Trump’s Approval Rating At An All-Time High Among Republican Voters
In the New York Times this morning, Jeremy W. Peters wrote about polarization in modern American politics, and how the approval rating of the president is extremely high (1). In fact, it’s the highest it’s been since voters elected him back in 2016(2).
In the very beginning, Peters tells the story of Gina Anders, a woman doesn’t support Trump but finds herself defending him anyway, not out of a duty to contrarianism, but merely as a counter-reaction to the hysteria of his opponents.
To women such as Anders, the reaction to Trump is worse than the actual policies implemented. Anders explained that “all nuance and all complexity – and these are complex issues – are completely lost.”
“It makes me angry at them, which causes me to want to defend him to them even more.”
This is a common experience for individuals now, who feel as though the hysteria on the “left” – for lack of a better word – have totally misrepresented issues and blown things way out of proportion (3).
Because of the mischaracterization of Trump, people who despite the president often have a sense of self-righteousness, as if they are on the right side, allowing themselves to berate anyone who may agree with him on whatever issue.
The level of vitriol and condescending sneers toward someone who may entertain the president’s statements seems extreme.
Hostility Breeds Contempt
People crush old friendships due to a difference in politics, and a Trump supporter will defend him even more when backed into a corner.
There is something about the effect of shame. If someone is disagreeable by nature and has an opinion on a controversial topic, public humiliation of that person has unintended consequences.
In an interview with one of the pollsters, Peters writes that the resilience of Trump supporters only gets stronger when someone asks them how they could possibly support a man like Donald Trump.
Due to their unity, it’s possible Trump will retain control of the House of Representatives in November. Currently, Republican approval ratings for the president are around 90% (1).
According to the Gallup poll, the only other Republican president to be more popular than Trump was George W. Bush following the attacks on the 11th of September, 2001 (2).
During that moment in American history, Americans felt as if they had to go to work, and united in their hatred of the enemy. Some academics call this the “rally around the flag” effect (4).
Supporters – Including The College Educated – Say Their Lives Have Improved
As for Trump’s base, it isn’t just the working class without college degrees who support the president. Many college graduates and other highly-educated people support Trump, especially in swing regions like in Virginia’s Loudoun County.
Supporters of the president say their lives have improved remarkably under his administration, despite the endless streams of negative cable news coverage as well as the oversensationalized headlines.
Individuals who may be on the fence can see through this, and are inherently distrustful of the media’s coverage, mostly because, their own lives have improved.
Voters, in some cases, gather behind the president for the sake of fighting back against the opposing side. It’s almost as if Trump is a tool for sparring with the political “left” – so to speak.
However, when the journalist pressed them on the child separation policy, most weren’t pleased about the effects of the policy.
One of the women interviewed explained, “it bothers me that he doesn’t tell the truth,” but she would expect the same thing from the media as well. She expects a “slanted” or biased narrative.
Nevertheless, the political polarization in the country is so bad that the president is insulated from his critics’ attacks – attacks that would devastate another president.
Trump has done well in the sense that he has been completely impervious to innumerable crises and political mistakes.
At the beginning of his administration, he tried to bar people from several Muslim countries which angered many American allies and sparked clashes with members of Congress as well as the Supreme Court.
The Media Has Cried Wolf Too Many Times
What’s surprising, or maybe it isn’t at all, is that Trump’s recent immigration crisis has not had the same effect on his approval ratings as past transgressions.
Due to the Anti-Trump hysteria, many voters no longer have the patience to listen to Democrats and other “Never-Trumpers” complain about the president, using comparisons such as “he’s like Hitler,” and so on and so forth.
That sort of hysterical reaction to Trump’s policies and the things he has to say has led people to no longer care about Democrat and celebrity vitriol. Essentially, the media has cried wolf too many times, so the voters don’t care anymore.
Journalists and mainstream outlets have devalued terms, like “racism,” “sexism,” “homophobia,” and so on.
As I wrote earlier, the media’s hatred of the president is self-evident, and their dishonest misrepresentation of him for the sake of poisoning voter perception isn’t helping anybody.
It’s only alienating people.
On the migrant crisis, one woman said to the Times that “the parents shouldn’t have been here.” Others think that the media has purposefully mischaracterized things to make him look as bad as possible.
One example of that is the leaked records of FBI officials bad mouthing the president. Many of the instances of media bias, even though some might call them “isolated,” are validating for people whose beliefs are continually under the microscope.
Another issue is that no one in the media has spoken positively of anything Trump has done yet, including meeting with Kim Jung-un.
The inability to acknowledge anything positive he may or may not have done is causing his base to distrust mainstream publications.
If their own lives have improved, they likely won’t care about the headlines and will continue to support him.
Trump’s Approval Rating Has Increased
According to Gallup Daily, presidential approval of Trump has averaged around 87% in his second year, up from 83% last year. During the last two weeks, it jumped up to around 90% (2).
However, Donald Trump’s reputation among college-educated Republicans isn’t as good as other Republicans in the past. But he did manage to win considerable support among college-educated and affluent voters.
According to Pew Research, around 31% of Trump’s supporters are white men without a college degree, 66% are college graduates, women, or people who are people of color (1).
While his support with the Republicans is through the roof, the approval rating among Democrats is at its worst in comparison to any other president. It didn’t even reach 15% when he first took public office (1).
Generally, the opposing party often supports the president somewhat, so Trump’s presidency has been historical in that regard.
Interestingly, it appears Republican voters have rationalized some of Trump’s mistakes, through changing formerly held beliefs
For example, the data shows Republicans changed their minds toward the difference between private and public behavior (2).
In other words, seven out of ten Republicans argued that what a person does in their private life has nothing to do with how they run things in the public office (1).
Back in 2011, one out of three Republicans thought that an elected official who commits a transgression in private life could effectively work in the government (1).
This trend became more pronounced among Trump’s evangelical supporters. They went from being the least likely to support this idea to the most likely to support it (1).
Nevertheless, it’s interesting that the New York Times and other outlets have recognized what the problem is.
The truth is that the media has played a significant role in the election of Trump, through not delivering on their promises.
It’s their duty to report honestly on pertinent issues, not unequivocally hate someone to the point of derangement.
Mrs. Gina Anders from the beginning of the article explained, “it all coalesces around Trump. It’s either, ‘Trump wants to put people in cages, in concentration camps.’ Or, on the other side, ‘Oh, the left just wants everybody to come into the country illegally so they can get voters.'”
She added, “we can’t have a conversation” about these issues.