As of November 13th, somewhere around 38% of American have a favorable opinion of Donald Trump, and around 56% have an unfavorable opinion of him. Right now, Trump is less popular than any past president at this point in their term. The possible exception is Gerald Ford, who had just pardoned Nixon. In fact, it's good to keep in mind that, on the day he resigned in disgrace, Nixon's approval rating was still 24%. Partisanship - as they say - is a helluva drug.
But given that Trump's presidency has been a long sequence of scandals, FBI investigations, offensive tweets, bone-headed gaffs, staff turnover, and legislative failures, we might still wonder why he's not even less popular. After all Trump has done (and failed to do!) how can 40% of Americans still approve of what he's doing?
Well, aside from partisanship, a big part of Trump's continued "popularity" is the fact that - as of early November, 2017 - the US economy is doing pretty well. Now, the economy may not feel all that great to all of us, but the US unemployment rate is only 4%, and the stock market is breaking records:
So even though Trump has done a lot of dumb or evil things, many Americans who supported him are still willing to give him the benefit of the doubt as long as the economy keeps doing well.Tomorrow is anniv of POTUS’s election. Stocks are up 21% since, in one of the best “year-one” rallies ever:— Carl Quintanilla (@carlquintanilla) November 7, 2017
(via @GoldmanSachs) @cnbc pic.twitter.com/bGo0wI10jy
In other words, if the economy were to take a sudden dive - and it very well might - we'd expect Trump to become even more unpopular than he is.
In US politics we have tended to support the current President when the economy is doing well, and attack him when the economy goes south. This is a really important thing to understand But it's also important to understand that it's kind of dumb.