Yesterday may have been Trump’s worst day ever. But before things hit the fan yesterday, he had been flying high. Attorney General Barr’s bogus summary of the Mueller report created a false impression among the American electorate that the report had cleared Trump of all wrongdoing.
Of course we know that is untrue, but with the public believing it was true, we would have expected Trump to get a significant bump in his approval rating.
But the bump never happened, and Trump was still flatlining, even before yesterday’s bombardment of bad news.
A new report from NBC News shows that in the week after Barr publicized his fake exoneration of the president, Donald Trump has not gotten anywhere near the bounce he’d hoped for. He was crowing all last week about “complete exoneration” but the American people have not been fooled.
Analysis: The president's approval rating has been a flatline, which means he may need a rival as unpopular as Hillary Clinton in 2016 to pull off a second term. https://t.co/4iSCdCNbbq
— NBC News (@NBCNews) April 4, 2019
This is devastating for Trump’s reelection chances, because if reports of exoneration didn’t improve his poll standing, what would?
One week after Mueller turned in his report to the Department of Justice, Trump’s average approval rating had climbed just one-tenth of a percentage point, from 43.1 percent to 43.2 percent.
“Maybe when voters learn more, the numbers will move, in one direction or the other,” said NBC News political correspondent Steve Kornacki, before adding:
“Maybe this is just the latest and loudest example of what we’ve seen over and over again during this presidency: A gigantic news development, followed by suggestions that a critical turning point in his public standing may be at hand, followed by … well, pretty much nothing.”
Since taking office Trump’s approval ratings have remained in a narrow band from the high 30’s to the low 40’s. These are horrible numbers for a president who wants to win reelection.
It appears that most people have made up their minds about Donald Trump, and new information, good or bad, won’t change their opinions.
Presumably if evidence comes out about serious Trump crimes he may drop a few more points, but he has a core base of voters who will support him no matter what.
Trump narrowly won election in 2016 partly because his opponent, Hillary Clinton, ran a bad campaign and had very high negative ratings among voters. There were other factors, such as Russian interference.
The lesson from this new poll from NBC News is that unless he runs against an opponent as unpopular as Hillary Clinton Trump’s chances of being reelected will only go downhill from here.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.