A Gallup poll released Tuesday shows President Trump hitting 42 percent approval, his highest rating since last May. The President’s approval rating improved among Democrats and Republicans though the former change was not statistically significant:
Between May 2017 and late April 2018, Trump’s job approval rating had been 40% or below in nearly every Gallup weekly measurement. The exceptions were 41% readings from April 2-8 of this year and from May 22-28, 2017. He has exceeded that in each of the past two weeks and registered two of the higher approval ratings in his tenure to date. His best was 45% during the first 10 days of his presidency.
Much of the recent news coverage about the president has focused on independent counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian collusion and the payments made by Trump lawyer Michael Cohen to adult film actress Stormy Daniels. But there have been other stories that reflect more positively on Trump, including North Korea’s willingness to accept restrictions on its nuclear program, and the U.S. unemployment rate dropping to its lowest level in 18 years.
Over the past two weeks, an average of 89% of Republicans, 36% of independents and 11% of Democrats have said they approve of the job Trump is doing as president.
Just yesterday, Jazz wrote about a Reuters poll which the company announced was an outlier after it showed Trump suddenly improving to 48 percent. The Gallup poll shows that Reuters may have been picking up on a real bump for Trump, even if the extent of that bump still seems a bit surprising.
As for what’s causing this bump, I think the North Korea news seems like the most likely driver of the upswing. It’s exactly the sort of tough approach many Republicans wanted from Trump and even Democrats can’t really find fault with the direction things are going at the moment. Meanwhile, I think this poll will spell the end of the Stormy Daniels boom in the media, at least for a while. She and her attorney have been all over CNN and she even appeared on Saturday Night Live last week. But, as I’ve suggested before, most people have already factored in Trump’s pre-election behavior. Unless there’s a dramatic development, I don’t think Stormy moves the needle.
One other possibility here is that some respondents may be reaching the limit of their suspension of disbelief with regard to the Russia collusion investigation. Democrats have been promising Trump’s imminent downfall for a year, but the House Intel Committee has closed its investigation and turned in its report clearing Trump. That won’t satisfy Democrats but it may be enough for some on the right and it may be a sign to those in the moderate middle that this story isn’t going to play out the way they expected.
To be clear, I’m not saying this is over until the fat lady (Mueller) sings, but between the House report and the recent rebuke of Mueller by a federal judge (which happened while this poll was still being conducted), there may be a growing sense that the momentum has shifted a bit.
Finally, the economic news has been good and that’s always considered a strong driver of whether people are happy or unhappy with a president, despite the fact that the president doesn’t actually have much control over the economy. The trend lines are looking up for Trump. If he can achieve something in North Korea and the economy remains strong, these numbers could continue to rise.