Polls have difficult time tracking Trump's popularity

Washington Times:
President Trump hit the campaign trail Tuesday riding high with his best poll numbers since his inauguration — or maybe not.

His approval ratings range from the high 30s to the mid-40s, so the true measure of Mr. Trump’s support is anybody’s guess.

Mr. Trump scored his all-time high of 45 percent approval in a recent Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, but his numbers fell in other surveys. A Quinnipiac University poll showed his 38 percent approval rating was down 5 points from June.

The president, whose supporters famously defied polls and pundits in 2016, continues to be a nightmare for pollsters. Once again, he is confounding anyone trying to gauge whether he will be a boon or a bust for Republicans in this year’s congressional elections.

The Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll Tuesday gave him a 46 percent approval rating, back where it was a week ago amid fierce criticism of Mr. Trump’s kid-glove treatment of Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting in Helsinki.

Gallup pegged Mr. Trump’s approval at 42 percent in a polling average for the week of July 16-22, a 1 percent decrease from the previous week.

Predictions are difficult with Mr. Trump because the usual rules of politics don’t apply, said Vanderbilt University professor Marc J. Hetherington, who specializes in party polarization and voter behavior.

“On the one hand, the constant scandals capped by his performance in Helsinki might have ended other presidencies. On the other, the kind of success that the economy has enjoyed under his presidency would ordinarily produce approval ratings much higher than he has. The bottom line is that he’s the most polarizing president since we’ve had public opinion polls,” he said.

The professor added, “Unless something new and even more dramatic happens between now and November, it feels to me that the president is something of a wash in the midterm races.”

Others saw Mr. Trump tilting the scales toward Democrats in the same way his job performance ratings tilt toward disapproval.
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The open hostility of the media and Democrats their supporters may make some Trump supporters reluctant to express their favorable opinion of him.  When peopel wearing Make America Great Again caps are attacked, harassed and denied service that probably has the effect of making people reluctant to express their approval.   Still, I think the media and Democrats are shocked at how ineffective their hysterical attacks against the President have been.  I think another reason for these numbers is the unpopularity of Democrats and their policies.  There is a significant portion of the electorate who have become Never-Democrat voters.

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