Trump’s approval hits new high on meaningless figure

At the beginning of my public opinion class yesterday, one of my students said that Trump’s approval had hit a new high.  I had just checked this Gallup page yesterday morning so I was pretty curious to see where this figure was coming from.  Turns out it’s this headline:

Trump’s approval rating on economy hits new high

Key phrase here, “on economy.”  Here’s the full table from Gallup:

So, kind of interesting, here’s the thing, in an economy that’s humming along, people who don’t actually approve of Trump overall are willing to give him some credit.  It’s not totally crazy.  One can imagine a person thinking, “well, dumb as he is, at least he hasn’t done anything to tank the economy.”  Or something like that.  Anyway, I suspect (and sorry, not going to check on it now), that there’s usually much less of a gap between overall approval (and let’s be clear, 43 is abysmally low given the state of the economy) and the handling of the economy number.

In fact, on most issues, you can see there’s not really any independent judgment going on.  And it is kind of interesting that even some supporters would seem to recognize the swamp is getting swampier.

Meanwhile, I would argue that Trump’s handling of Syria is why we need to take so much public opinion polls with a shaker worth of salt.  Raise you hand if you even have a decent idea of what we should actually be doing in Syria, much less have a firm grip on whether Trump’s approach makes sense.  And yet, 90% of the public offers an opinion on this.

Anyway, I’ve never seen any public opinion research that suggests there’s any value to be gained by looking at approval of handling of the economy rather than overall presidential approval (where Trump is clearly still low).  So, lots of headlines, but a majority (though, obviously, not nearly enough) still recognize that Trump is a pretty poor president, regardless of the economy.  And that’s what matters politically.

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