Donald Trump has had historically low approval ratings since the minute he was inaugurated, but he had the capability to improve them to acceptable standards. At the beginning of his presidency, Trump had a +4 net approval rating (45.5% approved and 41.3% disapproved) according to FiveThirtyEight’s comprehensive calculations of the president’s approval ratings. Currently, Donald Trump has a -15 net approval rating (39.4% approve and 54.4% disapprove) after only 165 days in office.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Trump tweeted, “The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That’s higher than O’s #’s!” This tweet is hilarious and very misleading (and false) in many respects. Before I get started, I would like to point out that a Rasmussen poll on June 16 did show a 50-50 approval-disapproval rating for Trump.
First off, on June 16, 2009, the same Rasmussen poll was conducted on the “O’s” or Obama’s approval rating. It showed the 44th president had a 56-43 approval rating in favor of Barack Obama, so Trump saying that he had better numbers than Obama is false.
Secondly, Trump is attempting to make the Rasmussen poll seem validated by saying the poll was “one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election.” I looked up the final predictions leading up to the 2016 election at Rasmussen, and their last prediction was Hilliary Clinton winning the Electoral College by 106 votes (322-216). Again, Trump was flat out wrong in this part of his tweet.
Finally, I cannot believe that our president is bragging about having half the country approve and half disapprove of him. This really shows what low expectations he has of his own poll numbers. On top of that, when you combine a couple of days worth of Rasmussen polls together (like FiveThirtyEight does), you can see that from June 15-18, the American people disapprove of Trump by a 6 point margin (47%-53%).
I would rate this tweet as utterly false and humiliating because he is proud of a 50% approval rating. But, I do not want to get bogged down by the president’s tweets so I will return to his popularity or unpopularity among the people and what the implications could be for him as a president and the Republican Party as a whole.
At this point in time, Donald Trump is on course to get obliterated in the 2020 Presidential Race. No one can be elected having almost 55% of their constituency not approve of you as well as less than 40% of the people approve of your work in public office. Even though Trump’s approval ratings are going to be a disaster for him, they could be even worse for the Republican Party.
The Republicans are in a very precarious situation right now. Do they continue to unite behind the president or start to separate themselves from him? Attempting to separate the party from Trump will be very difficult as the president just held his first reelection fundraiser in D.C. This could be very detrimental towards the party because if Trump’s approval ratings continue to dip, the Republican leadership will be forced to unite under someone besides Trump, and if he stubbornly persists in being reelected, infighting among Republicans will be very costly in the elections.
Ultimately, Donald Trump’s approval ratings will never dip below 20-25%. Even Richard Nixon’s and George W. Bush’s approval ratings did not go below 25%, despite governing amid an impeachment process and the financial crisis respectively. Trump is not an exception to this rule. Unless more bombshell revelations regarding the Russia investigation and Trump continues to fail in passing any substantial piece of legislation, his approval ratings will remain in the same general vicinity of where they are now and will never drop into the teens.