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Why Are Trump’s Approval Ratings on the Rise?

By Ed Kilgore,
from New York Magazine,

It’s really hard to maintain perspective on public-opinion findings about the president’s job approval assessments. For many Republicans (and most definitely for Trump himself), every spike in any measurement of the president’s popularity is a sign that (a) Americans are getting used to him; or (b) Republican policies are making life so wonderful that people don’t care about this or that report of scandal or chaos in the White House, or (c) the anti-Trump enchantment woven by the fake-news media is wearing off. Conversely, Democrats tend to view drops in Trump approval as a sign that his party is toast in the upcoming midterms, while experiencing spikes as a sort of flashback to the evening of November 8, 2016.

Trump fans, of course, are ever-ready to remind us that the president wasn’t very popular when he won the presidency. That may bode well for his 2020 reelection prospects if he draws an opponent as unpopular as Hillary Clinton. But in midterms, poor presidential approval ratings invariably mean poor performance by the president’s party. The most important historical data point remains this: Presidents who go into the midterms with an approval rating under 50 percent have an average loss of 36 House seats. Democrats need 24 seats to take control. Trump and the GOP have a ways to go to become popular enough to minimize their losses.

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