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Poll: Trump ends second year in office with strong approval numbers
James N. Mattis / CCL
President Donald Trump is ending his second year in office with a strong 46 percent approval rating, higher than Obama’s was in December 2010, according to a new Fox poll — but the president wants more.
Trump called the Fox poll “lousy” and blamed negative news coverage for his 2-point drop from his high of 48 percent in the Fox poll. Meanwhile, Trump is boasting a 50 percent approval on his handling of the economy.
Trump divides opinion, wins economy
While the president is vying for approval from 100 percent of Americans, Trump should be happy to hear that his approval numbers in the Fox poll haven’t budged significantly over the past year despite the constant negative press coverage he has endured, including a recent explosion in gloomy predictions about his future after former Trump attorney Michael Cohen was sentenced to prison for campaign finance violations amid an uptick in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of collusion. It’s telling that Trump has won the highest approval on an issue it’s difficult for the news to lie about: the economy.
More Americans now think the economy is in good shape than when Trump first took office. Forty-seven percent see the economy as excellent or good these days, while a mere 33 percent rated the economy as good one month before his inauguration. The positive numbers come as unemployment has reached 49-year lows.
However, the percentage of Americans who think the economy will be better a year from now is down to 45 percent from 56 percent in December 2016 amid an erratic stock market. Half of the poll respondents said the economy hadn’t made a difference in their lives, while one-fifth of respondents said it made things better. Another one-fifth said the opposite.
On an issue-by-issue basis, Trump has 50 percent approval and 43 percent disapproval on the economy, but he only scored 46 percent approval (49 percent disapproval) on border security and 43 percent approval (53 percent disapproval) on immigration amid an ongoing border crisis and struggle to secure funding for the wall. On health care, the top-rated issue, his approval was 33 percent, while 56 disapproved.
Russia hysteria makes an impact
In an interview with Fox following to poll’s release, Trump blamed “Fake News” for his mild ratings in the Fox poll, but maintained that he has the “greatest base in history.” In the poll, Republicans were three times more likely than Democrats to say they felt optimistic about the economy’s future, and they were seven times more likely to say they were thriving in the Trump economy
But while the Fox poll proved that Trump’s base remains strong, it also reflected the impact of a media machine fixated on the Russian conspiracy narrative: a record 48 percent of respondents said that they believed that Trump’s campaign coordinated with Russia, while 37 percent said they didn’t think so.
Moreover, 56 percent of respondents approved of Mueller’s investigation into alleged collusion, while 37 percent disapproved. A slight majority of 51 percent said they doubted Mueller would find evidence that Trump committed crimes or impeachable offenses.
Those numbers come as Mueller’s investigation is crowding headlines and said to be nearing a climax, with emboldened Democrats ramping up threats of impeachment.
But even as the Russia probe drones on, Trump’s approval ratings are higher than President Barack Obama’s were in December 2010, according to Rasmussen. On December 13, Trump’s approval was 49 percent compared with Obama’s 44 percent on that date in 2010.
In fact, Trump’s ratings started to overtake Obama’s in the daily tracking poll in his second year and have generally stayed above those of his predecessor since. Skeptics say the Rasmussen poll routinely inflates Trump’s numbers, but it’s not the only poll where Trump has beaten Obama; Trump leaped past Obama right before the midterms in an NBC poll.
Trump touted the good ratings in the Rasmussen on Twitter last week:
Working hard, thank you! pic.twitter.com/3SoWTkZjP6
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 6, 2018
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