President Trump’s job approval rating slid to a new low this week of 36%, according to Gallup.
The three-day rolling average was down from Friday’s 41%. That’s two points below Barack Obama’s worst rating and 10 points below Trump’s approval zenith of 46% right after his Jan. 20 inauguration.
Trump’s current approval is even below the 37% of Bill Clinton’s worst and the identical lowest of Gerald Ford, in case anyone remembers him.
The good news is that in Gallup’s calculations Trump is still doing much better than George W. Bush’s worst 25% approval, which isn’t saying much. But when it comes to presidential job approvals, not saying much is exactly what presidents should do. Talk about them when they’re high and media expects you to talk about them when they’re low. You know, ‘The only poll that matters to me is on election day yada yada.’
Now comes our esteemed journalism colleague Salena Zito with the astute contemporary observation that there are approval polls and then there are approval polls. Writing about presidential polls in the N.Y. Post, she notes, “Geography is everything.”
Live in an urban, minority or college setting, and Donald J. Trump is underwater in the polls in a big way; he gets a frosty 29 percent approval rating in the cities, 35 percent approval in the urban suburbs, in the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal survey.
But, live in the second ring of suburbs outside the cities, or the exurbs or the third and fourth rings that comprise rural America, and the president gets a 53 percent to 59 percent job approval rating in the same poll.
For the most part, the people who live in those regions are pretty much happy with him.
The country’s self-anointed elite in politics, media and all things Washington and points northeast seem incapable of getting it. They blew it in their expectations of Trump’s election outcome last year. But that’s not the first time they’ve mis-underestimated the heartland’s real mood.
They missed it too at times with Richard Nixon, George Wallace, John Anderson, Eugene McCarthy, Ronald Reagan, Ross Perot and Bush II. Each of them in their own way tapped into the visceral emotions and anxieties of different times.
Zito wraps up heartlanders’ feelings perfectly:
They also are so tired of being ridiculed by the political class over the notion they’re digging in for Trump, more so than they normally would. Especially when they read (yes, they do read) columns in New York Magazine by former theater critic Frank Rich who takes a deep swipe at Trump’s base, writing: “While you can’t blame our new president for loving ‘the poorly educated’ who gave him that blank check, the rest of us are entitled to abstain. If we are free to loathe Trump, we are free to loathe his most loyal voters, who have put the rest of us at risk.”AP
Such broad swipes at their lives, their beliefs and their intellects — which they imagine Rich and his ilk chuckling over while sipping chardonnay — are what pushed them away from an increasingly elitist Democratic Party in the first place.
Here’s more good news for Trump and even many congressional Republicans: Democrats are in disarray, with lost leaders in their mid-seventies also from out-of-touch coastal states. You won’t hear much about Trump’s heartland support or his supportive cohorts within national polls unless, like Zito, you actually go there and talk to real folks.
So, remember that when you hear the gleeful media reports of Trump’s numbers sinking even further, as they probably will.