A leftover from late last week that’s worthy of some extra attention, if only to demonstrate the gulf separating the elite media from much of the country over the issue of impeachment. Interest is low, as a deeply-polarized and evidently-exhausted electorate remains torn over Democrats’ partisan maneuvering and the president’s conduct. The Bolton development we covered yesterday represents a dramatic curveball in DC, which may have an unpredictable impact on the trial and public opinion, but a fresh (pre-Bolton) national survey from the Washington Post and ABC News — a consistently Trump-unfriendly polling series — finds that as the president is on trial and facing removal from office, his job approval has bounced to equal its highest level ever:
President Trump’s approval rating has climbed to match the highest of his presidency, boosted by majority approval of his economic stewardship even as Americans remain deeply divided on whether the Senate should remove him from office, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll. The Post-ABC poll finds 44 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s overall job performance and 51 percent disapprove. While views of Trump remain negative, Trump’s approval rating is significantly improved from his 38 percent mark in late October.
Granted, those are not exactly glittering numbers for any politician (an “underwhelming” baseline writes Allahpundit in his summary of the data), let alone the White House incumbent with universal name recognition. With the economy humming along, he should theoretically be in a much stronger position. The news is a little better for Team Trump among likely voters, including the second nugget — which is simultaneously tantalizing and sobering:
Mid-impeachment trial, Trump approval rating hits all-time HIGH in WaPo/ABC poll (still a mediocre 47/50 w/ LVs).
His economic ? in same survey (58/36 | +22!) offers glimpse at how heavy a favorite he could be for re-election absent other baggage. https://t.co/kEEqzW01n8
Voters are noticing the economic results, and on the traditionally number one issue, Trump is garnering applause and credit. Yet, for various reasons, his overall approval rating is lagging 14 points behind the robust marks he’s receiving on the economy. On one hand, if Trump can tug voters in his direction by successfully arguing that turning over the keys to the opposition would harm the economy, he could conceivably win re-election relatively comfortably. On the other hand, it very much looks like a serious softening or downturn over the next nine months could prove fatal to his prospects. For what it’s worth, the survey shows Trump improving his standing against all leading Democrats. Of course, making the former case might be easier if he’s facing a socialist in the fall. Which brings us to some of the latest polling out of the Democratic primary, in which a ‘two man race’ dynamic is starting to emerge:
NEW: Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders are breaking away from the pack of candidates among Democrats nationwide, new @washingtonpost@ABC poll finds: