As Ed Morrissey recently pointed out, President Trump has received some of the only good news going around the country lately, coming in the form of the best approval ratings of his presidency. This has been a serious problem for most of the major liberal newspapers and cable news outlets who generally continue to insist that the Bad Orange Man is always Bad, no matter what happens. The majority of them have avoided talking about his improved ratings, or if they do, they add in every caveat imaginable about how it either won’t last or doesn’t matter.
Not everyone has buried the news entirely under the rug, however. The distressing fact (for the left) that nearly two-thirds of the public approves of how Trump is handling the pandemic came to the attention of Professor Matthew Baum, a professor of public policy at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government. Never one to be daunted by alarming aspects of reality, Professor Baum took to the pages of the Los Angeles Times op-eds to puzzle out what could possibly make an increasing number of presumably otherwise normal Americans say that Donald Trump may not, in fact, be the Devil. And he’s determined to get to the bottom of it.
The number of cases of COVID-19 is soaring in the United States. The economy is in free fall. Tens of millions of Americans are locked down in their homes. Hospitals around the country are becoming overwhelmed by the day. The U.S. is arguably facing its most severe crisis since World War II.
Yet despite the worsening pandemic and withering criticism of President Trump’s performance by public health experts and media pundits, his overall approval rating is up 5 percentage points in the most recent weekly Gallup poll. For only the second time in his presidency, Gallup found more Americans approving (49%) than disapproving (45%) of his job performance. Some 60% gave him positive reviews for his handling of the pandemic.
What accounts for this?