The raw number of 40 percent isn’t impressive but bear in mind that Quinnipiac routinely records the most garbage numbers for POTUS of any major pollster. If he’s at a seven-month high in their data, there’s zero question that his job approval really has improved.
No fancy analysis needed as to why, either. All you need are two numbers. One:
A total of 70 percent (including 62 percent of Democrats) say the economy is “good” or “excellent” — the highest number Quinnipiac has recorded since 2001. Economic optimism is the highest it’s been this century. Asked if their personal financial situation is “good” or “excellent,” 75 percent overall and 73 percent of Democrats(!) say yes.
The second number is related:
Even Democrats can’t quite muster two-thirds support now for their guy. A few weeks ago a different poll showed Obama still narrowly ahead of Trump in being credited for the state of the economy, but that can only trend further towards Trump over time as the Obama years recede. In fact, when Americans are asked if they approve of how Trump is handling the economy, they split 51/43, a rare poll in which POTUS scores outright majority approval despite a 19/73 partisan thumbs down from Democrats. Whatever *actual* effect tax cuts have had on goosing the economy (certainly some, as anyone who’s received a bonus lately would tell you), the occasion of the bill’s passage gave Trump and the GOP a neon sign they could point at during the coming midterm debate over who deserves credit for economic growth. Economic questions are complex; it helps a lot to have a major legislative achievement you can tout to voters to provide a simple answer to them. The Trump tax cuts have created the most economic optimism in the post-9/11 era — that’ll be the Republican message for the midterms. It’s a good one.
And no, it’s not just Quinnipiac that has improving numbers for him lately. I wrote about that too not long ago, but a few of the more recent polls have pegged him at 45 percent approval and one from Rasmussen had him at 48, which is rare air for Trump. His average in the RCP poll of polls is the highest it’s been since May 2017. The glass-half-full view of all of that is that the trendlines are in the right direction with plenty of time for the GOP to creep back into parity with Democrats on the generic ballot. (Although they’re, er, nine points behind in this new Quinnipiac survey, which is landslide territory.) The glass-half-empty view is that if not for Trump’s horrible ratings on every other metric *except* the economy, Republicans would be cruising towards the midterms right now favored to hold both chambers. It takes a lot of political dead weight to slow down a party that’s running on the jet fuel of excellent economic news. He’s at 37 percent here on foreign policy, 39 percent on immigration, and when people are asked if he’s doing more to unite or divide the country, he scores 35/60. If he just got out of his own way and went quiet for awhile, political gravity would lift his numbers to a figure befitting the great economic news. But those tweets are a lot of downward pressure. He is who he is.