Why are Trump’s Approval Ratings so Stable?

There are a lot of stories circulating right now that suggest that Trump has seen a recent uptick in his polling numbers, and there are some polls out there that support that finding. I don’t pay much attention to minor fluctuation in polls, but I’ve gotten the impression that, overall, there has been very little movement during Trump’s presidency one way or the other. The things we think ought to hurt him don’t seem to have much effect, and the things that might reasonably be expected to help him don’t seem to do much for him. The Civiqs daily tracking poll confirms this.

It looks to me like the only events that have put a dent in Trump’s approval ratings have been related to the Russia investigation. The indictments of Paul Manafort and Michael Flynn present the biggest spikes in disapproval. But even these events are barely discernible in the numbers. Charlottesville didn’t move the numbers. Even firing James Comey didn’t move the numbers. Accounting for the margin of error in the poll, you could argue that nothing that has happened after the first month or so of Trump’s presidency has had any impact whatsoever.

There has been more flux in other polls, to be sure, with Trump dropping down further in his approval before rebounding. But the overall sense I get is that we’re in a very stable political climate, at least as it relates to how well the president is perceived to be doing his job.

Having said that, it’s interesting to see that people are talking about Trump’s behavior with women again and we’re starting to see some polls show an improvement in his numbers. Everyone, and I mean everyone, thought Trump was finished when the Access Hollywood tapes came out followed by a phalanx of women credibly claiming to have be mistreated by him. It didn’t hurt him and may well have helped him.

There’s no doubt in my mind that women have been mobilized politically like never before. You can see it just by how many women are running for office. You can see it in the congressional preference and party identification numbers. But, somehow, this doesn’t seem to hurt the president’s approval numbers. If anything, he seems to get some benefit when the focus turns to women rather than the Russia investigation, taxes, or the other outrages of the day.

I can’t explain it.

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.