Peggy Noonan: Trump, Like Obama, Appeals Primarily to Emotion — That’s a Troubling Political Trend (Here Comes Beto)

Beto O'Rourke at a rally in Waco, Texas, Oct. 31. (PHOTO: LARRY W SMITH/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)
Beto O’Rourke at a rally in Waco, Texas, Oct. 31. (PHOTO: LARRY W SMITH/EPA-EFE/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Fox News’ year-end poll is interesting. Thirty-eight percent of respondents said they would vote today to re-elect President Trump, with 30% saying they definitely would. Thirty-nine percent say they expect him to be re-elected; 52% do not. At the same time, the president has a 46% job-approval rating, while 52% disapprove.

So the president’s approval numbers have been more or less steady, but not all those who approve of him are ready to vote for him again.

Possible reasons why are suggested deeper in the poll. The proportion who think the economy will be better a year from now has fallen 11 points since two years ago, to 45%—the most pessimistic outlook in Fox’s poll since January 2001. Fifty-one percent say the economy is either fair or poor; 47% see it as excellent or good.

Equally interesting, respondents approve of Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation by 56% to 37%—a 19-point margin. Forty-eight percent say they believe the Trump campaign coordinated with the government of Russia in 2016, while 37% see no coordination. Four in 10 expect Mueller will find evidence of crimes, while just over half of those polled do not think they will be impeachable offenses.

In a way the president’s position is solid—his support is not melting down after the midterms and his party’s loss of the House—and in a way not solid at all. He’s not expanding his base. Voters who approve of his leadership give themselves plenty of wiggle room in terms of support, showing skepticism about the economy and open-mindedness on the Mueller probe.

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SOURCE: The Wall Street Journal

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