This is the second poll in four days to show a sizable post-Mueller hit to his numbers, which is unusual because (a) news rarely dents his approval rating and (b) Mueller didn’t accuse Trump of any crime! On Saturday, Reuters revealed that Trump’s approval had dipped to 37 percent, a new low for him in 2019. Today Morning Consult announces that he’s at 39 percent, which, combined with 57 percent disapproval, is the lowest his net approval has been since he became president.
I remain confident that that this is all a fart in the wind, that he’ll be back to his standard 43/53 split in polling as soon as the next new jobs report comes out or whatever.
Just not as confident as I was last week.
The 18-point deficit marks Trump’s worst net approval rating — the share of voters who approve minus those who disapprove — since he took office. It surpasses the three 17-point gaps the president previously incurred, two of which came amid the longest government shutdown in U.S. history and another that followed his controversial comments regarding the August 2017 clash between protesters at a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in the death of 32-year-old counterprotestor Heather Heyer.
FiveThirtyEight’s poll of polls has Trump at 41.4 percent approval today, which is sort of standard for him and sort of not. He tends to hover in the 42 percent range even during uneventful news cycles, and he’s certainly seen worse numbers than this. (He hit 39.3 percent during the shutdown.) But it’s not common for him to be quite this low; excluding the shutdown, the last time he hit 41.4 was last September.
But there’s good news too. This weekend’s Reuters poll found only a modest increase in support for impeachment since the Mueller report came out, with the public split 40/42 against it. Morning Consult finds more decisive opposition — and it ain’t just Republicans who are driving it:
Just over a third of voters (34 percent) said they support impeaching Trump, compared with 48 percent who oppose it, similar to the share of voters who said the same in a poll conducted immediately after the midterm elections. The 5-point drop in support for impeachment since January was driven largely by Democrats, who soured on impeachment by 12 points, from 71 percent to 59 percent.
Among those voters who said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, most (52 percent) said it should happen because he is unfit for office. Forty-seven percent said it should happen because he committed an impeachable offense, the same share who expressed that view in January.
Thirty-four percent is five points lower than the share of midterm voters who said back in November that Trump should be impeached. For all the hype about Trump’s job approval sinking, the Mueller report has helped kill support for impeachment too. In fact, remember this tweet from yesterday?
Anti-Trumpers and law nerds mocked him for that because “high crimes” doesn’t mean a federal statutory offense. Congress can define it more or less how it likes. But Trump has the better of the political argument here: It will be hard for House Democrats to convince the public that he ought to be removed when even Bob Mueller couldn’t say Trump had done anything that amounted to a crime. That’s the irony of the left’s Mueller obsession — by investing their hopes in him, they essentially ceded the decision of whether or not to impeach Trump to Mueller instead of to their own reps. Now we’re seeing the fallout of that in Morning Consult’s data. Because Mueller didn’t find probable cause, support for impeachment dropped by double digits even among Democrats.
The other good news for Trump is that, although the Reuters and Morning Consult polls are gruesome, it’s not the case that every survey published since last Thursday’s Mueller revelation has showed him sinking. Rasmussen has him at 49 percent, in line with typical polling for him there. YouGov saw his numbers dip to 41 percent immediately after Mueller’s report came out but sees him back at 45 percent today. Harris Interactive also has him at 45 percent, right around where he was before the report was published. In all likelihood we’re looking at nothing more than a blip in his approval downturn. And even if it lasts longer than a blip, impeachment is clearly off the table. He has 18 months now to worry about how to avoid being turned out of office.