Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Why Trump’s Low Approval Rating Shouldn’t Worry Republicans


President Trump’s approval rating hits a new low.” Thus proclaimed USA Today earlier this week, furthering the narrative popular in the mainstream media that Donald Trump’s presidency is off to a rocky start.

It’s no secret that ever since Trump announced his candidacy for president in June 2015, his favorability ratings have been unusually bad — never moving into positive figures and generally hovering between 2 and 25 points under water. However, despite Democrats’ constant attempts to disparage Trump based on these numbers during the campaign, this didn’t prevent Trump from pulling out the victory on Election Night. And now that he is in the White House, there’s reason to believe his negative approval is not as bad a sign as some in the media seem to think.

The National Pulse’s Maggie Gallagher first caught onto this about a month ago, addressing the fact that polls tracking voters opinions about the direction of the country were at extremely negative levels for the last several years under President Barack Obama. Looking at the RealClearPolitics average, for instance, one notices that polls on average showed between 60 and 75 percent of Americans believed the country was on the wrong track throughout Obama’s second term. Now, however, that trend appears to be changing.

While President Trump’s approval ratings may be down, Americans’ opinions on the direction of the country have been steadily rising since Election Day. In early November, RealClearPolitics shows that only just over 30 percent of voters believed that America was going in the right direction, but since then, that number has risen to 39 percent, the highest it’s been in four years.

And there are other signs of optimism also. In a recent Fox News poll, 48 percent of voters agreed that the economy is “getting better” for them and their family versus only 29 percent who felt it was getting worse, a net improvement of 30 points since October 2016. And in the same poll, 47 percent of voters said they approved of how Trump is handling the economy (about the same as Obama’s rating at the end of his presidency), while 51 percent of voters said they believed that Trump has been fulfilling his campaign promises since inauguration. All these numbers draw a stark contrast to Trump’s supposedly dismal approval rating.

So, why then does the mainstream media continue to harp on the fact that President Trump’s approval ratings are low? While this might be convenient for spinning a narrative of a presidency in disarray, it obscures the related fact that Trump’s consistently bad ratings have not yet hurt him politically. Although voters may not like the president personally, they do seem to be warming up to the agenda he is beginning to implement for the country. This is the real story that deserves the media’s attention.

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore

Dominic Morris

Dominic Morris works for American Principles Project.

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