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After December dip, Trump’s Gallup approval rating rises to 40%

The latest Gallup three-day average shows Trump with a rating of 40 percent approvers and 55 percent disapprovers.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump, with their son Barron, arriving for a New Year's Eve party at his Mar-a-Lago club on Sunday.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

New Year’s wishes to all. Here’s hoping you had a good break. And welcome to 2018.

Ten months from now, American voters (not just those in New Jersey, Virginia and Alabama) will have a real chance to let the White House and the rest of Washington know how think the Era of Trumpiness has been going. Until November, those of us who are too obsessed to wait, will have to settle, mostly, for poll results to tell us which way the political winds are blowing. Therefore, herefore, one of my occasional check-ins with President Trump’s approval ratings.

To the surprise of many (including me), the approval rating of the current incumbent is back to almost exactly where it was when I last wrote about it in late November. A lot has happened since then, and President Trump’s approval numbers suffered from some of it. But then, for reasons I find hard to grasp, just when it seemed that maybe the spell he had cast over his admirers had broken, his numbers snapped right back to the not-very-good place they had been in November.

As I write this on Monday night, the latest Gallup three-day average shows Trump with a  rating of 40 percent approvers and 55 percent disapprovers. When I last checked in, on Nov. 28, it was 37-57. It you are sufficiently motivated to believe so, you could even say that his numbers have improved by two or three points, but that would be an overreaction to numbers that remain within-the-the-margin-for-error of staying the same.

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Likewise, the average of many polls that are mooshed together by the Huffington Post, which I use as a check against a too-heavy reliance on Gallup, show basically the same thing. On Sunday night, HuffPost’s average likewise showed Trump at 55.6 percent disapprovers and 38.9 percent approvers.

In the meantime, if you look at the graphic representations of those results (here for HuffPost and especially here for Gallup) the president’s ratings actually did take a noticeable dip in the past month. In Gallup’s case, he sunk to 33 percent approval and rose to 62 percent disapproval on Dec. 1, numbers that would be truly putrid if they had lasted. But they didn’t last. And they turned around so quickly they may have measured nothing terribly real.

Of course, if you’re going to be rigorously straight about these things, his admirers would have to acknowledge that, without further evidence to the contrary, his recent rise is just as ephemeral as his previous fall.

The bottom line remains, as it has almost since Inauguration Day, that Trump has suffered with the worst first-year approval numbers of any president since approval rate polling was invented, but as he approaches his second year, they basically haven’t gotten better or worse in any sustained way. He has been “under water,” as they say, the whole time, but somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of Americans have never quit him.

Will they ever? What would it take? I don’t claim to know. But, barring some dramatic breakout to the up- or down-side, I will try not to bother you with them until February-ish.