Several recently released polls show a resurgence of Republican popularity among voters, as measured by President Trump’s approval ratings and the generic Congressional ballot.
The Real Clear Politics Average of Polls, for instance, currently shows the generic Congressional ballot advantage for Democrats has dipped to 6.2 percent, the lowest it has been since May 30 of last year, and down seven points from the 13-point advantage they had as recently as a month and a half ago.
President Trump’s job approval rating has increased to 42.3 percent in the Real Clear Politics Average of Polls, his highest since May 13 of last year.
As Breitbart News reported, the much hyped “Blue Wave” Democrats hoped would power them to a net gain of 24 seats in the 2018 midterms needed to give them control of the House of Representatives appears to have reached its peak two months ago in December.
Democrats dismiss the recent trends as temporary rounding errors, pointing to the December victory of Democrat Doug Jones in the Alabama U.S. Senate special election, and this week’s special election victory by a Democrat in a Missouri state legislative district that usually is reliably Republican as true indicators of what they call voter fatigue with President Trump and his policies.
“Democrats are shrugging off a series of favorable polls and news cycles for Republicans, arguing it has done little if anything to change the trajectory of a midterm election year they believe will end with losses for the GOP,” the Hill reported on Wednesday.
“There’s no question and no surprise that Republican numbers are improving. They’ve surged from miserable to mediocre. . . But Democrats have massive energy on their side, and this president has a skill for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory,” former Rep. Steve Israel (D-NY) told the Hill.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) agreed with his former colleague.
“It’s way too early to be concerned,” Connolly told the Hill.
“You have to look at trend lines, not the vicissitudes of today’s headline affecting 48-hour approval ratings or polling. And I think those trend lines tell you that the enthusiasm is on the Democratic side. That has not abated,” Connolly added.
A Morning Consult Poll released Wednesday belies the latest Democrat talking points on current public opinion.
In the poll of 1,993 registered voters conducted this past Saturday and Sunday, February 3 and 4, four days after President Trump delivered his well received January 30 State of the Union speech, 45 percent of respondents approve of the job the president is doing, while 51 percent disapprove. The six percent net disapproval is one of the lowest the president has seen since he was inaugurated on January 20, 2017.
The current Real Clear Politics Average of Polls places Trump’s disapproval ratings somewhat higher, at 53.9 percent, for a net negative approval rating of 11.6 percent.
As a point of comparison, President Obama’s job approval rating at the same point in his administration, February 7, 2010, was 48.4 percent, and his disapproval rating was 46.9 percent, a net positive approval rating of 1.5 percent.
But back in 2010, President Obama’s approval ratings were heading down, while in 2018, President Trump’s approval ratings are heading up.
On January 27, 2009, the week of his inauguration, President Obama had a stratospheric net positive approval rating of 43.3 percent–63.3 percent approval, and only 20 percent disapproval.
A little over a year into his administration, that he had lost over 40 percent of that net positive approval, and the losses continued for the balance of the midterm election year. By November 5, 2010, President Obama’s net approval rating had dipped into negative territory–only 45.1 percent approved of his job, while 49.9 percent disapproved, a negative job approval rating of 4.8 percent.
Not surprisingly, that same week, in the 2010 midterm elections, Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives to the Republicans, with a net loss of 63 seats.
In contrast, President Trump has gained ten points in his job approval ratings in the past month and a half.
On December 16, 2017, his net negative job approval ratings peaked at 21 percent–58.1 percent negative, and only 37.1 percent positive.
Virtually every recent poll, including one from Monmouth University conducted between January 28 and January 30, the majority of which was completed prior to the president’s State of the Union address, point to an upswing in Republican popularity, and particularly for President Trump.
“The public’s perception of the Trump administration’s landmark tax overhaul is rapidly becoming more positive and more realistic,” as Breitbart News reported last week:
Americans are now evenly divided over tax reform, with 44 percent saying they approve and 44 percent saying they disapprove, according to the latest Monmouth University Poll. In December, just 25 percent approved and 47 percent disapproved.
It was a point Washington Post reporter Aaron Blake acknowledged in a recent tweet:
Approval of "Republican tax plan" is also up — from 25% in November to 39% today pic.twitter.com/W5Yldin1uo
— Aaron Blake (@AaronBlake) February 7, 2018
The Monmouth Poll noted that “Donald Trump’s job approval rating has bounced back from the record low registered in last month’s Monmouth University Poll , as more Americans now see the president as having achieved some legislative success.”
The poll finds that support for the recently passed tax reform plan has increased and Republicans have made gains in the generic House ballot test.
Pres. Trump’s job rating now stands at 42% approve and 50% disapprove. While his net rating continues to dwell in negative territory, this is an improvement from his December low of 32% approve and 56% disapprove. The current results mark a return to the ratings he received in the late summer and early fall of 2017. Positive signs for Trump include an uptick in public opinion that he has been successful in moving his agenda through Congress and increasing support for the recently enacted tax reform plan.
A majority (55%) of Americans say that Trump has been at least somewhat successful at getting Congress to pass his legislative agenda, while 41% say he has not been successful. This marks a reversal from December – before the tax reform bill was approved – when only 42% said Trump had been successful with Congress and 53% said he had not been successful.
The more recent Morning Consult Poll indicates that President Trump’s support among his base has solidified, as attitudes about the Russia investigation have polarized.
“The entire debate over the Russia investigation has become muddled, and voters are dividing along partisan lines,” Politico reported.
Morning Consult actually conducted two separate surveys–one their regulary weekly survey, which was conducted between February 1 and February 4 with questions that did not measure reaction to the release of the House Intelligence Memo which documented the FBI’s failure to inform a FISA Court judge about the true origins of the Steele dossier that was the basis for their warrant request to spy on Carter Page, and one conducted after the memo’s release between February 3 and February 4.
Politico described those differences:
In the initial survey — with interviews conducted both before and after the memo’s release last Friday — 39 percent of voters say the investigation into Russia’s influence has been handled “very” or “somewhat” fairly. But 35 percent say it hasn’t been handled fairly — either “not too fairly” or “not fairly at all.”
More than a quarter of voters, 26 percent, have no opinion.
Ambivalence toward the investigation extends to the man running it: Despite a sterling military and law-enforcement career — staying out of the public eye during this investigation — nearly as many voters have an unfavorable opinion of special counsel Robert Mueller (30 percent) as view Mueller favorably (32 percent).
“Republican skepticism has grown around the Russia probe and special counsel Robert Mueller,” said Morning Consult Co-Founder and Chief Research Officer Kyle Dropp. “Only 22 percent of Republicans have a favorable opinion of Robert Mueller, and just 25 percent say the investigation has been handled fairly.”
The solidification of views about President Trump along partisan lines documented by the Morning Consult Poll accentuates that the outcome of the 2018 midterm Congressional elections will likely be determined by which party does a more effective job of getting their base to the polls.