Trump in the Polls: An Update

My diagnosis of “Trump fatigue” may have been premature. Trump’s standing, as measured in various polls of likely voters conducted by Rasmussen Reports, has rebounded sharply since the end of the partial and mostly inconsequential shutdown of the central government. That the shutdown diminished Trump’s popularity is just another indicator of the electorate’s irrationality.

The story starts here:

FIGURE 1
Derived from Rasmussen Reports approval ratings for Trump.

Lest you believe that the numbers in figure 1 are weak, consider this comparison with Obama’s numbers:

FIGURE 2
Derived from Rasmussen Reports approval ratings for Obama and Trump.

In this age of polarization, it’s hard for any president to routinely attain high marks:

FIGURE 3
Source: Same as figure 2.

The good news, again, is that Trump’s strong approval rating has been higher than Obama’s for several months, even during the recent “shutdown slump”.

Ratios of the ratios in figure 2 yield enthusiasm ratios: the strength of strong approval ratings relative to overall approval ratings:

FIGURE 4
Source: Same as figure 2.

Since the spike associated with the Singapore summit, Trump”s enthusiasm ratio has settled into a range that is comfortably higher than Obama’s.

Every week since the first inauguration of Obama, Rasmussen Reports has asked 2,500 likely voters whether they see the country as going in the “right direction” or being on the “wrong track”. The following graph shows the ratios of “right direction”/”wrong track” for Trump and Obama:

FIGURE 5
Figure 5
Source: Rasmussen Reports, “Right Direction or Wrong Track“.

The ratio for Trump, after a quick honeymoon start, fell into the same range as Obama’s. But it jumped with the passage of the tax cut in December 2017. It remained high after that, until the shutdown. The recent rebound suggests that the squishy center of the electorate is once again lining up with Trump, despite the incessant flow of negative “reporting” about him and his policies.

Stay tuned. And tighten your seat belts. The roller-coaster ride isn’t over yet.

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