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Tipsheet

GALLUP: This Is Why Trump's Approval Ratings Are Unprecedented and Stable

Well, it’s Christmas Eve. For those of who are traveling today, hope you get to your respective family gatherings safely. In the meantime, on the political front, the Democrats have decided to shut down the government. They do not support border security. President Trump wants $5 billion for part of his wall. The Senate has adjourned and we could be in for a long showdown over this part of the spending package. Armageddon won’t come I assure you, but for those on the Left hoping that Trump’s approval ratings could take a hit—there are a few reason why it won’t budge.  Gallup has more, but one big reason why it won’t is because we’re as polarized as ever. I’m not complaining. Polarization is healthy in my book; it allows us to see who the enemy is. The polling firm added that Trump’s approval ratings are stable, more stable than any other president in recent memory, while adding that there hasn’t been a honeymoon period or a significant rally point in his presidency thus far:

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Americans' approval of the job Donald Trump is doing as president has been highly stable, showing less movement than all previous presidents' ratings during their first two years in office. His presidency also has been notable for the absence of two historically reliable patterns in presidential job approval -- honeymoon periods and rally events. It is possible that Trump -- and to a lesser extent his predecessor Barack Obama -- have ushered in a new era of marked stability in job approval ratings resulting from extreme party polarization.

[…]

Trump's and Obama's presidencies have been characterized by new levels of party polarization. The average 70-point gap in Obama's approval ratings between Democrats and Republicans exceeded the prior record by nine points. The gap in Republican-Democrat ratings of Trump thus far has been 77 points, on average.

[…]

One way to describe President Trump's job approval ratings thus far is "unprecedented." Never before has a president had such low ratings early on in his presidency, and his ratings are by several measures the most stable a president has had during his first two years in office, a time when presidents' ratings usually show a larger degree of variation.

Much of those ratings are a function of the polarized views of Trump, with Democrats giving him low ratings from day one while Republicans' ratings have remained high throughout his time in office. The 2016 campaign presaged these ratings with his low favorable ratings which included little positivity from Democrats, or independents.

But many of these patterns under Trump were in place before he took office. Polarization in presidential approval ratings began to expand under Reagan and has accelerated with each president since Clinton. And while Obama had a strong honeymoon, his support generally held in the 40s after that until his last year in office. Obama's approval rating did not increase significantly in response to a number of events between 2010 and 2015 that arguably could have produced rallies.

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Given the intense polarization, the Trump wing of the GOP wants a wall. The party wants the wall. And those who don’t want it don’t like Trump anyway, so no love lost. Hence, why we could have a lengthy showdown over the border wall funding. Trump’s approval ratings aren’t the best, though it’s a different picture when you ask folks about the issues, like the economy, where the administrations scores much higher marks. Trump’s personality is unpopular, but his policies are, and that’s the pickle for the campaign and media wizards working for the GOP. 

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