New WaPo poll grudgingly admits Trump’s popularity is rising


Maybe it’s just the summer heat. Perhaps it can be attributed to spending a lot of time overseas lately. Or, as most observers seem to feel, maybe it’s still just the economy, stupid. Whatever the cause, the latest Washington Post/ABC News poll has some good news for President Trump. He’s seen a six-point rise in favorability in this survey over the past few months and he’s polling fairly competitively against all but one of the Democratic contenders hoping to replace him next fall. (WaPo)

Aided by a strong economy and perceptions that he has dealt with it effectively, President Trump’s approval rating has risen to the highest point of his presidency, though a slight majority of Americans continue to say they disapprove of his performance in office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.

The survey highlights the degree to which Trump has a narrow but real path to reelection. His approval rating on most issues is net negative, and more than 6 in 10 Americans say he has acted in ways that are unpresidential since he was sworn into office. Still, roughly one-fifth of those who say he is not presidential say they approve of the job he is doing, and he runs even against four possible Democratic nominees in hypothetical ­general-election matchups…

Trump’s approval rating among voting-age Americans stands at 44 percent, edging up from 39 percent in April, with 53 percent saying they disapprove of him. Among registered voters, 47 percent say they approve of Trump while 50 percent disapprove. In April, 42 percent of registered voters said they approved while 54 percent said they disapproved.

Worth noting right off the bat is the fact that the 47/50 number is among registered voters and it’s significantly better than his popularity with all Americans of voting age. Being so far out from the election, there’s no point in try to model likely voters, but he’s tended to do even better in that category, so it’s conceivable that Trump is somehow approaching something in the range of 50/50. That would be rather amazing given the endless barrage of negative coverage he receives in nearly all media outlets on a 24/7 basis.

Of course, as the WaPo concludes at the top, most of the sunnier opinions about the President are based on the economy, which stubbornly refuses to collapse into a recession as Democrats appear to hope it will. We just had another very solid jobs report and unemployment continues to hover under four percent. As long as things keep cooking along like this and voters don’t find themselves inconvenienced by a sudden downturn, it’s probably difficult to be too upset with the people in charge.

But might that translate to a second term for Trump? The poll dips into that territory, but let’s be honest. Any survey testing a head to head matchup against a hypothetical Democratic nominee sixteen months before the election is likely worth less than the paper we’re not bothering to print it on. But since they took the time to ask the question, this survey has Biden beating Trump handily with a ten-point spread. Sanders, Warren, Harris and Buttigieg are all within the margin of error.

There is one interesting factoid in those head to head matchups, however. Trump leads handily against an unnamed opponent described as, “a Democratic candidate you regard as a socialist.” The RNC is obviously already aware of this trend and you can rest assured that you’ll be hearing the “s-word” bandied about quite a bit next year. It will be harder to paint Biden with that brush since he always rejects the term, but as for the rest of them… the ads pretty much write themselves.

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