President Trump’s approval rating heading into the 2018 midterm elections has jumped to 47 percent, a higher approval rating than President Obama had prior to the 2010 midterms, according to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll. President Obama had just a 45 percent approval rating two years into his first term, and the Democrats suffered heavy losses that swung Congressional power into Republican hands.
The 47 percent approval rating marks the highest level that President Trump has reached in the poll. Despite being a historically unpopular president among the general U.S. population, President Trump continues to post strong approval ratings among Republicans. He is currently closing in on a 90 percent approval rating among Republican voters, again one of the highest approval ratings of his tenure.
Riding a wave of economic growth and projecting a hard-line stance on a number of Republican platform issues, President Trump has seen his popularity steadily increase over the past month. The confirmation victory for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and a recent campaign blitz ahead of the election has energized the Republican base and allowed President Trump to bridge some of the gaps between him and his detractors.
Many observers consider the midterm elections to be a referendum on the current president, and the 2018 midterms promise to be a brutally contested election. According to The Hill, several Democratic senators are seeking to retain their seats in states that President Trump won by double digits in the 2016 election. Conversely, Republican congressional seats remain vulnerable to President Trump’s overall high rate of disapproval, particularly among minority voting groups that include women, young voters, and Latinos. Both parties have enjoyed greater mobilization of their voter base, with 72 percent of Democrats and 68 percent of Republicans polled saying they are very interested in the upcoming election.
Overall, the poll found that Democrats currently hold a nine-point lead over Republicans in their bid to assume control of Congress. Half of the respondents told the pollsters that they wanted Congress to flip to the Democrats in 2018, while only 41 percent said they wanted the Republicans to remain in control.
“Midterms are all about mobilization, and we are headed into the stretch run with unprecedented enthusiasm among both parties,” Democratic pollster Fred Yang Yang told NBC. “The current data shows that the Democratic advantage has ebbed but still with a large advantage. And the GOP shows some life.”
The poll found that the top Republican advantage in the election is the performance of the economy, while the top Democratic advantage is voter approval on health care.