Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

New Polls: American Optimism Surges Under President Trump


Donald Trump’s personal approval ratings are all over the place, ranging from plus two points (Rasmussen) to down 12 points (Pew, Gallup) in Februrary polls.

Maybe the polling chaos is due to different polling models, or maybe it’s because people aren’t telling pollsters the truth, but it could also be because personal approval varies a great deal depending on what the presidential tweet of the day was.

But the latest polls also reveal nonetheless a striking surge in the number of Americans who believe, finally, the country is on the right track.

In the last seven polls before the election on November 8, Americans who felt the country was on the wrong track outnumbered those who felt we were on the right track by 32 points.

The latest six polls, taken entirely in February, show the despair of the country has been cut exactly in half, with “wrong track” Americans outnumbering “right track” Americans by just 16 points. Rasmussen polls (which many believe skew Republican) are showing about half of Americans now believe the country is on the “right track.”

President Obama, as much as he liked to call himself a “uniter,” hardly ever prompted this degree of optimism. Back in late September 2011, for example, only 20 percent of the country believed we were on the “right track” in a National Journal poll, while 70 percent said “wrong track.”  His “right track-wrong track” numbers were upside-down, typically by 30 to 40 points.

The media typically takes personal approval rating as the measure of a president’s success and voters’ support. Although that’s not unreasonable, the Trump surge in optimism is showing itself most in this extraordinary and underreported surge in Americans who believe their country is moving in the right direction, at last.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.

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