Trump Hits 46 Percent Approval, Record High in Gallup Poll

May 7, 2019 Updated: May 7, 2019

A record high percentage of Americans approve of the job Donald Trump is doing as president, according to polling by Gallup.

The approval rating hit 46 percent in the April 17–April 30 poll, coinciding with the release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report, which established that the 2016 Trump campaign did not collude with Russia to influence the election.

The report contrasted with the incessant coverage in legacy media that was largely supportive of the collusion narrative and, at times, false. The public response to the news appears to be reflected in the poll.

Trump’s predecessor, Barack Obama, had an approval rating of 43 percent to 44 percent at the same point of his first term in the Gallup poll.

Trump’s previous highs in the poll hit 45 percent in March, as Attorney General William Barr released a summary of the Mueller report; in June 2018, after Trump’s historic meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and, in January 2017, just after his inauguration.

Despite the record number, Trump’s approval continues to split sharply along party lines, with 91 percent of Republicans approving, just a point below the record high around November 2018. Only 12 percent of Democrats agreed, which actually tied for the record high approval Trump reached among Democrats around April 2017 and was a jump from the mere 4 percent around March. Among independents, the approval reached 37 percent, below the record 42 percent around November.

Several other polls recently also hit 46 percent, including The Hill/HarrisX, NBC News/The Wall Street Journal, and Harvard-Harris (pdf). Other pollsters reported lower numbers, including Reuters/Ipsos at 39 percent, Economist/YouGov at 42 percent (pdf), Politico/Morning Consult at 42 percent (pdf), and Quinnipiac at 41 percent.

The poll most favorable to Trump is Rasmussen, which only polls likely voters and is generally more favorable to Republicans. It was, however, also the one that most accurately predicted Trump’s 2016 victory. The latest Rasmussen poll of May 2-6 had Trump approval at 49 percent.

Economy

Trump’s approval has generally been the highest on his handling of the economy. The latest Harvard-Harris poll has him at 60 percent among registered voters, which is a group a bit more favorable to Republicans.

The economy grew at a 3.2 percent annualized rate in the first quarter, beating expectations, followed by the unemployment drop to 3.6 percent in April—the lowest since 1969.

Hispanic unemployment broke another record low, 4.2 percent, in April, while the economy added 263,000 jobs beating predictions by nearly 80,000.

“We can all agree that AMERICA is now #1. We are the ENVY of the WORLD—and the best is yet to come!” Trump wrote on Twitter on May 3.

While a more robust economic expansion started already around 2014, there are indicators that Trump’s cutting taxes and regulations accelerated the growth.

More than 4.4 million Americans have stopped using food stamps in the first 25 months since Trump took office (pdf), compared with a less than 3.5 million drop during the previous 25 months under Obama.

Small business optimism shot up on Trump’s election and broke record highs in 2018, reported the National Federation of Independent Business, which creates the optimism index based on surveys of its members (pdf).

Despite that, Trump has faced overwhelmingly negative coverage in the legacy media. Of statements marked positive or negative, 90 percent were negative in the Trump coverage on the ABC, CBS, and NBC evening newscasts, according to the Media Research Center (MRC), a right-leaning media watchdog.

“To determine the spin of news coverage, our analysts tallied all explicitly evaluative statements about the President or his administration from either reporters, anchors, or non-partisan sources such as experts or voters. Evaluations from partisan sources, as well as neutral statements, were not included,” MRC said.

“As has been the case since the President took office, the tone of network coverage has been exceptionally hostile, ranging from 82% negative in April 2017 (after Trump was praised for a missile strike punishing Syria for a chemical weapons attack) to 96% negative in February 2018 (when the news agenda focused on the Russia investigation, demands for gun control, and a White House aide accused of domestic abuse).”

Update: The article has been updated with additional information from the Media Research Center and Rasmussen.

Follow Petr on Twitter: @petrsvab
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