Donald Trump’s approval ratings will never be as low as they should be, but last month they slumped to some of their lowest levels just as House Democrats kicked into gear in earnest.
Morning Consult’s Trump Tracker, which tracks voters in all 50 states, found Trump logged “the worst monthly net rating of his presidency” in January as he pressed forward on his historically long, deeply unpopular shutdown over his also unpopular border wall. Specifically, a record low 40 percent of voters approved of Trump, while a record high 55 percent disapproved of him, putting him at 15-point net negative. (Trump’s best numbers came from Wyoming and West Virginia, while his worst ratings were in the District of Columbia and Vermont.)
None of this sounds as calamitous as one might hope, but timing is everything, and Trump is entering a particularly precarious moment in his presidency at his most vulnerable. It’s true that his approvals are starting to inch back up from one of his lowest points in months, 39.3 percent approval, in FiveThirtyEight’s aggregate. But next week, he’ll get a chance to depress his numbers all over again as a short-term government funding measure expires.
Trump has set himself up for failure there. He’s insisted that he must get wall funding, doubled down on the notion that it must be something he can sell as an actual wall, and if/when he doesn’t get that money, he’ll be left with no other option but to declare a national emergency—which is crazy unpopular, according to a recent Washington Post/ABC poll.
By more than 2-1 (66 percent to 31 percent), Americans say they oppose invoking an emergency to build a border wall. The poll finds 51 percent say they strongly oppose such a declaration. However, two-thirds of Republicans would support the president’s decision to use those powers.
Frankly, getting 66 percent support from his own party isn’t good by any measure when he basically loses everyone else.
Bottom line, Trump’s been on losing trajectory, and next week he’ll have an opportunity to make that losing trajectory even worse. In the meantime, House Democrats on the Judiciary, Oversight, and Intelligence panels are getting to work.