Last week was one of the worst weeks that any U.S. President has ever had. Donald Trump’s campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted of eight felonies. Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty and named Trump as an unindicted co-conspirator. Trump’s National Enquirer pal David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg both cut immunity deals. There was some consternation when Trump’s approval rating didn’t appear to immediately drop as a result. That’s now changed.
There are two keys to looking at poll numbers. The first is that you have to average the legitimate polls together in order to get a meaningful number; you can’t simply look at any one poll. The second is that, because polls take several days to be conducted, and because it can take a little time for the average American sitting at home to hear about the latest political developments, poll numbers nearly always have a delayed reaction to major developments. Now we’re seeing that reaction.
Three approval rating polls have now been released that were conducted entirely this week. One of them is Rasmussen, a notoriously illegitimate poll that’s been widely condemned by polling analysts, and not surprisingly, widely quoted by Donald Trump. After throwing that one out for being bad data, it leaves us with the ABC News / Washington Post poll and the Economist / YouGov poll. The ABC/WaPo poll has Donald Trump’s approval rating down to 36%. This is a sparsely conducted poll, and this is the first time new numbers have been released since April, but it does show him down eight points since that time. More importantly, Trump’s disapproval rating has spiked to 60%, the highest disapproval number we can find for Trump in any major poll in the past several months. The Economist poll has Trump at 43% approval, down three points from when it was conducted during the Paul Manafort trial.
These kinds of drops matter. Some within the Resistance shake their heads at the idea that anyone could still approve of the job that Donald Trump is doing. But it’s important to keep in mind that Richard Nixon still had an approval rating in the twenties at the time he was ousted. We’ll need to see more data from other polling outlets, but based on what we’re seeing so far, it’s clear that the guilty pleas and guilty verdicts are driving Trump’s approval rating downward. The upcoming additional verdicts and pleas should drive it even lower.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report