President Donald Trump speaks during the 37th annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, May 15, 2018, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
There is a new NBC/WSJ poll out. What makes it significant is that it takes into consideration the week of non-stop media hyperventilating over the Helsinki Summit, it captures the whole food fight about the “family separation” of illegal aliens apprehended in the United States, and it encompasses the NATO summit which was obviously a HUGE HUGE event for people who don’t work in the media. For purposes of discussion, the only numbers I’m using are from the NBC/WSJ poll to try to get as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as possible.
First in everyone’s interest is Trump’s approval rating:
Trump’s overall job-approval rating in the poll stands at 45 percent among registered voters — up 1 point from June — while 52 percent of voters disapprove of his job.
“These numbers don’t budge,” McInturff said. “The Republican numbers don’t budge.”
Indeed, the new NBC/WSJ poll finds the president’s approval rating among Republican voters at 88 percent — the highest of his presidency — and 29 percent of all voters strongly approve of his job, which is another high for Trump in the poll.
This mirrors what was found by Gallup:
President Trump has 2nd highest "own party" job approval rating since World War II at day ~500, only behind Bush43 (after 9/11) (Source: Gallup) pic.twitter.com/cNhEAjMObO
— Bruce Mehlman (@bpmehlman) June 3, 2018
Right now I think we’ve reached a point where Trump’s floor is 45% and every conceivable scandal has been baked in. In my view, it would take something like suddenly supporting open borders for that base of support to evaporate. My sensing is that this number doesn’t mean what previous presidential approval ratings have meant. In the past, this number served as a proxy for approval of the president’s party. I don’t believe that is the case with Trump. This is literally his personal approval rating.
When one looks at some of the internal issues, what they mean are less than clear.
Image by NBC/WSJ from https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/first-read/nbc-wsj-poll-public-gives-trump-thumbs-down-russia-thumbs-n893266
The economy is an unambiguous win for Trump. But on the other issues, the answers could mean anything. For instance, if you disapprove of the handling of family separations are you disapproving of the separations? Or the administration walking back its policy? In the case of North Korea, about a fifth of the nation said “huh?” as only 80% had an opinion.
The next item is the generic ballot.
The NBC/WSJ poll shows 49 percent of voters preferring a Democratic-controlled Congress as the outcome for November’s midterm elections, versus 43 percent who want Republicans to stay in charge.
If you look at previous generic ballots in this poll, you’ll see this is the best recorded since April 2017 which was Democrat +4 (there have been two other Dem +6: September 2017 and January 2018). The Democrats continue to show an “enthusiasm” lead but thinking about voting is a lot different than actually getting off your ass and doing it.
Two takeaways from this. After several weeks of uniformly bad media coverage, Trump’s approval rating ticked up and he retains solid support within the GOP mainstream. The “Blue Wave” isn’t likely to materialize. A healthy economy (knock on wood) is going to make a lot of people vote status quo and this will be an average first midterm that will result in some GOP losses but nothing that flips the House.