Encouraging chart of the day

Sorry I’ve been such a bad blogger.  Probably next week, too, but then I’ll be better.  Anyway, here’s a chart I meant to post a whole week ago via Nate Silver.  Yes, Trump’s overall approval has been holding pretty steady, but his strong approval definitely seems on the decline:

The share of Americans who somewhat approve of Trump’s performance has actually increased slightly, however, from about 16 percent in early February to 17.9 percent as of Tuesday. In part, this probably reflects voters who once strongly approved of Trump and who have now downgraded him to the somewhat approve category. (Trump’s strongly approve and somewhat approve numbers have been inversely correlated so far, meaning that as one has risen, the other has tended to fall.) A potential problem for Trump is that in the event of continued White House turmoil, the next step for these somewhat approve voters would be to move toward disapproval of the president.

And strong disapproval is way up:

The number of Americans who strongly disapprove of Trump has sharply risen since early in his term, meanwhile, from the mid-30s in early February to 44.1 percent as of Tuesday. In most surveys, Trump’s strongly disapprove rating exceeds his overall approval rating, in fact.

And, the case to be encouraged:

But 20 to 25 percent isn’t all that large a base — obviously not enough to win general elections on its own. Instead, Trump won the White House because most Republicans who initially supported another GOP candidate in the primary wound up backing him in the November election. Trump has always had his share of reluctant supporters, and their ranks have been growing as the number of strong supporters has decreased. If those reluctant Trump supporters shift to being reluctant opponents instead, he’ll be in a lot of trouble,3 with consequences ranging from a midterm waveagainst Republicans to an increased likelihood of impeachment.

So while there’s risk to Democrats in underestimating Trump’s resiliency, there’s an equal or perhaps greater risk to Republicans in thinking Trump’s immune from political gravity.

If you look beneath the surface of Trump’s approval ratings, you find not hidden strength but greater weakness than the topline numbers imply.

As strong as I know partisanship is, I still find it pretty depressing that the vast majority of Republicans still at least somewhat approve of such a transparently incompetent and unfit president.  But, hey, I will take solace in the evidence for some political gravity here.

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About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

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