President Trump has a habit of cherry-picking poll results.
At a recent public appearance, Trump cited a Rasmussen poll that showed his job approval rating well above 50 percent. (Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll has Trump at 51 percent approval today.) Of course, the vast majority of polling suggests Trump is among the least popular presidents ever at this early stage of his term. Trump didn’t mention that part.
But, in a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll, there’s an actual piece of good news for Trump that suggests for all the stumbles and bumbles in his first month in office, his fundamental message of change continues to appeal to a good-sized chunk of the population.
Almost 8 in 10 (77 percent) respondents said that Trump would bring about real change with 40 percent saying that it was “very” likely he would do so. That is, broadly speaking, a good thing for Trump considering how much people dislike Washington and politics more broadly.
But the real good news comes when people are asked what sort of change Trump will bring. This slide, from Public Opinion Strategies’s principal Bill McInturff, tells that story.
A near-majority of the country believes that Trump will bring the right kind of change while just 23 percent say he will bring about the wrong sort of change. And while Trump’s sky-high numbers among Republicans — 89 percent say he’s bringing the right kind of change — aren’t terribly surprising, the fact that independents are also much more willing to say he will bring the right change rather than the wrong type has to be encouraging for the Trump forces.
There’s more good news on that question as you dig into the subgroups. Women believe Trump will bring the right kind of change by an 18-point margin. More than 6 in 10 whites without college degrees say Trump represents the right sort of change. A majority (52 percent) of middle class respondents say the same.
What these numbers tell you is that, for all of the negative noise about Trump coming out of Washington, the big takeaway for many people is that he promised change as a candidate and is working to bring about change as president. Everything else, at least at this point, seems to be so much background noise.
The data also makes clear just how closely Trump’s chances at succeeding as president and/or winning a second term are tied to the idea that he is actually changing things. We are only a month into his presidency. But what happens after a year if Obamacare is still not repealed and replaced? Or the travel ban remains in legal limbo? Or the construction of the wall on our southern border doesn’t proceed at a brisk pace?
Any one of those issues could derail Trump as the change agent. And if he loses that status, he’s in big trouble.
That said, Trump has the change mantle right now. And that’s a very good piece of news for him.