In our two most recent published national surveys of 1,000 likely voters, President Trump’s approval rating remains polarized — on October 13: 47 percent approve, 51 percent disapprove; and on October 30: 48 percent approve, 50 percent disapprove. (We post our monthly surveys on our website, www.mclaughlinonline.com.)
Since May, in our polls the president’s approval has been operating in this polarized slight negative position. Among likely 2018 voters, for every one person who approves of the job President Trump is doing, there is someone who disapproves.
It’s a very polarized situation that if President Trump is having a good message week, and there is an election in a good Trump area like the Georgia 6th Congressional special election, Republicans will turn out more and the Republican will win. On the other hand if Republican candidates lack a good message, and an election is in an area that Trump lost, like Virginia, Democrats will turn out more and the Democrat can win decisively.
Back in December 2016, when the president was preparing to take office, among 2018 likely voters, he had a 48 percent approval to a 41 percent disapproval rating which was significantly better than his popular rating from the campaign. Two days before Christmas the president called John to say thank you for his campaign polling and wish him a Merry Christmas. During that conversation the president and John discussed that his election was the biggest upset in American history since Andrew Jackson. Never before had a candidate for president defeated the Republican establishment and then gone on to defeat the Washington D.C. establishment.
John warned him that the Democrats would go all out to raise his negatives to stop him from getting his approval rating over 50 percent. It was obvious that if the president received majority approval ratings from American voters with a Republican majority in the Senate, and a Republican majority in the House, he would be able to use public opinion to pass his agenda which would radically change Washington at the establishment’s expense. Since they couldn’t stop him at the ballot box, the D.C. establishment and their allies in the media would go all out to create negatives to take public opinion strength from him. As predicted the Democratic and media attacks came and have not stopped. There have even been attacks from the GOP D.C. establishment.
As our monthly national polls show President Trump’s best polling results came right before the State of the Union Address — approve 51 percent to disapprove 44 percent. However, soon after as the Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare stalled, President Trump’s net positive rating became slightly net negative.
Here’s the real irony. As the year began many D.C. Republican insiders thought that President Trump’s polarized ratings would bring them down. Now, ironically, the Republican Congress has put a drag on President Trump’s approval ratings. In our last national poll while 48 percent give the president a positive approval rating, the approval rating for “the Republican majority in Congress” was only 35 percent and the disapproval rating was 61 percent. In fact, while President Trump has held his base — receiving a 90 percent job approval from those who voted for him last year — among those who approve of the job the president is doing, only 61 percent approve the job of Republicans in Congress and 36 percent actually disapprove. So Republicans in Congress can’t actually help the president’s ratings, but if they help the president succeed, they could actually help themselves keep their majority.
In fact it is probably the only way to keep their majority.
So really the only person who can improve President Trump’s approval rating is President Trump.
Regardless of all the post-election books and stories, the chief strategist for Donald trump was Donald Trump. He built his financial empire on his brand and public relations. There was no better strategist for his campaign than Donald Trump. During the campaign, when President Trump was given the right information, he did the right thing to win the nomination and the election.
During the primary process it was very hard to tell Donald Trump the election was not about him, but it was really about changing away from Obama and Clinton’s failed policies. When he was shown numbers in March 2016 that the voters agreed with him 57 percent-33 percent, Donald Trump embraced the change message. He made it his own and ran on it through election day. But now Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are history. Now it’s President Trump without a personal opponent. Now it’s President Trump against a faceless Washington D.C. establishment where Donald Trump is running for himself and not against any one person.
President Trump’s base is intact and intense. His approval ratings are stronger among: Republicans (87 percent), conservatives (77 percent), rural voters (59 percent), security issue voters (57 percent), voters who think the economy is getting better (71 percent), high school graduate level (54 percent), middle class (51 percent), married voters (54 percent), veteran households (52 percent), Evangelicals (56 percent), Catholics (53 percent), white voters (52 percent), and men (54 percent).
However, to give the president a positive majority approval rating, President Trump’s base needs to broaden and lift his approval rating among key voter groups: voters who want to create more jobs (28 percent), voters who think the economy is getting worse (21 percent), independent men (47 percent), independent women (39 percent), moderates (37 percent), women college graduates (37 percent), suburban voters (43 percent), single never married voters (41 percent), lower middle class voters (42 percent), voter households under $60k/year (46 percent), Hispanics (47 percent), African-Americans (23 percent), and women (41 percent).
Abraham Lincoln said it best: “Public opinion is everything. With public sentiment nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed.”
Donald Trump used public opinion to build his business. He used it to win the biggest upset for president in history. Now, with the right information again, he will use it to be a successful president. Only President Trump can improve his poll ratings and when he does he can use public opinion to get his agenda enacted.
John McLaughlin has worked professionally as a strategic consultant and pollster for over 35 years. During this time he has earned a reputation for helping some of America’s most successful corporations and winning some of the toughest elections in the nation. His political clients have included former Presidential candidates Steve Forbes and Fred Thompson, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and 22 current and former U.S. Senators and 21 current Republican members of Congress. Last year John worked as an advisor and pollster for Donald Trump from the primaries through Election Day.
Jim McLaughlin is a nationally recognized public opinion expert, strategic consultant and political strategist who has helped to elect a U.S. President, Prime Ministers, a Senate Majority Leader, and a Speaker of the House. Jim has worked for over 70 members of Congress, 14 U.S. Senators, 10 governors, numerous mayors and scores of other elected officials. He also serves as a consultant and market research strategist to Fortune 500 companies. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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