If the articles of impeachment that the Democrats introduced last week are so self-evidently damning, why are President Donald Trump’s approval numbers going up?
A Fox News poll on the president’s job performance, taken between Dec. 8 and Dec. 11, shows him up by 3 percent over a similar poll taken in late October.
The poll found 45 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing compared with 42 percent in the previous poll. His disapproval rating is at 53 percent, the same as in November.
Those are both also not significantly different than the numbers from January. At the beginning of the year — back when Ukraine, for most Democratic voters, was that country where that Malaysian airliner got shot down a few years back — 43 percent approved of the job Trump was doing and 54 percent disapproved.
After weeks of hearings, there also wasn’t a significant uptick in those who believed the president should be impeached and removed from office. Fifty percent of voters said he should be in the most recent polls, compared with 49 percent in late October.
In the new poll — a phone survey of 1,000 randomly selected registered voters nationwide with a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points — 41 percent said he shouldn’t be impeached and 4 percent said he should be impeached but not removed from office.
This didn’t quite elicit a happy reception from the president, who tweeted that Fox News’ polls are “always inaccurate, are heavily weighted toward Dems. So ridiculous – same thing happened in 2016. They got it all wrong. Get a new pollster!”
The @foxnewPolls, always inaccurate, are heavily weighted toward Dems. So ridiculous – same thing happened in 2016. They got it all wrong. Get a new pollster!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 15, 2019
I’m guessing he wasn’t happy about the fact that half of those polled thought he should be impeached and convicted. Which, fair enough, he’s the guy they’re looking to impeach and convict, after all.
However, looking at it from the remove of not being Donald J. Trump, these should be fantastic, shout-them-from-the-rooftop numbers for the administration.
Even the impeachment numbers are tremendous.
After week after week of a ready-made television spectacle — the impeachment inquiry reimagined as one of those old, 1950s-style “Night of a Thousand Stars”-type spectaculars, only with a thousand angry Democrats and/or legal experts giving frothing hot takes about why the president shouldn’t just be impeached but preemptively condemned to hell while we were at it — the needle on the percentage of Americans who believe Trump should be impeached and removed has ticked up … 1 percentage point.
That’s wonderful. A Christmas present, even.
It’s one poll, but it’s also a sign that, much like George Foreman pummeling away at Muhammad Ali during the Rumble in the Jungle, the Democrats have thrown their best punches at the president only to expend all of their energy on body shots Trump roundly absorbed.
As for the approval rating, again, that’s pretty stellar stuff. Trump’s approval rating has never been particularly high. It also helps to remember he was elected with virtually the same approval rating.
There are multifarious explanations as to what this means for his re-election chances and whether these numbers are skewed by various phenomena such as the “shy Trump voter” or what groups end up responding to surveys, but the point is he got elected with virtually the same numbers he has after weeks of hearings and media coverage telling us how he’s the Worst President Ever™ and has committed multiple impeachable offenses. (And really, that’s been going on since long before the whistleblower came forward with his qualms about the president’s call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.)
And by the way, this isn’t just one poll. In terms of the president’s approval numbers, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, they’re up by 2.2 percent from their most recent low on Oct. 27, from 41.6 percent to 43.8 percent on Monday. Likewise, his disapproval numbers are down from a high of 55.0 percent to 53.2 percent.
As for impeachment, RCP also has 47.3 opposed compared with 46.7 supporting. That’s the first time in its recent data set where the number of voters opposed to impeachment outnumbered those supporting it.
In short, the impeachment frenzy looks to be falling on deaf ears. A process streamlined and packaged by House Democrats to be scandalous and damaging either bored or outraged those who still hadn’t made up their minds. Everyone else remains unmoved.
If the articles of impeachment these hearings produced are damning, Trump will take all the damning he can get.
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