This one’s an easy call, or at least it was during the four days that Morning Consult polled nearly 2,000 respondents. Despite the handwringing among Republican insiders over the war of words between Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell this month, GOP voters are more concerned about the lack of progress in Congress, especially when it comes to the ObamaCare repeal flop. Half of Republican voters say McConnell has it coming, while just under a third found Trump’s attacks “inappropriate”:
President Donald Trump’s repeated criticism last week of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) prompted a fresh round of hand-wringing among Republicans in Washington, but a new Morning Consult/POLITICO poll shows half of GOP voters were OK with the broadsides.
In the survey, conducted after the president spent days chiding the top Senate Republican for failing to secure the necessary votes to repeal and replace Obamacare, 50 percent of Republicans said Trump’s rebukes were appropriate, compared with 32 percent who said they were inappropriate and 19 percent who didn’t know or had no opinion.
Frankly, this survey’s premise almost seems quaint after the last few days. After two reversals in four days from Trump on Charlottesville, how could criticizing McConnell for an obvious failure look “inappropriate”? That might be the most appropriate fight Trump picks all month, and not just by default, either.
Meanwhile, Trump’s approval rating has bounced back upward among his base, at least during the polling:
The president also saw his approval rating among Republicans inch up, from 76 percent last week to 81 percent in the new survey, while the share of GOP voters who strongly approve of him also increased, from 40 percent to 46 percent. Among all voters, 44 percent of respondents voiced approval for his job performance and 52 percent disapproved.
Remember that polls are just snapshots in time, and not always reliable snapshots at that. The events of the last twenty-four hours may have already impacted this approval rating, although it seems unlikely to help McConnell any if it did. However, don’t expect it to have that much impact. The survey period fully included Trump’s first post-Charlottesville statement, the first “all sides” argument that took a beating in the press, and may have only barely included reaction to Monday’s more prepared statement that rebuked white supremacists specifically. Trump still got his best overall approval ratings in a month. If anything, Tuesday’s id-release will probably boost Trump even further among the He Fights! demographic.
What comes next in the Trump-McConnell kerfuffle? If McConnell wants to get the agenda back on track, he needs to start by refraining from provoking Trump, who clearly won in this exchange. McConnell’s not going anywhere, though, which means the White House has to find ways to put the fight in the rear-view mirror, too. Of course, this means that official Washington has to pick their side of this feud carefully, and perhaps no one knows that better than Trump’s Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Mrs. McConnell stands by her man, but … which one? “Both of them,” she told the press yesterday. Sometimes it’s hard to be a Cabinet member. Wah-ah-wah-wah …