Donald Trump once said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”
After 10 months or so in office, like almost everything he says, it seems that statement is false.
His job approval rating has actually dropped around 10 points during his tenure in the Oval Office. Although, it’s still surprising that support hasn’t dropped by more, considering all the negative press he gets.
All of the major news networks, Fox “news” aside of course, rarely say anything positive about Trump. The only time he has received positive coverage across the board from them, some of it sickening in it’s praise, was when he launched 59 Tomahawk missiles at an airbase in Syria.
However, that one act aside, most of the press Trump gets is negative – yet his poll numbers refuse to drop below 34%
No matter what he does, no matter how bad the press attack him and no matter how many gaffes the man makes, a third of America still think he’s doing a good job.
That being said, his favorability ratings do fluctuate. There are times when his numbers drop in the polls. They’re not big, 20 point drops, but they are noticeable.
Most people would probably think that Trump starts losing support whenever there is a new twist in the Russia investigation. However, the opposite seems to be true.
Trump’s ratings INCREASE when he is attacked on Russia
It seems counter-intuitive, however when Trump’s support ratings are analyzed, whenever there is a new story in the ongoing Russia investigation, it seems to solidify the support of his base.
Take a look at the graph below from Gallup. It is clear that whenever there’s a Russia “breakthrough”, Presidential support actually increases:
Three days after National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is fired, the media are in a frenzy. Trump’s approval ratings begin to climb almost immediately. They increase by 5 points in the following 5 days, with his disapproval rating dropping 4 points.
2: March 28th – House intelligence Committee cancels meetings
The House intelligence Committee cancels all meetings about the Russia investigation scheduled for the week. Devin Nunes, the Republican chairman of the House intelligence committee, faces calls from Democrats to recuse himself after talking with the White House amid claims of Trump’s phones being “tapped.”
Trump’s numbers climb by 6 points over the next 7 days, and his disapproval ratings drop by 7 points.
3: May 16th – Robert Mueller Appointed
James Comey is fired by Trump the week before, an act that made Trump’s approval ratings drop by only a single point. Robert Mueller is hired to head the Russia investigation.
Cable news went into overdrive with talk of Russian collusion and what will be uncovered, but Trump’s approval ratings climb once more by 5 points in the following 6 days.
4: October 30th – Paul Manafort indicted
Trump’s approval ratings had hit an all time low of 33% in the Gallup poll the day before Manafort was indicted (possible reasons for this will be addressed below). However, they climb 6 points in the following 4 days with his disapproval ratings dropping by the same amount once Manafort is named.
Granted, the above isn’t exactly scientific proof that when the Russia investigation heats up Trump gets a boost in the polls. However, there is a direct correlation between the four of the five biggest “stories” that have been uncovered.
The other big story surrounding Russia was when it was discovered that Donald Trump Jr had met with a supposed Russian government official. This story broke on July 9th, however Trump’s approval ratings were the same 7 days later.
What does make Trump’s approval ratings drop?
If any revelations about the Russia investigation help Trump’s approval rating, then it’s only natural that we should also try to find out what does seem to make his numbers fall – and maybe do more of that!
When analyzing the same graph, something jumps out immediately.
If you want to hurt Trump’s approval ratings, don’t attack him on Russia, attack him on policy!
1: Travel Ban
Just after taking office, details of Trump’s “travel ban” emerge, and his approval ratings drop.
He signed an executive order on January 27th, banning entry for 90 days by citizens from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen. The order also indefinitely halts refugees from Syria. There are nationwide protests a day later, and a federal judge temporarily blocks the EO.
2: “Trumpcare” details released
On March 7th details of “Trumpcare” are released. Over the following weeks it is torn apart by the media, and receives widespread condemnation from across both political parties. Democrats say it’s terrible, Republicans say it doesn’t go far enough.
The bill is eventually pulled on March 25th, and for now at least, Obamacare is safe.
Trump’s poll numbers drop by 9 points between the 10th and 28th of March. Disapproval rates are +10 for the same period.
Trumpcare 2.0 is announced in the third week in June but again is pulled after not gaining enough support. Presidential support drops 6 points in 4 days.
3: Climate Deal
Rumors start emerging that Trump will pull out of the Paris climate accord around the end of May. Around the same time, he makes the now infamous “covfefe” tweet.
Trump’s approval ratings drop 6 points in that week.
4: Tax “reform” is announced.
“Reform” is in brackets because the policy isn’t “reform” at all, it’s a giant tax cut for the wealthiest 1%.
The policy gets a hammering in the media, and Trump’s approval ratings drop 6 points in 2 weeks, only to recover when Paul Manafort is indicted.
The Thing is This….
None of the above is scientific, however there does seem to be a direct result of Trump announcing a policy and his support dropping.
And likewise, when a “big” update on Russia emerges in the press, his numbers seem to increase.
An explanation of this could be that his support will rally around him when he is attacked on matters that don’t effect them, but change their minds as soon as they figure out they will be worse off personally.
Of course, it all could be meaningless and there are factors involved which are too complicated or incalculable to draw any definitive conclusions from.
But it might be worth bearing in mind if a policy is announced at the same time as a new “revelation” about Russia emerges….because you may want to concentrate on the policy if that ever happens.
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