People who approve of Trump do so *because* of his behavior in office, not despite it

Since it’s a poll in August 2017 about the presidency of Donald Trump, a new offering from the Pew Research Center includes plenty of bad news for him. Trump’s approval rating is at 36 percent, about where other polls have had it, and while Republicans generally side with his policy goals, most Americans do not.

But buried in the poll is a fascinating detail that helps explain a lot of what we’ve seen over Trump’s seven months in office. Those who think he’s doing a good job mostly think that because of his abnormal behavior, not despite it.

We get a glimpse of that position at the outset. Pew asked respondents whether they generally agreed with Trump’s positions on issues and whether they generally approved of his conduct in office. Republicans (and independents who lean Republican, who are merged with that group in the responses below) generally agree with all or most of Trump’s positions and, while only a third say they like Trump’s behavior, most don’t say they flat-out dislike it, either.