It’s not impeachment, or rather a backlash to impeachment, that’s causing this. But I think it’s safe to say that impeachment isn’t slowing him down either.
Impeachment is just … there. Not really good for him, not really bad. It’s just sort of what’s on TV this week.
The baseline number here is underwhelming. However…
President Trump’s approval rating has climbed to match the highest of his presidency, boosted by majority approval of his economic stewardship even as Americans remain deeply divided on whether the Senate should remove him from office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
The Post-ABC poll finds 44 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s overall job performance and 51 percent disapprove. While views of Trump remain negative, Trump’s approval rating is significantly improved from his 38 percent mark in late October.
A 44/51 split as the *high-water mark* of one’s presidency is dismal but that’s the number among all American adults. When you look instead at registered voters, the sort of people who are more likely to actually turn out in an election, it creeps up to 47/50. Among independent adults he’s at 47/48, up nine points since October and right on the cusp of net positive territory. That’s a pretty respectable base of support in a hyperpartisan age from which to launch a reelection campaign.
How’s he doing it? You know how:
Among registered voters his approval on handling the economy stands at 58/36. That’s a big number for any president but yuuuge for a figure like Trump, about whom opinion is normally insanely polarized. Even some Trump-hating Dems and indies can’t deny him credit. The economy also happens to be the issue, of course, that perennially scores at the top of voters’ list of priorities when they go to vote in presidential elections. It’ll be hard to bet against him in a tight race if this is how he’s rating in November.
It’s not just ABC/WaPo that finds Americans’ satisfaction with the economy peaking. New from Gallup:
That +40 net on economic confidence is the biggest number since the final few months of the Clinton administration. Dubya never touched it. Obama, saddled with the Great Recession when he took office, never quite got there. Not coincidentally, with economic satisfaction skyrocketing, satisfaction with the state of the country is skyrocketing too:
That’s the biggest number since 2005. This result is a bit more partisan than the others: It’s Republicans who are driving the trend, notes Gallup, with GOP satisfaction with the U.S. up 14 points in a month compared to just a two-point increase among Democrats. Maybe impeachment is causing righties to rally around Trump. Or maybe Republicans are just more willing to express their enthusiasm about the economy than Democrats are, knowing how Trump stands to benefit politically.
Today’s big number hasn’t quite pushed him to his highest approval ever in the RCP poll of polls but he’s within striking distance of that. His best-ever rating was 45.9 percent, which came just two weeks after he was inaugurated. Today he’s at 44.8 percent; a few weeks ago he touched 45.2, his best since February 2017. It’s certainly possible that acquittal by the Senate will send him over 46 percent. It’s reeeeally difficult to imagine an incumbent with blockbuster jobs numbers not getting the benefit of the doubt from swing voters on Election Day, no matter how many dopey tweets he sends between now and then.
But he’s going to make it interesting, God love him. Despite all the economic celebration, ABC/WaPo finds a clear majority in support of impeachment, 52/45, and narrow opposition to removal at 47/49. (Registered voters oppose removal more strongly, 45/51.) Fully 66 percent of Americans want new witnesses called during the trial. That is to say, as ecstatic as everyone is about the job market, his conduct towards Ukraine was sufficiently crappy that most people are *still* glad that the House went ahead and nuked him. That’s a perfect microcosm of the choice in November: How good does the economy need to be to get Americans to accept four more years of whatever the Trump circus might bring? Is it good enough already? It’s close!