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Poll: In the Middle of His Impeachment Trial, Trump's Job Approval Rating Matches All-Time High

A leftover from late last week that's worthy of some extra attention, if only to demonstrate the gulf separating the elite media from much of the country over the issue of impeachment.  Interest is low, as a deeply-polarized and evidently-exhausted electorate remains torn over Democrats' partisan maneuvering and the president's conduct.  The Bolton development we covered yesterday represents a dramatic curveball in DC, which may have an unpredictable impact on the trial and public opinion, but a fresh (pre-Bolton) national survey from the Washington Post and ABC News -- a consistently Trump-unfriendly polling series -- finds that as the president is on trial and facing removal from office, his job approval has bounced to equal its highest level ever:

President Trump’s approval rating has climbed to match the highest of his presidency, boosted by majority approval of his economic stewardship even as Americans remain deeply divided on whether the Senate should remove him from office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The Post-ABC poll finds 44 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s overall job performance and 51 percent disapprove. While views of Trump remain negative, Trump’s approval rating is significantly improved from his 38 percent mark in late October.

Granted, those are not exactly glittering numbers for any politician (an "underwhelming" baseline writes Allahpundit in his summary of the data), let alone the White House incumbent with universal name recognition.  With the economy humming along, he should theoretically be in a much stronger position.  The news is a little better for Team Trump among likely voters, including the second nugget -- which is simultaneously tantalizing and sobering:

Voters are noticing the economic results, and on the traditionally number one issue, Trump is garnering applause and credit.  Yet, for various reasons, his overall approval rating is lagging 14 points behind the robust marks he's receiving on the economy.  On one hand, if Trump can tug voters in his direction by successfully arguing that turning over the keys to the opposition would harm the economy, he could conceivably win re-election relatively comfortably.  On the other hand, it very much looks like a serious softening or downturn over the next nine months could prove fatal to his prospects.  For what it's worth, the survey shows Trump improving his standing against all leading Democrats.  Of course, making the former case might be easier if he's facing a socialist in the fall.  Which brings us to some of the latest polling out of the Democratic primary, in which a 'two man race' dynamic is starting to emerge:

That's a nine-point lead for Grandpa Joe nationally, underscoring why he remains the consistent frontrunner, and the likeliest nominee, in my opinion.  But among all Democrat-leaners in the survey, Biden's advantage is just four points, and Bernie Sanders is coming on strong -- taking the lead in a number of Iowa and New Hampshire surveys, gaining momentum at just the right time:

Sanders is also leading in CBS News' new Iowa poll released over the weekend, but by a much thinner margin (CBS also finds Michael Bloomberg stuck in the single-digits in the Super Tuesday states into which he's poured ungodly sums of money on advertising).  And in New Hampshire:

As of this writing, the Vermont Socialist is within a whisker of first place in the Iowa polling average, and is ahead in the New Hampshire average by five points (including a poll from NBC also showing him ahead).  What happens if Bernie sweeps the Hawkeye and Granite States, which is hardly a far-fetched scenario at this point?  Analysts are already buzzing about that possibility:

A Bernie two-fer (or even three-fer) could be a serious problem for Biden...or it could light a fire under legions of 'just-win-baby' Democrats, who might feel compelled to abandon their first preferences and rally around Biden as a means of stopping the alternative.  One thing that has been entertaining watching the panic over the Sanders surge is that much of the media/establishment smart set appears to have once again underestimated his appeal.  Fool me once, etc:

I'll leave you with Joe playing prevent defense by dodging questions from the media and voters -- and in case you missed Leah's post yesterday, here's Bernie refusing to offer price estimates on his ludicrously and ruinously fantastical agenda:

Working on a speech yet, Barack?

UPDATE - I should include this Iowa poll which also came out Sunday and will be much more to the Biden camp's liking:

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