President Trump's Poll Numbers Improve. But Will His Chances Of Getting Re-Elected?

President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has recently improved despite ongoing controversies, according to several surveys released this week.

According to an NBC/WSJ poll published Monday, 46 percent of polled voters said they approved of Trump’s performance. That’s up three points since January, but within the margin of error for the poll. Soon after those results were released, RealClearPolitics found Trump’s average rating rose to 44 percent, the highest it’s been since Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh was sworn into office in October 2018.

These numbers appear to defy what seemed to be a turbulent week for the administration that included former Trump “fixer” and lawyer Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony, a falling out with the North Koreans over nuclear negotiations and the House Judiciary Committee launching an investigation that includes the administration’s response to the ongoing Mueller probe.

Though Trump’s approval ratings have never reached such highs as President George W. Bush enjoyed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, they’ve remained remarkably stable even during the recent government shutdown. His approval rating is worse than President Barack Obama’s but better than President Bill Clinton’s at the same time in their presidencies, according to NBC/WSJ data. Both were re-elected.

Political analyst and Republican strategist Ford O’Connell told Sinclair Broadcast Group that the biggest predictor for who wins elections is the economy and unemployment, which is where he said President Trump generally polls strongest. That’s not to say that the ongoing Russia probe shouldn’t be a worry for Trump, rather he believes it’s not going to be the factor that swings the election.

“If he’s going to win re-election it’s going to be based on the economy,” said O’Connell, who argued President Trump’s already at an advantage because he is an incumbent president. He also pointed out that President Clinton was re-elected despite multiple controversies, and argued calls for Trumps’ impeachment could similarly backfire as voters tend to see such motions as an attempt to undermine the will of the people.

However, O’Connell predicted that the 2020 election will be incredibly tight, based on current forecasts.

“Trump has to win Florida and Arizona, then pick off one of the other industrial Midwest states,” said O’Connell, pointing to Pennsylvania, Michigan or Wisconsin- states the president won the last time around. “If he does that, he wins. If the Democrats do that, they win.”

Read more from Mariana Barillas at ABC 33/30 News

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Analysis & Political Strategy