Endgame: Mitch McConnell's job approval falls ... to nine percent

Nine percent. This same poll from PPP has Vladimir Putin’s favorable rating among Americans at 11 percent. McConnell’s less popular than Putin, than war, than famine — than even a Republican health-care bill.

This makes three gruesome polls for McConnell in as many days. A poll of Kentucky published Monday, also by PPP, had him at 18 percent in his home state. A survey conducted by former Trump campaign pollster Tony Fabrizio released yesterday put him at 27/44 nationally, down 25 net points since June. Now here’s PPP with a new national number so unspeakably awful it can’t possibly be accurate. Can it?

There’s just no way. Even with the dismal failure of ObamaCare repeal in the Senate, even with Trump baiting McConnell on Twitter over ending the filibuster and news of nasty disputes between the two swirling in major papers, there’s no way a major political figure is at nine percent nationally absent a major, major scandal. That said, PPP’s data plus Fabrizio’s data leaves little doubt that McConnell’s approval rating right now is smoldering garbage, whatever the precise number actually is.

I’m sure Trump has heard about McConnell’s and Jeff Flake’s polling lately, knowing that he’s a prime mover in their downturn, and is enjoying it immensely. How long does he plan to go on enjoying it? Having the president on a war footing against his own caucus isn’t going to move votes towards the GOP in the midterms, notes Marc Thiessen:

Republicans have a structural advantage in 2018, defending just eight Senate seats, while Democrats must defend 25 — including five in states that Trump won by double digits. But the party that controls the White House usually loses seats in off-year elections. And the GOP will enter 2018 with its base dispirited by legislative failures, while the anti-Trump Democratic base is energized and eager to deliver a stinging rebuke to the president.

If Flake and Heller lose, it is not outside the realm of possibility that Democrats could win back control of the Senate, making the Trump agenda dead on arrival in the chamber. Trump may not care about that, but there is something he should care about: If Democrats retake the Senate, they will control the Senate’s investigative committees. Does Trump want to hand Schumer unbridled subpoena power?

PPP has numbers on the midterms too:

Things are continuing to look good for Democrats in 2018, as they lead the generic Congressional ballot 49-35. The 14 point lead for Democrats may be too good to be true though- it’s a function of a highly divided Republican base at this point. While Clinton voters say they’ll vote Democratic for Congress next year 90-4, Trump voters say they will vote Republican by only a 74-13 margin. Part of the reason Republicans have done better than expected in 2014 and 2016 is they were divided earlier in the cycle and came together by the end, we will see if that trend continues in 2018.

Here’s a very real scenario the GOP might be facing next fall: Nothing significant has passed but Trump and McConnell have healed the rift in the name of preventing the midterms from turning into a Democratic rout. What will Republican voters do if the first two years of Trump’s term have produced zippo legislatively but the president is out there regularly revving up his voters to turn out en masse and create an even bigger congressional majority for him in 2019? That is to say, how much of the dismal polling for Congress right now on the right is due to policy failures and how much is due to the personal pique between Trump and McConnell et al.?

PPP polled people on Charlottesville too. This result is … interesting:

Relatedly, seven percent of the public says they wish the south had won the Civil War, including 13 percent of Trump voters. Here’s a vintage “troll poll” question from PPP’s vast collection: Whom would you rather have as president, Barack Obama or, um, Jefferson Davis?

Obama, not Davis, is the chief response trigger in that question, I think. Give right-wingers a choice between Obama and Dracula as president and they’ll probably go 20/80 for the count. But there are limits to that: An Obama/Hitler or Obama/Stalin choice would lead even Republicans to tilt O in a hypothetical, I’m sure. A question like this is really a proxy for “how morally or personally terrible do you find the not-Obama choice to be?” Davis couldn’t clear a majority among Republicans, which means “somewhat terrible” at least, but he’s still the pick by a two-to-one margin, i.e. “not terrible enough.”

One last data point: If you believe PPP, a plurality of 48/41 supports impeaching Trump, including 11 percent of Trump voters(!). Scroll through the crosstabs and look at the many questions asking people whether they trust Trump more than various news outlets (CNN, the Washington Post, etc) and you’ll find that the share of Trump voters that trusts the media more runs about 11-12 percent in every question. That’s a fair gauge of the number of firm anti-Trumpers in the GOP right now, I’d bet. If you trust CNN more than you do the president, odds are you’re willing to have Ryan and McConnell pull the trap door on him as well.

Exit question: Does Trump really want to keep bashing Amazon on Twitter every time Jeff Bezos’s newspaper runs something unflattering about him? Because it’s not working.