According to a new CNN poll, the Trump presidency has reached its highest approval numbers since the end of its first 100 days. This poll comes amidst allegations of salacious affairs with adult film actress Stormy Daniels and Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal, both of which the president has denied.
The poll found that 42 percent of Americans approve of how Trump is handling the presidency, while 54 percent of Americans disapprove. The poll reports that President Trump’s approval ratings went up with both Republicans and independents. In February, 80 percent of Republicans supported the president — this number as now changed to 86 percent. Similarly, independent support for President Trump saw an uptick from 35 percent to 41 percent. While these numbers show that President Trump is still below his predecessors at this time, he is only trailing Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama by about 4 points.
Despite the fact that the nation’s support for the Trump presidency is at an all-time high, President Trump continues to deal with the fallout from scandals regarding his alleged affairs with various women. The poll reports that the 63 percent of the public believes the women who allege that they have had affairs with Donald Trump, while only 21 percent believe the president’s denials of these controversial trysts. Additionally, about 51 percent of those polled believe that these women are suing the president primarily to be free from the non-disclosure agreements that they signed.
There are gender and party disparities which indicate who is more likely to believe the women alleging these affairs. Seventy percent of women tend to believe the affairs occurred, compared to just 54 percent of men. When the statistics are divided into party lines, however, things change. The poll found that only 45 percent of Republican women believed the affair allegations compared to just 25 percent of Republican men.
This party divide was highlighted yesterday when CNN’s Randi Kaye sat down with women who voted for Trump after they watched Anderson Cooper’s 60 Minutes interview with Stormy Daniels. By and large, the women believed the entire scandal to be a media plot to bring down President Trump.
Following that segment, Anderson Cooper asked his panel whether this would be damaging to the president politically. Many of the guests said that the legal implications of the non-disclosure agreements, such as possible campaign finance violations regarding the $130,000 paid to Stormy Daniels to keep her quiet, might actually be damaging to the president. However, when it comes to politics, most don’t see Republican voters turning away from the president because of these scandals. Kirsten Powers, a columnist for USA Today, noted that people who support Trump are “determined not to say bad things about him.”
“No, I actually don’t. I think precisely because of what we just saw. I mean this is — its not either they’re going to decide that they don’t think that it happened as we saw what happened with the ‘Access Hollywood’ tape, or they’re going to just say they don’t care, that it doesn’t matter. That, you know, it’s between him and his wife.”
Interestingly, President’s Trump’s approval ratings for handling major issues are not very positive. While about half of Americans (48 percent) approve of how the president is handling the economy, only 39 percent approved of how Trump handled foreign trade, including the enactment of steel and aluminum tariffs. Moreover, 47 percent believe that the president has not been hard enough on Russia, while 41 percent believe that he has handled Russia appropriately.
And while some may see this recent uptick as a cause for celebration, critics warn that the Trump White House might face some challenges in the future. Former President Obama had a slightly higher approval rating than Trump when going into the midterm elections and wound up losing 60 House seats and half a dozen Senate seats, the Washington Times reports. So while this is certainly good news for the GOP, a sustained effort to maintain this momentum will be key in surviving the dreaded midterm elections.