Despite a tidal wave of stories deepening the scandal over ties between Donald Trump, his presidential campaign, and Russia — including shocking revelations about Trump’s own son-in-law Jared Kushner who is also one of his top White House advisers — Trump’s approval rating poll numbers appear to be holding steady and even ticking upward slightly over the past week in some surveys.
Nonetheless, Trump’s average approval rating across all polls of just 39.2 percent, according to the FiveThirtyEight.com polling average — with a whopping 54.8 percent disapproval — remains historically low. By comparison, Trump’s predecessor, President Barack Obama, enjoyed a robust 60.4 average approval rating after 130 days of his first term, the point where Trump stands as of Tuesday.
In fact, of all U.S. presidents since Harry Truman in 1945, when presidential approval polling was first conducted, only one has suffered a lower approval rating at the 130 day mark. That was President Bill Clinton in 1993, who dipped to a 36.8 rating by that point.
Trump now has a higher approval rating than Clinton did at this point in his presidency. That said, his net approval still is lower. pic.twitter.com/SuRvNEhod1
— (((Harry Enten))) (@ForecasterEnten) May 29, 2017
Clinton’s low approval numbers were largely the result of a weak economy that had not recovered from a recession at the end of the George H.W. Bush presidency in 1992. Clinton’s efforts to allow gay servicemembers to serve openly in the military and his push for nationwide health care reform also contributed to his early unpopularity, according to the Washington Post.
Trump, on the other hand, inherited an increasingly healthy economy with 75 consecutive months of positive growth and a relatively low 4.7 percent unemployment rate, with stock and real estate values on the rise as consumer confidence and corporate profits all at stood at solid levels.
Trump has faced a self-inflicted onslaught of revelations surrounding the possible ties between himself, his political inner circle and Russian government officials — the latest coming late last week when media reports said that Kushner had attempted to create a secret line of communication with the Russian government that would be secured from possible interception by United States intelligence.
Kushner proposed the suspicious communication system during a meeting with Russia’s U.S. ambassador Sergey Kislyak during a secret meeting in Trump Tower, also attended by former General Mike Flynn — who later became Trump’s national security adviser, the one to be fired over his Russia ties — which Kushner omitted from his security clearance application before becoming an official senior adviser to Trump, according to the media reports which have not been denied by Kushner or the White House.
The Russia scandal on Tuesday reached Trump’s own personal attorney, Michael Cohen, who received a request from congressional investigators probing the Trump-Russia connections — and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian intelligence operation to tamper with the 2016 presidential election to help elect Trump.
But Cohen refused to cooperate with the Russia investigation, raising further suspicions about what Trump and his inner circle may have to hide about the Russian election hacking operation or other possible Russia ties.
However, the Russia scandal revelations appear to have had little effect on Trump’s approval rating one way or the other. According to the Huffington Post Pollster.com polling average, Trump’s approval rating across all polls stood at 41.3 percent as of May 29, up from a low of 38 percent on May 18.
Cause for concern remains for Trump in the poll numbers, however. In addition to the overall low approval ratings, there are signs that Trump’s once-reliable “base” of devoted supporters may be drifting away from him. On Tuesday, the historically Trump-friendly Rasmussen Reports poll showed Trump at a dismal 44 percent approval, after the same poll saw him climbing to 48 percent just five days earlier.
According to polling expert Nate Silver, founder of FiveThirtyEight.com, Trump is also suffering an “enthusiasm gap” with his core voters, as the number of Americans who say that they “strongly” approve of Trump — that is, those voters most devoted to him — dropped from 30 percent in February to just 21 percent in polls taken this month, meaning that Trump has lost more than one-third of his strongest support in that time span.
[Featured Image by Pool/Getty Images]