A new Gallup poll shows Donald Trump’s presidential job-approval rating hitting at 46 percent. While one can fairly note that the popularity is still lagging considerably behind a booming economy, it is also notable that President Barack Obama was at 44 percent in Gallup polling at this time in his presidency.
The polling shows a couple things that I find fascinating about this presidency. First, there remains a sharp disconnect between the views of journalists and activists in the Beltway and the just of the country. When you travel outside of the city (or most major cities), there is considerable support for Trump. This leads to the same anti-establishment dimension that led to the last election surprise.
The second issue is more difficult for Trump. Despite leading a huge economic growth period, Trump remains below 50 percent. More importantly, polls show people hardened on both ends on Trump. There is now a huge group of voters committed to voting against him. This figure has been tracked in the 40 and even 50 percentile. Ironically, it was the problem that Hillary Clinton had in her election. The Democrats nominated the least popular Democrat in the country — and the ultimate embodiment of the Washington establishment. She began with a significant number of people who would not vote for Clinton under any circumstances. Trump’s confrontational approach has appealed to his base for the primary while alienating the swing voters in the general election.
Trump is now facing a rock hard opposition that means that he has to virtually sweep the table to win again. Nevertheless, this poll shows that he is not nearly as unpopular outside Washington as he is inside it.