The Great Erosion

Nixon left office with a 24% job approval rating.  I’ve often wondered what sort of people would still support a President after his spectacular abuses of power were revealed.  Based on recent analysis by FiveThirtyEight, I now have a better understanding.

Nate Silver makes a good argument that Trump has already lost significant support among those who voted for him, and that may only be the beginning.

His analysis tracks the changes in the “strongly approve” portion of those supporting Trump’s job performance.

While Trump continues to enjoy strong approval among those who self-identify as Republicans, the nature of that support has changed.  Those who “strongly approve” has eroded from a high of 30% to current levels of 22%.  In addition, those who “strongly disapprove” outnumber those who “strongly approve” by a 2-1 margin.

The cause of this erosion in base is the first failure to pass healthcare reform followed by an even worse bill that added removing protections to those with pre-existing conditions to a bill that will reduce the rolls of the insured by 23M.

What’s important about this erosion is that it is entirely in line with what NBC polls predicted several months earlier.  They identified a “floor” of approval for Trump at 22%.  The rest of his support was conditional on accomplishments.

The erosion reflects approximately 8% of those who were previous strong supporters, now becoming “somewhat approve”.  But the “somewhat approve” and “somewhat disapprove” numbers have been fairly constant.  The “strongly disapprove” number spiked with the release of the travel ban and has stayed high.  So where did the 8% where were strong approvers ultimately go?

What appears to be happening is that the erosion is in the segment of Trump voters who were reluctant supporters to begin with.  It is those voters that are making the slow journey through the stages of grief from “somewhat approve” to “strongly disapprove”.

The result is that the 22% of voters who supported Trump during the primaries, continue to stick with him.  Everyone else is up for grabs.

That’s why the midterms are going to be an interesting test.

We’ll find out how many of these “reluctant supporters” are going to be willing to vote if their choice is between a candidate who represents a President who has disappointed them and a party that they don’t identify with.  What may make that vote easier for some are those House Republicans who will be defending their vote for a healthcare bill that most of these “reluctant supporters” did not support.

We’ll also find out if Democrats are going to be able going to turn out across the country in the numbers that we’ve seen in the couple of special elections.

If so, Trump may be in trouble because 23 of the seats won by Republicans in 2016 were in districts that Clinton won.  The Democrats only need 24 seats to reclaim a majority.  The special elections in Kansas, Montana, and (soon) Georgia are all much closer than anyone would have predicted.  The result is that ALL of those seats will be in play for the Democrats in 2016 too.

In any normal electoral cycle, gaining 24 seats would be a heavy lift but recent history (Republicans gained 63 seats in 2010) certainly indicates what’s possible when some parts of the electorate are unhappy.  And there are A LOT of people who are unhappy.

Here are some of the reasons why.

The House passed a healthcare reform bill, with Trump’s help, that only 17% of voters supported. His threats to undermine the existing ACA have caused BCBS of NC to request approval of a 22% rate increase.  His budget proposal eviscerates pretty much every discretionary dollar not spent on defense in order to fund a huge tax cut for the wealthy.  Trump’s executive immigration order has been struck down twice by the courts.  We’ll see how his court nominee affects that vote when it gets to the SCOTUS.  The investigations into obstruction of the Russian investigation will continue to produce bad news over the next 18 months.  Trump is considering pulling out of the Paris Accord which is supported by 70% of the public.  North Korea will continue to improve their missiles that could reach the west coast within a year.  Trump trusts China to help with North Korea, but China has their own agenda.  Russia and Syria will continue to deteriorate.  Nothing of substance is going to pass Congress because those who are up for reelection in 2018 won’t want to take any more hard votes.  And Trump will continue to be Trump.

He has no one to blame but himself.

7 Responses to “The Great Erosion”

  1. Keith says:

    Forget all that. This is why Trump won. Because SHE ran against him!!!

    Hillary Clinton: ‘I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that’s not why I lost’ – CNBC
    https://apple.news/A9aBOUqL9RfOUEMjgvqqjyA

    Look at Obamas approval during his first term. Then look at them just before the election in ’12, then look at them after. Approval and who you vote for sometimes are not related. I watched the president of Brazil, Dilma, have a approvals under 20 then election time she won then her numbers immediately fall. Fickle things those polls and the electorate. Take noting I’ve just said as a defense of Trump. I wish somethings were going better. However given the choice Hillary or Trump, the answer is still Trump.

  2. Jeff Beamsley says:

    Forget all that. This is why Trump won. Because SHE ran against him!!!

    Hillary Clinton: ‘I take responsibility for every decision I made, but that’s not why I lost’ – CNBC
    https://apple.news/A9aBOUqL9RfOUEMjgvqqjyA

    You miss the point completely.

    Neither Clinton or Trump will be running for office in 2018.

    Look at Obamas approval during his first term. Then look at them just before the election in ’12, then look at them after. Approval and who you vote for sometimes are not related. I watched the president of Brazil, Dilma, have a approvals under 20 then election time she won then her numbers immediately fall. Fickle things those polls and the electorate. Take noting I’ve just said as a defense of Trump. I wish somethings were going better. However given the choice Hillary or Trump, the answer is still Trump.

    We are all speculating at this point but there are interesting data points.

    Democratic turnout for the special elections has been MUCH higher than anticipated. Trump won the Pompeo Kansas district by 27%. Pompeo’s replacement won it by only 7% over the Democrat. That included 1.7% who voted for the Libertarian candidate. That was in April. Where did those additional Democratic votes come from? They had to come from Trump voters who have since changed their mind about Trump. Not surprising because that vote was AFTER the first healthcare bill failed. This election is going to get rerun in 2018 where the stakes if anything are going to be higher.

    The Montana vote was also much closer than anticipated and may have turned out differently since many voted before the reporter was assaulted by the candidate. Trump won that district by 20%. Gilforte won it by 6% with 6% going to the libertarian candidate. Where did the Democrat get all of those votes? They had to come from Trump voters. This race will get rerun in 2018 also.

    Here are the facts.

    History says that no President has retained control of both the House and Senate in a midterm election where their approval ratings where in the low to mid 30’s. Trump isn’t there yet, but he is close.

    No president in modern history was elected with a lower percentage of the popular vote. The result is that Trump has a very narrow base of support, which has eroded by about 30% since taking office.

    So the real question is, will those voters who have lost faith in Trump since his election still support Republicans in 2018? The data we have so far says NO.

    The rest of the question is, what can Trump do between now and Nov. 2018 to change this calculus? I don’t see that he has much flexibility or interest to change anything.

    BTW, Doesn’t matter whether you would still choose Trump if the election were rerun. It won’t be rerun. The election that will happen in 2018 may turn the House back to the Democrats. If that happens, the biggest barrier between Trump and a bill of impeachment will be removed.

  3. Keith says:

    In election blame game, it’s time for Hillary Clinton to take her share – CNN
    https://apple.news/AQDt67fgsT3q2l61E0CltHA

    Does she understand what she’s doing?

    What if the tape of Trump talking about women hadn’t been made public?
    What if what if what if!!!!!

    I now find her approaching laughable.

  4. Keith says:

    YS)Trump won the Pompeo Kansas district by 27%. Pompeo’s replacement won it by only 7% over the Democrat. That included 1.7% who voted for the Libertarian candidate. That was in April. Where did those additional Democratic votes come from? They had to come from Trump voters who have since changed their mind about Trump.

    MR) Your narrative is getting I. The way of critical thinking. maybe they weren’t vote FOR Trump but Against Hillary!!!! You really don’t have a clue just how repulsive she is to so many do you. That’s an honest question Jeff.

  5. Jeff Beamsley says:

    In election blame game, it’s time for Hillary Clinton to take her share – CNN
    https://apple.news/AQDt67fgsT3q2l61E0CltHA

    Does she understand what she’s doing?

    What if the tape of Trump talking about women hadn’t been made public?
    What if what if what if!!!!!

    I now find her approaching laughable.

    Your obsession with HRC is interesting.

    SEE LOST.

    GET OVER IT.

    She is a private citizen. She can say or do whatever she wants. She is NEVER running for public office again. Instead she is going to publish a book, make lots of money giving speeches, and ultimately be able to say I Told You So, when the Trump administration crashes and burns.

    She will become the next Al Gore. Partisans will continue to speculate what might have been, but generally she will find a comfortable place advocating for issues that she cares about. History will regard her as a polarizing figure who lost a very close and controversial election. She will ultimately be celebrated when we eventually elect a woman president. Those who voted against Gore and Clinton will not change their opinions.

    The one thing she HAS done is connect the dots between the Trump campaign and the Russian hacking activity. She CLAIMS that the Russian social media assault on her campaign would not have been as effective as it was if it didn’t have access to voter analytical data. That’s the connection that previously was missing. If there is evidence that people in the Trump campaign or the Mercers who were providing analytical support to the Trump campaign supplied voter data to the Russians, then you have both motive and means. You also have the prospect of people going to jail. As soon as you have the prospect of people going to jail, investigators have something to trade for testimony.

    At the moment, this is nothing more than a conspiracy theory.

    We’ll see what the investigations turn up.

  6. Jeff Beamsley says:

    MR) Your narrative is getting I. The way of critical thinking. maybe they weren’t vote FOR Trump but Against Hillary!!!! You really don’t have a clue just how repulsive she is to so many do you. That’s an honest question Jeff.

    Not at all. I agree with you completely. What you have stated IS my narrative. The “reluctant supporters” of Trump no longer have the issue of Clinton. They only have the reality of Trump. As Trump’s actions peel away these people, the IMPORTANT question is how will they vote in the next election? Trump won’t be on the ballot, but his policies will. Clinton won’t be on the ballot either, but neither will her policies. Instead voters are going to choose whether to send a conservative House Republican who supports Trump AND voted for Trump’s healthcare reform bill back to Congress OR vote for a conservative young Democrat who opposes Trump’s policies including the healthcare reform bill.

    My bet is that voters will take away Trump’s majority in the House because they are afraid of him. I don’t know whether that fear will be sufficient to drive a majority in the Senate because that is a heavier lift. There are also still a lot of land mines left for Trump to step on between now and November, 2018 including failure to rein in North Korea, a down turn in the economy, significant increases in healthcare premiums because of Trump’s failure to fund the CRS program, his healthcare plan that removes protections for those with pre-existing conditions and slashes Medicaid, his budget the takes money away from everyone, continued fall out from the investigations, and of course Trump himself.

    So for now, we continue to pay attention to the job approval numbers and the obstruction of justice investigations.

    The pressure is ratcheting up on Trump. It will be interesting to see how he responds.

    BTW, it appears that Sessions may also be in trouble for additional meetings with Russians that he didn’t disclose in his confirmation hearings.

  7. keith says:

    YS) I agree with you completely. What you have stated IS my narrative. The “reluctant supporters” of Trump no longer have the issue of Clinton. They only have the reality of Trump. As Trump’s actions peel away these people, the IMPORTANT question is how will they vote in the next election?

    MR) Ok we are on the same page. Adding to that all the African Americans who simply didn’t show up.

    Am not obsessed with Hillary. Just pointing out who she is and she is doing it publicly!!! Even libs are starting to comment.

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