SEE GRAPH IN RIGHT SIDEBAR; THIS POST UPDATED 05/21/18
The values plotted in the sidebar graph are derived from Rasmussen Reports approval ratings for Obama and Trump. Trump’s 7-day average ratings remain above the level of Obama’s ratings at the same stage of of his presidency. Trump’s strong approval rating is markedly higher than Obama’s was, despite a drop in today’s polling, which may reflect the truly fake news about Trump’s characterization of illegal immigrants. He called MS-13 members “animals”; much of the mainstream media claimed that Trump called all illegals animals, and some are even defending MS-13 in their unhinged anti-Trump zealotry.
The following graph disaggregates the numbers plotted in the sidebar grapah:
Trump’s numbers are generally on the rise following a brief decline after his SOTUS spike.
The next graph underscores a point that I make often; namely, that the fate of the Republic is in the hands of the squishy center of the electorate, with the other 2/3 roughly split between the fascistic left and libertarian right*:
The numbers underscore Trump’s steady rise over the past several months. But in a polarized nation, a majority is unlikely to strongly approve of either a Republican or a Democrat.
There is, however, something interesting going on in the background. Every week since the first inauguration of Barack 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”. During Obama’s tenure, the percentage of respondents saying “right direction” ranged from 13 to 43; the percentages for “wrong track” ranged from 51 to 80. If voters were consistent, a majority would have said “right direction” and a minority would have said “wrong track” since the inauguration of Donald Trump. But “right direction” has garnered only 29 to 47 percent thus far in Trump’s presidency, while “wrong track” is still almost always in the majority, at 47 to 65 percent. The following graph shows the ratios of “right direction”/”wrong track” for Trump and Obama:
The ratio of “right direction” to “wrong track” averaged about 0.5 during Obama’s eight years in office; that is, about one-third of respondents said “right direction” and about two-thirds said “wrong track”. After a quick honeymoon start, the ratio for Trump fell into the same range. But it jumped with the passage of the tax cut in December 2017, and has stayed relatively high since then.
Does this mean that the squishy center is lining up behind Trump, despite the incessant flow of negative “reporting” about him and his policies? It’s possible. But the squishy center is fickle.
* Doctrinaire libertarians aren’t really libertarians. That title belongs to traditional conservatives.