Trump’s approval rating is on the skids
His current job rating matches his low among Republicans (78 percent approve) and Democrats (6 percent) alike. It’s 35 percent among independents.
I’m not sure why it dropped now. Last week he seemed to maintain his usual level, despite the Cohen and Manafort trials. Maybe it took some time for it all to sink in, or perhaps this ABC poll is just an outlier. At this moment he still stands at 42 in the Gallup methodology, which has been a consistent source of Presidential measurement for some seven decades.
To me, the most interesting data in the ABC survey is the answer to “If Trump directed Cohen to pay off the women, then …” An astounding 31% said he did not commit a crime in that case. That is, of course, a trick question because directing someone to commit a crime is a crime. In other words, 31% of Americans say “If Trump committed a crime, he did not commit a crime”!! That gives you a pretty good idea of how strong is Trump’s grip on his supporters. As he once pointed out, he could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and his core followers would not care. That may be an exaggeration, but one thing seems clear – his approval rating shouldn’t go below 31%!!
That means his low point will probably never go as low as that of the Bushes, Carter, Truman or Nixon. Truman holds the Gallup record low at 22%, but Bush the Younger holds the record for the worst margin (approve minus disapprove) at -46.
Trump’s current approval level is not disastrous in the sense that every President since JFK has dipped below 40 in the Gallup survey at one time or another. (Kennedy himself was the last President to be almost universally loved. His approval never dropped below 56%.)
But where Trump fails in comparison to previous Presidents is that he has never had a point of high popularity. Bush the Younger once dropped to 25, but he also ascended once to 90. Truman hit a nadir of 22, but his acme was 87. Trump, on the other hand has never passed 45 on the Gallup scale. Every other president has reached at least 66, even the much-loathed Nixon. Because Trump has never had any high points to balance off his low points, he has the lowest average approval rating in Gallup’s history, and by a very wide margin. His average approval over the full course of his Presidency has been 39.1. The next lowest are Truman and Carter, who were both just above 45. In other words, Jimmy Carter’s AVERAGE approval rating (45.5) was higher than Trump’s HIGHEST (45). Considering the consistently awful economic news in Carter’s era versus the comparatively healthy economic engine of today, that comparison must sting!