What’s Behind Trump’s Rising Popularity?

By David A. Graham

It would be easy to read the headlines this week and conclude that the Trump administration is in even more trouble than normal. The White House still can’t get its story straight on Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s departure amid domestic-violence accusations. Chief of Staff John Kelly seems to be losing support from his subordinates and his boss. And the boss himself is stubbornly refusing to offer even a wisp of sympathy to victims of abuse.

This interpretation wouldn’t be wrong—these scandals are real and they are disturbing on a number of fronts—but it threatens to eclipse the ways in which the political picture has improved in recent weeks for both President Trump and his sometimes uneasy Republican allies.

First, the president’s personal standing has rebounded. Trump remains historically unpopular for a first-term president, but against that low baseline, he’s seen improvement. FiveThirtyEight’s aggregator of approval ratings puts him at 41 percent, well below where any of his predecessors in the modern era were at this moment in their terms, but his highest point since mid-May, around the time he fired FBI Director James Comey, disclosed classified information to Russians, and saw a special counsel appointed to investigate him.

Second, the formidable Democratic advantage on the generic ballot for Congress has narrowed. The generic ballot is a useful-though-limited measure—asking respondents around the country whether they intend to vote for a Democrat or Republican for Congress. Because the ballot does not take into account specific races, nor GOP advantages imparted by districting and geography, it is more effective at capturing a general mood than allowing for a precise prediction. In December, a CNN poll showing a Democratic lead on the ballot of 18 points set off alarm bells for Republicans. (Most polls showed closer to a 10-point lead.) More recently, …read more

Via:: The Atlantic


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