. But he returned to the subject today by blaming the Mueller investigation for his own unpopularity. He wrote, "While my (our) poll numbers are good, with the Economy being the best ever, if it weren’t for the Rigged Russian Witch Hunt, they would be 25 points higher!"

In reality, Trump's poll numbers are not "good." 

They are worse than any president at this point in his term since polling began except for Harry Truman, who was at 34% approval 603 days into his first, partial term after Franklin D. Roosevelt's death.

This means that at 39.9% approval, Trump is less popular than than Ronald Reagan was during a major recession (42%). Trump is less popular than Jimmy Carter during a severe bout of economic "stagflation" (42.1%). Trump is less popular than Richard Nixon in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings and a deteriorating situation in Vietnam that led Congress to rein in his warmaking powers (56.9%). Trump is vastly less popular than Dwight Eisenhower (62.7%) and George H.W. Bush (75.9%), as well as George W. Bush (65.4%) whose post-9/11 bump had not yet eroded 603 days into his presidency.

Perhaps most alarmingly for Trump, who needs Republicans to retain control of both houses of Congress to avoid real oversight, he is less popular than Barack Obama (45.9%) and Bill Clinton (43.2%) shortly before the "wave" elections of 1994 and 2010 obliterated those presidents' congressional majorities.

So what?

  • It's probably true that Trump would be more popular if there weren't so much evidence connecting him to an attack on American democracy, but that's not a great defense.