Trump soars in job approval ratings, but Democrats ahead in polls

New York: Polls paint a mixed picture of US President Donald Trump’s political fortunes in this election year showing his job approval ratings and sense of betterment at the highest levels while also having all the leading Democratic challengers defeating him.

A Gallup poll released on Thursday that said that 61 per cent of Americans felt they were better off now than they were three years ago, the highest number since 1992 during a year the president is facing re-election.

A Gallup poll released on February 4 on the eve of Trump’s acquittal showed a 49 per cent approval rate for him, steadying his support in the Senate.

That job approval rating in Gallup’s poll in the first week of February of the re-election year is higher than former President Barack Obama’s 47 per cent in 2012.

In other polls also he was doing well overall, although the picture is mixed.

The job approval rating, which is seen as a measure of his popularity, aggregated by RealClear Politics (RCP).was at 45.6 per cent this week, the highest in his presidency.

But disapproval of his performance was 52.1 per cent, a spread of 6.5 per cent, RCP calculated.

In contrast, the Americans have a far lower opinion of Congress: According to RCP aggregation, 65.6 percent disapprove of its performance and only 22.4 approve.

The Democrats will have to contend with Trump’s rising job approval ratings, especially in the economy, and the sense that things have gotten better when they confront him in the November election.

But they can get satisfaction in RCP aggregations of national polls in which all the six leading contenders for the Democratic Party nomination are shown beating Trump by margins ranging from a 6 per cent lead for Michael Bloomberg to just 1 per cent for Pete Buttigieg, a small-town mayor from Indiana.

The showing of Bloomberg, the owner of the news and financial service company that bears his name and a former New York mayor, against Trump in the national poll is a surprise as he is only at the third place in the polls for Democratic Party nomination and hasn’t participated in party elections so far.

But he is climbing fast, reaching 14.2 per cent on Thursday from 10 per cent on Sunday, while former Vice President Joe Biden, the centrist and one-time front-runner, has been steadily falling from 23.9 percent to 19.2 percent during the same period, according to RCP averages.

Democrats made a defence of Biden in the elections the core principle of the impeachment of Trump, yet ironically they may have hurt him by the repeated disclosures during the process about a questionable deal by his son Hunter in Ukraine and Biden’s role in firing the prosecutor there looking into his son’s company.

A national lead in voting, however, does not always translate to a victory in the presidential election, which is conducted indirectly on the basis of electoral college votes from those elected by different states.

Trump won 304 electoral college votes although he polled only 62.9 million popular votes nationally in 2016, while Hillary Clinton received 65.8 million votes but only 227 electoral college votes.

Individual polls also showed wide discrepancies in their findings this week, with Rasmussen Reports reporting a tie at 49 per cent between those approving his performance and those disapproving, and Reuters Ipsos with a 55 per cent disapproving and only 44 per cent approving, with a negative spread of 11 per cent.

With unemployment at the lowest level in about 45 years and the stock markets hitting record levels, Trump scores his best in polls asking about his economic performance: RCP aggregation showed a 56.1 per cent approval rate to 39.3 per cent disapproval.

When the former President Bill Clinton ran against the then sitting President George Bush (the senior) in 1992, his campaign successfully used the slogan, “It’s the Economy, Stupid,a to undercut Bush’s appeals to patriotism after the first Iraq War to liberate Kuwait, while the economy was sputtering.

This time, Republicans are hoping to use the economy to defuse the Democrat’s challenges based on Trump’s ethical lapses.

“The economy will likely be as potent an election issue as any other, but there is no dominant issue in the public’s minds,” according to a Gallup Poll analysis.

While 29 per cent of those polled said the economy was the top issue, healthcare came second with 25 per cent.

The Democrats are making healthcare an important issue in their campaign, although they have to come up with a coherent, united stand on the topic.

On foreign policy, Trump’s approval sags with a 43.7 per cent approval to 52.7 per cent disapproval, according to the RCP tally.

Asked about the direction of the country, only 39.3 said it was headed in the right direction, while 54.2 said it was going the opposite way, according to RCP aggregation.

One of the explanations for the discrepancy between Trump’s high job approval rating in seen in the Gallup and Rasmussen polls and the showing of Democratic party candidates in elections is the deep polarisation in the country: 94 per cent of Republicans in the Gallup poll approved of his performance, while only 7 per cent of Democrats did.

Among independents it was 42 per cent.

Similarly, 89 percent of Republicans said they were better off, while only 29 per cent of the Democrats agreed, showing the chasm behind the overall 61 per cent number for those feeling their situation had improved.

Independents with 60 per cent, were closer to the overall number.

Image courtesy of IANS

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