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Trump’s unfavorables are high, but so is current support from his voters

REUTERS/Yuri Gripas
President Donald Trump's approval rating among those who cast ballots for him stands at 94 percent.

I don’t know whether Donald Trump and his campaign team were smart or lucky or both. He won the presidency with neither a majority nor even a plurality of the popular vote, because he got just enough votes in just the right places to turn 46.1 percent of the popular vote into 56.9 percent of the electoral vote.

Every day since he won, he has set a record, in the history of polling, for having the lowest approval rating at that point in a president’s first term. Here’s a summary of a recent Washington Post/ ABC News poll taken earlier this week, including the historical comparisons that show just how horrible these numbers are:

The president’s approval rating stands at 42 percent, the lowest recorded at this stage of a presidency dating to Dwight Eisenhower. Trump’s 53 percent disapproval rating is 14 percentage points higher than Bill Clinton’s 39 percent disapproval in April 1993, the worst before Trump. Eight years ago, then-president Barack Obama’s approval was 69 percent, his disapproval 26 percent.

The Post-ABC poll finds 43 percent of Americans said they strongly disapprove of Trump’s performance. That’s also the worst by far of any president since George H.W. Bush by more than double. In the spring of 1993, 21 percent said they strongly disapproved of Clinton’s performance.

And yet there is one more paragraph in the Post’s story on the poll that must be noted:

There are no signs of major slippage in support among those who voted for Trump. His approval rating among those who cast ballots for him stands at 94 percent. Among Republicans, it is 84 percent. Asked of those who voted for him whether they regret doing so, 2 percent say they do, while 96 percent say supporting Trump was the right thing to do. When asked if they would vote for him again, 96 percent say they would, which is higher than the 85 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who say they would support her again.

In short: As the 100th day of his presidency approaches, the voters who put Donald into the Oval Office are sticking with him. Only 2 percent wish they could take back their vote for him. Substantially more of those who voted for Hillary Clinton regret voting for her than do Trump voters regret voting for him.

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Comments (32)

  1. Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/26/2017 - 10:25 am.

    The Big Question

    84% of Republicans support him.

    94% of those who voted for him support him.

    Why?

    I’m genuinely curious.

    Beyond the standard and expected reasons of, “He’s not a Democrat,” or “He wasn’t Hillary,” or “I always vote for and support Republicans,” I’d really like to know what it is he’s done so far, or what it is he’s proposed doing, that people are actually in favor of.

    (And, as a side question, if 84% of Republicans actually support him why didn’t 84% of the Republicans in Congress — and the Republican public at large — support his ACA repeal and replace plan?)

  2. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/26/2017 - 10:55 am.

    Polls

    I am, of course, a poll skeptic from way back for a number of reasons. One of them, I think relevant here, is that we cannot know how accurate polls are at this point in a four year term. That’s because there is no control group to compare it to. The poll that matters is more than three years away, and a lot will happen between then and now.

    In general, post election polls tend to confirm election results in ways that can be embarrassing pollsters. Some polls indicate that the winning candidate got more votes than he did. That is, people tell pollsters that they voted for the winner, when in fact, they voted for someone else.

    Concerning margin of error. As pollsters use it, “margin of error” is a purely statistical concept, one that has no relationship at all to the actual margin any given poll might be in error.

  3. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/26/2017 - 11:17 am.

    Sad

    I know he’s not the first, but Trump is obviously a minority President, though equally obviously not one representing an ethnic or racial minority. Instead, he represents—well, sort of represents—a party that’s been captured by a cultural minority. Lumping Presidential, Congressional and state and local races together, votes cast in the last election for Democrats far exceeded the number of votes cast for Republicans overall, but there’s no joy in Democratville because Republican election strategy has turned out to be better and/or smarter in terms of results. Republicans have been very good at playing to the cultural prejudices of a sizable segment of the population, and using that as an effective smoke screen to obscure an economic and social agenda that’s right out of the late 19th century, or, if you’re more literary, right out of some combination of “1984” and “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

    As a former Republican, I don’t want the party to disappear, but I do want it to change so that it represents the country more accurately, culturally and economically. As someone rather far to the left of the current version of the Republican ideal, I’ve gone from being labeled middle-of-the-road to RINO to flaming liberal over the course of a generation, and those labels have changed despite the fact that my public policy views have only minimally changed over that same time span. That so many Trump voters continue to support a blatantly ignorant, racist, misogynist boor speaks very poorly of those voters and citizens, and lends credence to Ms. Clinton’s politically ill-advised, but largely truthful, label of that segment of the population as “a basket of deplorables.”

    Accurate or not, however, name-calling doesn’t seem to serve Democrats nearly as well as it seems to serve their opponents. Perhaps it’s because—at least in public—Democrats are, at least minimally, more polite. Caricatures of Donald Trump that I’ve seen don’t come close to matching the crude and racist ones commonly in use to disparage Barack Obama while he was in office. Sure, they hold him up to what I personally think of as well-deserved ridicule, but they lack the outright hostility and hatred that I saw in some (obviously not all) criticism of Obama. Mostly, the continued support of Trump by Trump voters reflects a distressingly strong ability to pull the wool over their own eyes. He not only hasn’t made a single gesture toward “draining the swamp” that was a prominent campaign theme, he has brought in, as cabinet officers and policy aides, a raft of people who helped create and now maintain that very same swamp.

    In that context, certainly, Trump would be characterized out west as “all hat and no cattle,” and the willful blindness of his supporters is, frankly, far more troubling than Trump’s ongoing inability to speak coherently or, more practically, to get substantive things done in Washington. That they continue to support him despite his obvious ignorance of foreign policy basics (I’m guessing his knowledge of both history and geography is approximately that of my 5 and 7-year-old grandchildren) is equally troubling. Of course, given his ludicrous and largely negative policy agenda, if we’re generous enough to call it that, we may be better off as a society if Trump’s ineptitude continues unabated.

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/27/2017 - 06:57 am.

      Let’s be real

      “Lumping Presidential, Congressional and state and local races together, votes cast in the last election for Democrats far exceeded the number of votes cast for Republicans overall.” My guess is that this is the result of voting in California where Republicans just didn’t bother to vote… So yes, it is possible to say that Trump does not represent California…

      “That so many Trump voters continue to support a blatantly ignorant, racist, misogynist boor speaks very poorly of those voters and citizens, and lends credence to Ms. Clinton’s politically ill-advised, but largely truthful, label of that segment of the population as “a basket of deplorables.” Here we go again – labels and insults. If you are a liberal now, how about expressing some tolerance…

      “Caricatures of Donald Trump that I’ve seen don’t come close to matching the crude and racist ones commonly in use to disparage Barack Obama while he was in office. Sure, they hold him up to what I personally think of as well-deserved ridicule, but they lack the outright hostility and hatred that I saw in some (obviously not all) criticism of Obama.” Can you please give examples of racist caricatures of Obama? And do you want to say that all the marchers in the country in the last six months lacked “outright hostility and hatred” towards Trump?

      As for Trump’s “obvious ignorance of foreign policy basics (I’m guessing his knowledge of both history and geography is approximately that of my 5 and 7-year-old grandchildren), can you please name any blunder that he has committed? I mean in comparison to many of those by the previous administration…

    • Submitted by Bob Petersen on 04/27/2017 - 10:02 am.

      ‘Democrats are, at least minimally, more polite.’

      That is one tough statement to back up. There still are liberals out there rioting.

  4. Submitted by Roy Everson on 04/26/2017 - 12:23 pm.

    They’ve got priorities

    The wall is crumbling but Trump claims he’ll still build it. Syrian refugees remainl banned but Ivanka has second thoughts. If Trump admits the wall is going nowhere and that refugees should be allowed into the U.S., then you will find his supporters heading for the exits. As long as the president appears to be waging a reactionary war on brown people he’ll command the support of his hardcore deplorables, no matter how big his failures on other issues.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/26/2017 - 02:49 pm.

      Priorities

      Consider how many times Trump has not only reversed himself, but denied having done so (“I never said that!”). Do you think a minor thing like going back on his two signature promises is even going to make his supporters blink?

    • Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/27/2017 - 06:57 am.

      Please clarify

      “As long as the president appears to be waging a reactionary war on brown people he’ll command the support of his hardcore deplorable…” So how is he waging this war?

      • Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/27/2017 - 12:53 pm.

        The power of search

        It’s hard to believe you actually need someone to answer your question, but if you’re serious just do a search on phrases like these (or others you may prefer). Any number of the articles that come up will give you the basic gist of what Roy’s alluding to.

        “trump war on brown people”

        “mothers deported by trump”

        “trump war on sanctuary cities”

        Then try the same thing with the new Attorney General (who, by the way, either lied to Congress or, as he puts it, “misspoke,” under oath, which, I’m almost sure, is no big thing to you):

        “jeff sessions war on brown people”

        And for a little insight on a different but similar kind of thing (I’m sure Jeff Sessions would approve of), you might also be interested in checking a few of the articles that pop up in a search on “putin’s war on lgbt people.”

        As you may notice if you look closely enough, many (fake media types?) who pay attention to that particular issue say that the (hellacious) focus Putin and his supporters are putting on that issue is, primarily, a “distraction tactic” that gets just about everyone to “look over here at this abomination!” while he’s working his real agenda “over there.”

        But let’s not even begin to get into THAT one . . . If you need irrefutable proof that the current administration MAY be engaged in doing what it can to re-institutionalize as much divisiveness, bigotry and fear of and punishment of “the Other” as they can (while attempting to steal as much more taxpayer doe ray me as they can — where ARE those tax returns, by the way?) there’s absolutely no point in getting into the possible similarities between Putin’s “war on gay people” and what you, apparently, see as the president’s non-existent war on anything other than whoever or whatever he sees as being against his campaign to make America great again.

  5. Submitted by Howard Miller on 04/26/2017 - 03:15 pm.

    style over substance

    the roughly 20% of eligible voters who cast their ballots for Mr. Trump seem drawn to his confrontational, in-your-face, take-no-prisoners style. They also believed him about creating jobs, building a wall, deporting more than 10 million humans without a legal right to be here.

    So long as he remains bombastic, I suspect his supporters will not lose their faith in him, even though so much of what he says is either in error or a deliberate lie meant to deceive.

    It’s up to the roughly 80% of us who prefer dignity and competence in a POTUS to overcome the Trump base taste for in-our-face by more actively supporting candidates along our tastes.

  6. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/26/2017 - 03:35 pm.

    Trump supporters, admit they made a mistake?

  7. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 04/26/2017 - 03:55 pm.

    There is a Particular Type of Psychological Dysfunction

    and we ALL know people who suffer from it,…

    that makes it impossible for some people,…

    once they have committed themselves to a cause or a leader,…

    to EVER change course.

    They will go to their graves swearing that they were right,…

    and the fact that it didn’t work out was not THEIR fault,…

    nor the fault of those leaders they trusted.

    Beneath it all, their egos are far too weak and wounded,…

    and they are far too filled with the fear of “losing face,”…

    as some Eastern societies put it,…

    to change their minds about anything,…

    because to do so would be to admit that they were wrong before,…

    and they simply can’t deal with the possibility that they were ever wrong.

    The core of Trump supporters were attracted to him because he shares that same dysfunction,…

    and they hoped to experience the vicarious joy of watching someone like themselves do,…

    as President of the United States,…

    all the things they’d really like to do in their own lives,…

    things that would get them into so much trouble that they’re smart enough to avoid them.

    • Submitted by Bill Willy on 04/27/2017 - 02:10 pm.

      To their graves

      Hard to say for sure, but Archie Bunker may have been the quintessential role model for those “of whom you you speak” . . . May he rest in peace.

      And while I don’t have much hope of it happening, may the hosts of his ghost snap out of it “before it’s too late.”

  8. Submitted by Joel Stegner on 04/26/2017 - 03:55 pm.

    Admitting mistakes

    Let me point out the obvious. For older conservative men who doesn’t like the way the world is treating them and want to blame others for their problem, Trump is the guy who never admits mistakes or shows the slightest respect for the needs and beliefs of others. Trump is the Messiah who promises what they want. Good things for them, bad for others.

    Once one has that kind of faith, it is hard to renounce. Especially for the prolife Christians, the promise to end abortion is compelling. Just think of people who would force a woman to carry a rape baby to birth – more than doubling the punishment – just so some criminal can spread his seed. Face it, abortion will never go away. All that can happen it that it is so rare because contraception is close to perfectly effective and men cooperate by not trying to have sex with as many women as possible.

    These are men who have done damage and been held accountable. They didn’t work their careers enough and want tax cuts to put more money in the bank. Someone they don’t think deserves insurance gets sick and covered, and they are offended. Fact is, no sane person wants to use healthcare unless it is absolutely necessary – horrible way to spend money.

    So really, Trump voters are very much like Trump. They don’t have his wealth-immunity from consequences, but they wish they did. Anyone who has rejected the old rights of white male privilege will have no attraction to them, with diversity being something they don’t accept. Fact is, voting for Trump was clinging to the imaginary good old days of the 1950-60s – a time that is not coming back.

  9. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/26/2017 - 04:03 pm.

    If he runs again

    it will not be against Hillary Clinton and an overconfident Democratic party.
    Given any sort of effort by the Democrats in 2020, his 20% should not be enough.
    And if the Democrats do well in 2018, Republicans will start to worry about being tied to Trump.

  10. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/26/2017 - 04:38 pm.

    There is little to dissuade true-believers until their life is demonstrably worse.

    Until then they will be satisfied with the “action” of presidential orders/pronouncements calling for “review” after “review”. The minimal standard for satisfaction can be seen in the much-ballyhooed tax reform pronouncement which consists of a one page string of bullet points that reeks of last-minute, “I need to tun this in today, but I don’t really have anything…”

    https://twitter.com/MatthewNussbaum/status/857290028250263552/photo/1

    To the low-information voters, it’s impressive, and some will even believe the action of writing the page means that it’s a 95 to 100% done deal. And, for many others, the failure to pass this fine bit of puffery is demonstration of the corrupt nature of the system.

    In the end, they won’t budge until they bleed.

  11. Submitted by Ilya Gutman on 04/27/2017 - 07:01 am.

    A summary

    So let’s summarize: practically all Trump voters like what he is doing meaning that, in their minds (and objectively, too, for most part), he is following through on his promises to make America great (and that is why they still support him). Consequently, his overall bad rating is the result of disapproval from those who didn’t vote for him in the first place. What a surprise! Plus, the reason many of those people dislike him is the relentless barrage of accusations and bashing coming from the media, including this publication. No other president was in the same position… On the other hand, I’d like to know how many people regretted their voting for Obama – Mr. Black didn’t provide that statistics… But based on this election results – quite a few.

    • Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/27/2017 - 11:18 am.

      Ilya claims that “the reason many of those people dislike him is the relentless barrage of accusations and bashing coming from the media, including this publication. No other president was in the same position… ”

      Not accurate.

      What we are doing is watching Trump closely, day by day, Tweet by Tweet and interview by interview, inarticulate pronouncement after inarticulate announcement. No one needs the media to do anything but let us hear him, watch him, read his executive orders verbatim. No mediation, no interpretation from anyone (Fox TV always insists that we don’t know how to interpret anything without their “panels” of so-called experts to tell us what to think).

      We should have someone in the White House ban Trump from using adjectives, though. One tires of his use of “fake” this and “fake” that, blah, blah, blah.

      To quote Trump: So Sad!

    • Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/27/2017 - 11:42 am.

      If we remember history…

      I refer Mr. Gutman to the June 7, 1993 cover of Time and the related story on:

      “The Incredible Shrinking President”

      http://content.time.com/time/covers/0,16641,19930607,00.html

      And this was back in the days of semi-civility….

  12. Submitted by Hiram Foster on 04/27/2017 - 07:40 am.

    The CW

    The conventional wisdom subscribed to by many DFLer’s including myself, is that we were far too negative during the campaign. We thought Donald Trump was a racist demagogue who the American people would reject and that all we needed to do was say that over and over again. That turned out not to be enough.

    The outlines of this debate are well understood by all the players.They have been chewed over by pundits nightly, for generations now. Do Democrats put forward a positive message? If we do, we will be called far leftists, terrified of our base, blah, blah, and further blah. If we are purely negative, as we largely were in 2016, just pointing out the hideousity of Donald Trump, we don’t move beyond our base, and can also be portrayed as condescending and whatnot. My own view is that Democrats in their nature are for stuff, and that’s what we have to tell the American people, and then find a way of negating Republican negativism. But hey, we have lost doing that too.

    The loss of Bill O’Reilly hurts Republicans quite a bit. Now Democrats everywhere are hoping that his replacement, Tucker Carlson resumes the wearing of a bow tie.

    • Submitted by Matt Haas on 04/28/2017 - 09:26 am.

      Purely negative

      I think the disconnect is largely that we speak about positive THINGS, we go negative mainly at specific PEOPLE. I liken the debate about how the left needs to change as deciding whether to throw rocks or eggs at the immovable wall that is conservatism. We never expect THEIR ideology to crumble, we just keep rotating our ammunition. How’s about finding a better way to challenge conservative orthodoxy in way that reaches the folks it needs to reach, undermine that wall? How to do that is the million dollar question of course.

  13. Submitted by Edward Blaise on 04/27/2017 - 08:25 am.

    And one of the worst parts….

    Is the total inability to find anyone, other than paid White House staff, to defend the man in an articulate and thoughtful manner. And they are not exactly knocking it out of the park. OK, OK, OK, I get it: That’s not an easy job. It might be impossible, still, he did get over 62 million votes, there must be someone out there willing to give it a try in forums like this. Every new Eric Black piece get’s 30 some comments, the vast majority all anti Trump and, at best, someone who will preface any dissent with a disclaimer of Trump non-support. A good argument is welcome therapy and will someone please step up and give it a try?

    I’m not optimistic on this and that is consistent with why the polls were so wrong in November: His supporters are too embarrassed by his antics that they want no public association with him. But, put them in the private sanctity of the voting booth….

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