News & Politics

Trump's Approval Rating Beats Obama's at Same Point in His Presidency, Despite Impeachment

U.S President Donald Trump smiles during a news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019, where they announced that the U.S. and Japan have agreed in principle on a new trade agreement. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

According to Gallup polling, Donald Trump has spent his entire presidency underwater. While he’s never made it to the 50 percent approval mark in that poll, he is now the closest he’s ever been to it, and Chris Cillizza of CNN is in a state of shock. Especially considering who Trump is outperforming. “Trump’s current 49% approval puts him ahead of where his predecessor — Barack Obama — was at this same time in his first term,” explained Cillizza. At the same point in his presidency, Obama was at 46 percent, “Which is absolutely remarkable, given the first 3+ years of Trump’s presidency and the fact that he became just the third president in American history to be impeached by the House last month.”

As shocked at Cillizza is, even he can’t deny the reason Trump’s poll numbers have improved.

The Democratic-led impeachment effort likely contributed to Trump’s strengthening numbers. You see it most clearly in the fact that 94% of self-identified Republicans in the poll said they approve of the job Trump is doing — up 6 points from those who said the same thing in Gallup’s poll last month. And that 94% approval is Trump’s highest rating — by 3 points — ever among Republicans.

Cillizza concedes that Republicans have effectively branded the impeachment proceedings “as a purely partisan effort led by Democrats who just can’t accept that Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.” Which, of course, they are. It’s not just Republicans who see impeachment for what it is, Independents do too. “But it’s not just among Republicans where Trump’s numbers have improved. His approval among independents in this latest Gallup poll is 42% — up 5 points from where he was among this group in January and tied for his highest mark ever among unaffiliateds,” the poll found. Though Cillizza suggests a different reason for their approval.

Combine Republicans rallying even more closely to Trump during impeachment and independents started to come around on Trump due to the perceived strength of the economy and you see how Trump has reached new polling heights. And while these numbers obviously don’t factor in the utter mess of the Iowa caucuses that played out on national TV Monday night, it’s hard not see how that chaos doesn’t help Trump too.

Trump also will have the best possible platform for touting his accomplishments on Tuesday night: the State of the Union address. His acquittal in the Senate is then expected the next day. All in all, things are looking really good for Trump right now. When an impeached Trump does better than Obama at the same point in his presidency, that speaks volumes.

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Matt Margolis is the author of Trumping Obama: How President Trump Saved Us From Barack Obama’s Legacy and the bestselling book The Worst President in History: The Legacy of Barack Obama. You can follow Matt on Twitter @MattMargolis