Ever since Donald Trump declared the pride he would take in shutting down the government, a series of polls have come out showing his approval ratings slipping slowly but surely since the shutdown began. Gallup put him at 37 percent this week, down from 39 percent before Christmas and just two points away from his all-time low with the polling outfit, 35 percent.
Trump’s numbers in 538’s aggregate of approval ratings dipped just below 40 percent on Thursday for the first time since last fall. As 538’s Nate Silver noted, Trump has been losing about half a point per week since the shutdown began. NPR found that some of that erosion is coming directly from Trump’s staunchest supporters: suburban men, evangelicals, and even some white men without a college education.
In polling released Friday, Pew Research put Trump’s approval rating at 37 percent, noting that as he enters his third year in office his support lags well behind most of his presidential predecessors. Only Ronald Reagan entered his third year at 37 percent approval, everyone else was in the mid-40s or higher. But Reagan’s disapproval rating was still five points lower than Trump’s—54 percent for Reagan vs. 59 percent for Trump.
The shutdown that Trump caused, bragged about, and is perpetuating is hurting him at a time when he needs all the support he can get to push back against the growing debate over impeachment that has finally begun on Capitol Hill and will soon spill into the broader public. If people had any sense that Trump was being a faithful steward of the government he is charged with overseeing, it would undoubtedly give him at least some insulation from that debate. Instead, Trump is proving just the opposite—he’s a menace to good governance even as he arguably faces one of the most precarious moments in his presidency.