The two presidents who had approval ratings below 50 percent halfway through their first year in office (Ford and Bill Clinton) each saw at least 9-point increases by the end of that year. FiveThirtyEight
FiveThirtyEight, in an excellent review (click here and see charts below) of available polling data, reminds us this morning that next November is a long way off. Here are two things to consider. First, don't underestimate the ability of the leadership in the Democratic Party to squander a strong lead. I've seen nothing from Democrats in Congress recently that comes even close to inspired leadership, Instead, Democrats appear to be hoping they can continue to ignore outrageous racism, disastrous policy steps, and highly authoritarian behavior in Congress and the White House, on the theory the public will vote them into power next Fall anyway. The polling data in this piece should make us think twice about accepting this theory. What Democrats have, right now, after the outrages of the past two years, is moral authority. But instead of moral outrage, and moral courage, what I see are the usual steps made to cobble together a short term tactical advantage on specific bills.
Second, employment rates, the status of wages, and economic expectations for the future tend to be more important in predicting voting behavior at the national level than the approval ratings of a president or Congress. And the massive tax cut to corporate America that just went into effect, was intended among other things to mobilize some of the trillions of dollars corporate America has been sitting on for a long time. A well orchestrated effort to jawbone the billionaire class into shaking some of that money loose in the next few months for building infrastructure, for improving wages, and for creating better jobs, might just work, and a quick injection of, say, a trillion dollars into the economy might make Trump's economic policies appear to have been the work of a genius.
Right now Trump's numbers are going up, as is the generic Republican vote (see below). I don't see Democrats in Congress, in the face of outrageous insults to democracy, the concept of equality under the law, and our reputation as a fair-minded, decent, country, giving me a reason to follow their lead. If decent people don't hold their representatives' feet to the fire, who will?
|Trump's Approval Ratings, FiveThirtyEight|
|Generic Congressional Ballot, FiveThirtyEight|