Monday, March 5, 2018

Trump: Base, But No Majority

After 400 days in office, Donald Trump still operates as if he is running a reality TV show. A 35 percent share of a national audience is huge. But, it is insufficient to command real political respect. And, it is likely to contribute to Republicans losing control of the House of Representatives. Like most recent surveys of his 35 percent approval rating (CNN poll), he has 80 percent of Republicans, few Democrats (5%) and approval from independent voters equal to the overall average (35%).

Also representative of most national samples, Republicans tend to be about a quarter of the sample, Democrats about 10 points higher and the rest claiming to be independents.

When you apply simple analysis to the distribution, it is clear the “base” is insufficient for building and retaining political power. In fact, the endless effort to reinforce the base is counterproductive; it drives off Democrats and independents.

It is not impossible for Trump to improve his position with Democrats and independents. His approval of the handling of the economy is 51 percent in a new Gallup poll. It includes the approval of 28 percent of Democrats, 90 percent of Republicans and 47 percent of independents. Although only a slight majority, it is a significant improvement.

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with state
and local officials on school safety in the White House,
Feb. 22, 2018 | Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

A major part of Trump’s problem is that his style and tone is not just distracting from the economic message, but is exhausting many swing voters. People view White House rhetoric as helping cause national division and increased violence in society.

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