Donald Trump commands the approval of a greater percentage of Americans than Barack Obama did at this point in his presidency.
This, according to Rasmussen Reports, which pegs the president’s approval rating at 48 percent. Other pollsters say otherwise. A Quinnipiac survey gauges his support at 37 percent. Still others report his popularity somewhere in between that wide range.
Americans often ignore polls that do not reinforce their beliefs, devising a series of excuses for why respondents did not respond as they would. Nine times out of ten, this approach reveals the critic of the poll rather than the criticized pollster as an ignoramus. Donald Trump works as that one exception. Americans told pollsters that they planned to vote for Hillary Clinton over Trump. They did not.
Is Trump popular? Whether because some pollsters want a certain answer or some of the polled remain skittish about revealing their opinions, we don’t know with any analytic certainty, which, truth be told, rarely provides analytic certainty (it instead often provides the illusion of it to political control freaks wanting precise answers to questions that yield amorphous ones).
In the wake of a series of policy and public relations victories starting with the tax-cut triumph in December, Trump seems more popular than previous. But the president’s popularity and his previous true approval rating seem the stuff of guesswork.
We learned his true popularity in November of 2016. We wait until November of 2020 to glean a second glimpse of his actual approval rating.