Growing Disapproval for Trump

“#UNGA” by The White House is in the Public Domain

To my surprise, I realized this morning that I have not looked Trump’s approval numbers in over a month (time flies when you are not having fun planning for the Fall in the time of Covid). While I am not surprised that the trend I noted back in early June has continued, the graph is still pretty striking:

Source: FiveThirtyEight

While not quite at peak disapproval (57.5% on 12/16/17), it is close.

Overall the general trend is relatively stable, insofar as disapproval has stayed in a band largely between 50 and 55 and, likewise, approval has mostly been in the low 40s.

Still, it is striking to see that after a brief flirtation with a rally effect right at the start of the country taking the coronavirus outbreak seriously, Trump’s handling of the crisis has not been well-received. He utterly wasted April and May from a policy and leadership perspective and he is paying a political price, as should be the case.

Indeed, if one looks at another FiveThirtyEight piece that focuses on polling about the pandemic, we see similar numbers in terms of approval of how Trumps is handling the crisis: 56.7% disapprove and 39.3% approve.

While it is perhaps disheartening to think that anyone approves of how Trump has handled this mess, the reality remains that partisan filters are strong motivators. One suspects that his floor is somewhere in the lower 30s and not further (that is simply a guestimate), but coupling these numbers with Biden’s stable lead in the polls gives some hope for a positive outcome in November.

Forget partisan or policy preferences. The country needs competence.

I continue to maintain that Trump had a chance to take this event and turn it to his advantage. His failure to do so profoundly underscores his utter inability to do the job he holds.

For example: New York state suffered greatly from Covid-19, and yet Governor Cuomo’s approval ratings are the highest of his time in office. Why? I think it is because he tried to lead in the crisis, rather than shrinking from responsibility and projected concern and competency to the population on a daily basis. He didn’t, for example, go off the cuff about untested drugs or powerful lights. He made an effort at governing, which is what people expect in a crisis. Trump has utter refused to do that. (Note that Cuomo has not been an especially popular governor).

Back to Trump: I am in no way surprised at his lack of ability, as well as the lack of ability of the far-from-best people he was surrounded himself with. It is heartening that a majority of my fellow citizens see this as well, but still disheartening that so many are willfully blind.

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FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, Donald Trump, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Sleeping Dog says:

    I continue to maintain that Trump had a chance to take this event and turn it to his advantage. His failure to do so profoundly underscores his utter inability to do the job he holds.

    Yes, if Tiny even mailed in an effort he’d be coasting toward November. He’s out of touch and prattling about stuff no one really cares about and even then he is out of touch with the silent majority.

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  2. Michael Reynolds says:

    I disagree that Covid + the economic crash + BLM is why Trump will lose. I think he was well on the way to losing before that. He’s been underwater by at least 10 points more or less continuously. Covid etc… is why he’s going to lose big. But long before that polls showed 50% of Americans opposed – and not just opposed, but violently so. And that is hard to overcome.

    In polls 32% of people think he’s doing a good job on both BLM and Covid. So, we know the exact number of morons now. Very helpful.

    What has made me optimistic for years about beating him is his extremely limited skill set. He’s a stupid man who only has one mode: attack. All of his limited rhetorical range is devoted to one form of bullying or another. He is of course incapable of empathy or kindness, the distilled essence of toxic masculinity. People would suggest that he could maybe, you know, try something else, but I never doubted that he wouldn’t even try. He can’t. Expecting Trump to be anything but stupid bully is almost unkind, it’s like suggesting that a quadruple amputee run hurdles.

    His limitations plus the abject cravenness of his party reassures me about the future. There’s no place for this POS in 2024 or 2026 or 2030. He’s a relic. The man’s pushing race war in 2020? Non-Hispanic whites: 60% Black: 13%. Hispanic 18% and Asian 5%. Add the fact that the 60% tend to be older and it gets worse. Then look at the fact that of the 60% quite a few are with those ‘other’ people on a wide range of issues. That’s not a good place to start from if you’re looking for the segregationists to win.

    If nothing else, how are you going to be, say, Starbucks and go along with a regime that would alienate the overwhelming majority of your customer base? Big Business does not like race war.

    This is the last hurrah of the deplorables. Soon we will have a whole new set of issues: climate change, economic inequality and corporate power. (Looking at you, Facebook.) The future is not about the old white couple in Iowa with six guns, a pick-up truck and membership in the nearest Southern Baptist congregation.

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  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I think he was well on the way to losing before that. He’s been underwater by at least 10 points

    Before Covid and despite BLM, Tiny had a very good chance of being reelected despite the -10 approval. Much of that would have said the economy is going well, inflation is down, their 401k’s were up and much was right in their communities. Yeah they hate Trump, but they would have voted for him.

    Covid is the crisis that he avoided for the prior 3 years and when it came he completely screwed up the response. If he had said, I’m delegating this to Pence and just stood back smiling approvingly he would have had a win.

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  4. EddieInCA says:

    What I can’t comprehend, no matter how hard I try, is how 31%+ of the country thinks he’s doing a good job on the handling of Coivd in their states. Arizona, Florida, and Texas, in today’s CBS Poll, have his approval on handling the virus at 31%, 34%, and 37% respectively. That’s insane. That almost 40% in Texas think he’s doing a good job on Covid – while the virus decimates the hospitals all over the state – shows the altered reality in which this group of citizens live.

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  5. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Yes, but if Trump had delegated the handling of the pandemic to Pence, he’d have missed the all-important opportunity to hold forth on live television for 1-2 hours every single day. Sure he could have stood in the background looking stern and commanding, or, as you say, approving, but he wouldn’t have been the focus of attention. For Trump, the sole point of the presidency is its utility as an attention-getting device. It’s not Make America Great. It’s See How Great Trump Is.

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  6. Teve says:

    @EddieInCA: FoxNews/Breitbart etc are powerful drugs.

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  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    See How Great Trump Is

    You misspelled “gross” again.

    Dammit, this was for you @CSK:

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  8. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    yeah, but he’d likely be looking at reelection.

  9. CSK says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:
    And I accept.

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Sure. But he’s his own worst enemy in that regard. His need for attention supersedes any other consideration. If retreating completely from the public eye could assure him a landslide victory, do you think he could do that? I don’t.

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  10. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:

    But he’s his own worst enemy…

    We should be eternally grateful for that.

    If retreating completely from the public eye could assure him a landslide victory…

    You can’t fix stupid.

  11. Kathy says:

    @CSK:

    Sure. But he’s his own worst enemy[..]

    We’re number two, so we try harder.

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  12. Kurtz says:

    @EddieInCA:

    That almost 40% in Texas think he’s doing a good job on Covid – while the virus decimates the hospitals all over the state – shows the altered reality in which this group of citizens live.

    Texans are very good at getting high on their own supply.

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  13. JohnSF says:

    @CSK:

    But he’s his own worst enemy…

    Reminds me of the quote re. Uncle Ernie (of his fellow Labour politician Herbert Morrison);
    “Herbert’s his own enemy, you know.”
    “Not while I’m alive, he ain’t.”

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  14. inhumans99 says:

    I am straight up parroting Steven but I have been thinking about how President Trump just seems to have given up and it does feel like he just straight up does not know how to to do the job he holds.

    Also, as Steven already alluded to there is no one in his admin who can show him the ropes. Instead, he has surrounded himself with folks who can easily get him to retweet videos from folks yelling White Power (he may get a note that is as simple as hey, sir…this guy supports you and you should retweet the attached…and President Trump just goes ahead and retweets probably without even watching the suggested video retweet in which I believe even he would say hey now, I am not going to retweet a straight up racists video, instead the note said this guy was in love with him and since it stroked his ego he hits retweet w/o thinking of the consequences of his action).

    In any other admin someone who dared to suggest a retweet of a racist video would not even get within a 100 miles of being hired by the White House but even after he re-tweets and it blows up his face that person who suggested the video in the first place is still employed, which is just a head scratcher as to why that person is not promptly fired.

    He has basically let the inmates run the asylum otherwise he would rip the person who got him to retweet the racist video a new one before he personally shoved him out the door screaming don’t let the door hit you on your way out.

    I mean…I feel for the guy being in over his head and all that but also, yeah…only silver lining of the mess we are in is that people have indeed seen that Trump has lost the plot (aka the Emperor has no clothes) and it is looking good that he is out the door.

    The bigger problem I have with society at large is that we are not redirecting our anger at Trump to point at McConnell, as it is practically criminal how he has let this farce of a President remain in office. I have to say…I have also lost a lot of respect for the “job makers” in this country that they were so quick to fall in line to stroke our President’s ego while not also yelling at McConnell behind the scenes that he will be lucky to get elected dog-catcher if he does not remove Trump from office.

    It is no secret a lot of Americans are ignorant (and not all are willfully so) but there are a lot, and I do mean a lot of folks who have brains instead of trains in their head who did nothing to help America regain her footing, this to me is one of the all-time great tragedies that we are living through right now.

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  15. An Interested Party says:

    The bigger problem I have with society at large is that we are not redirecting our anger at Trump to point at McConnell, as it is practically criminal how he has let this farce of a President remain in office.

    Not just McConnell but the entire Senate Republican Conference, except for Romney…these people saw abuses of power committed by this president staring them in the face and they refused to convict him for such obvious crimes…

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  16. DrDaveT says:

    @An Interested Party:

    Not just McConnell but the entire Senate Republican Conference, except for Romney…these people saw abuses of power committed by this president staring them in the face and they refused to convict him for such obvious crimes…

    This cannot be emphasized enough. The GOP senators not only let Trump off for his crimes, they did it in such a way that he knew they would let him get away with anything else, as well. They wrote him a blank check for corruption and incompetence.

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  17. Scott O says:

    With all due respect Dr. Taylor you’ve got to get out of that ivory tower, ignore the polls and talk to some pissed off conspiracy theorists to get the true measure of Trump’s approval. Or so I’ve heard.

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  18. @Scott O: Well, that’s an option 😉

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