Donald Trump’s polling numbers are a bit of an enigma. Recent polling has shown that his base thinks that he is the greatest thing since President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, and George H.W. Bush. However, for everyone else, the polling numbers sing an entirely different tune.
President Trump’s performance at the summit where he met Vladimir Putin has been touted as a disaster on both sides of the political aisle. However, partisanship influences evaluations of events, with a Survey Monkey poll showing that there are vast swaths of the GOP that supports Trump’s performance at Helsinki.
But the truth of the matter is that American politics have become significantly polarized in the past couple of years. It has become very easy for presidents to rally the support of their corresponding parties and completely ignore other Americans. This, combined with Trump’s focus on his base both off- and online, has allowed Trump to hang onto his GOP supporters. But regardless of what world some Republicans reside in that make them resistant to facts, Trump is extraordinarily unpopular by historical standards, and he’s bringing his party down with him.
Many niche polls show Trump’s appeal to some voters — but for a more comprehensive review of his polling numbers, it’s best to use FiveThirtyEight’s presidential approval tracker. FiveThirtyEight compares Trump’s presidency and its popularity with past presidents, and no polling agency has been more accurate with their numbers since its inception.
At this point of Trump’s presidency, every single president going back 60 years was immensely more popular than Trump. However, this doesn’t really tell us about the judgment of history — Harry Truman, for example, was immensely unpopular but is now regarded as a great leader.
But the big picture with Donald Trump is that he is generally unpopular. While the economy is improving and soldiers aren’t dying in large numbers, we would typically expect a sitting president to enjoy these conditions and have relatively favorable approval ratings. The truth is that Trump’s numbers are terrible. The only saving grace for Republicans is that they are holding power in the Senate and the House — this sort of undemocratic electoral majority speaks much more than any poll can, and it’s the real key to Trump’s hold on his party.
Featured image via Gage Skidmore/Flickr