Around here, it’s almost been like a college frat drinking game, “What’s Trump’s base”? For a political junkie, this game is so addictive that now most of our livers are about the same size as one of our lungs. On November 9th we thought it was 44%, then 42%, then 38%. Now, depending on the poll you look at, it seems to have stabilized at between 33-36%.
But what if we say “Screw all that”? Those are popularity or job approval polls, nothing but personality or perception questions. What if somebody took a poll where they asked a truly substantive question that dealt with something far beyond the glitz and personality nightmare that is Trump, and dealt with him on an omnipresent issue that almost every American knows about and has a pretty strong feeling about? Something that is evolving on a daily basis, and the result is not what is commonly referred to as “baked in”?
I think we now have that, and while the question doesn’t refer directly to Trump himself, I think it tells us exactly what his “base” number of truly committed, die hard, rock solid Trumpaholics is. The Washington Post just published yesterday the results of a WaPo-ABC News poll where the question was whether people approve of the way that Robert Mueller is conducting the Trump-Russia investigation, and the news is not good for His Lowness;
A 58 percent majority say they approve of Mueller’s handling of the investigation, while 28 percent say they disapprove, the Post-ABC poll finds. People’s views depend in large part on their political leanings, but overall, Americans are generally inclined to trust Mueller and the case he has made so far.
Meanwhile, fewer than 4 in 10 Americans say they believe Trump is cooperating with Mueller’s investigation, while about half believe he is not.
There is your true, walk-off-of-a-cliff-like-a-lemming Trump base, a measly 28%. This isn’t a “Aren’t Trump’s offensive Tweets cute” poll, this is substantive. You can tell that by the way that the FOX News bubble is on their hind legs trying to discredit Mueller and his investigation. So far, Sean Hannity’s Timothy-Leary-acid-trip logic seems to be falling on its stupid face.
Here’s why I think this is such a telling number. It seems almost inconceivable that after all of his fuck ups, Trump still has a support base in the low 80’s among Republican voters, but it appears he does. But in this poll, 38% of republicans say that they approve of the job that Mueller is doing. Let’s just say that right now Trump’s overall approval with GOP voters is 85%. 100-85=15. If you follow simple math, a 38% GOP approval for Mueller’s investigation means that while 85% of GOP voters like Trump and what he’s doing, 23% of them feel that Mueller’s investigation is important, and that he’s an honest broker. That would tend to lead one to believe that their support is reality based and conditional, if Mueller can tie Trump to collusive behavior, they’ll drop him like a chewing gum wrapper. Especially since 53% of respondents say that the Manafort, Gates, Papadopoulos indictments are just the tip of the iceberg, while 28% think they’re the only bad apples.
Catch the repetition there? Only 28% disapprove of or distrust the job that Robert Mueller III is doing in investigating this scandal, and exactly the same 28% of puddleheads think that if, if there was hanky panky with the Russians, it was only Papadopoulos, Manafort, and Gates, Trump himself was as innocent as that lamb Christ is holding in the pictures.
So, as far as I’m concerned, the real, rock headed and solid Trump base is 28%. And historically, there is a valid comparison here. 28% is close to the support base that Nixon had when he resigned in the midst of the Watergate scandal, I believe his was at about 26%. It may well also be a cause for serious calculating angst for GOP incumbents up for reelection in 2018. A Trump base of 28% is a whole lot lower than the base of 33-38% everybody has been using up until now. And if Mueller starts to tie Trump to the Russia collusion mast, and that 23% cops a sneaker on him, a 57% GOP popularity rating for an incumbent President is a whole lot scarier than the current 85% or so. Especially since so many GOP incumbents have swallowed their morals and common sense to continue to shill for him. Here there be tygers.
This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.