Trump's Popularity Is Now Rising, Despite Mounting Failures and Scandals

Election '18

Even as the administration of President Donald Trump faces government shutdowns, corruption allegations, a porn star scandal, multiple accusations of domestic abuse by former employees, and the ongoing Russia investigation, the president's popularity has been rising. 

To be clear, the president is not popular. According to FiveThirtyEight, which aggregates a series of recent polls, only 41 percent of Americans approve of Trump's job performance. More than half — 53.6 percent — think he's doing a bad job.

But these figures are an improvement over Trump's approval rating of just a few months ago. In December, he fell to an all-time low of 36.4 percent approval and 57.5 percent disapproval. The last time Trump had an approval rating of 41 percent or higher on FiveThirtyEight's scale was May 2017.

It's hardly surprising that Trump's approval rating would fluctuate over a few months. But if any of the president's opponents were counting on a continually declining presidential approval rate to help Democrats to win back control of Congress in 2018, they should reconsider their strategy. Trump could get more popular still. 

Many signs point to the possibility of a Democratic wave in the midterm election, as Nate Silver, the founder of FiveThirtyEight, points out. And yet, it is far from guaranteed.

"There’s high potential for a wave," he wrote in a recent post. "And if there is a wave, it could be a large one. But there are also scenarios in which Republicans battle things … not quite to a draw, but to enough of a draw that their geographic advantages let them keep both chambers of Congress."

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer hinted this week that a key part of the Democrats' strategy in 2018 would be not to run against Trump but rather to run on a constructive platform.

"You cannot just run against Donald Trump," Schumer said at an event at the University of Louisville. "And it is the job of we Democrats to put together a strong, cohesive, economic group of proposals aimed at the middle class and those struggling to get there."

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