I know that everyone is going to see the headline of the latest Zogby Analytics poll of President Trump’s approval ratings and think “outlier.” And perhaps that will prove to be the case, but their numbers still definitely have a lot of good news for the Trump administration and their background hints that this could be real. First, let’s get to the toplines. They’ve got the President above water at 51/48, largely based on confidence in the economy among likely voters.
A new Zogby Poll® of 852 likely voters nationwide in the U.S., conducted from 5/2/19-5/9/19, with a margin of sampling error of +/-3.4 percentage points, shows President Trump’s job approval rating at its best since we’ve been tracking the figure. Currently, he stands at 51% approve/48% disapprove, while 2% are not sure.
President Trump’s job approval rating has seen a post Mueller report boost! We called it a few weeks ago. But that’s not the complete story as to why the president has reached a peak in his job approval rating. Trump is also riding high on positive economic news-a record high stock market, low unemployment, and solid GDP growth at home. At the moment President Trump’s approval rating is higher than Obama’s at the same point in his presidency-Zogby Analytics had President Obama at 48% approve/52% disapprove on 05/09/2011.
From the crosstabs, Zogby has Trump seeing modest gains in all demographics except for suburban women. On the question of who voters trust more to grow the economy, Trump was chosen over congressional Democrats 46/42.
So let’s get back to the question of whether or not this could be real. After all, the Real Clear Politics average has him right around 45/52 and the last Emerson poll only has him at 43. Also worth noting is the fact that FiveThirtyEight awards Zogby a grade of C with a slight (R +0.9) GOP tilt. So there’s all that to consider. But a little digging might put this in a different light.
First of all, this isn’t a case where we’re seeing an odd number coming from an outfit like Rasmussen. They always grade Trump multiple points above nearly every other reputable outlet. That’s not the case with Zogby. Take a look at their history of Trump approval surveys over the course of his presidency. As recently as February they had him at 44/53 and in January he was only at 41. That’s actually even with or even below where most of the rest of the pollsters had him at the time. (The exception was Morning Consult who had him at 40, but that’s still only a one point difference.)
The highest Trump ever scored with Zogby in 2018 was 48%, coming at the beginning of March. That one did seem like a bit of an outlier, though, since everyone else had him in the low forties, though Reuters did put him at 44 at the same time. The point is, if Zogby is ringing up a 51 right now, they don’t have a history of painting rosier than expected pictures of the President.
We’ll need to give this one a while to gell and see what the rest of the major outfits are saying in the next week or two. As I said, it’s still possible that Zogby dropped a clunker here and it will be averaged out pretty quickly. But if Trump is seeing a boost, either because of the economy or his tariff wars with China, these are the sorts of numbers he’ll need to carry into 2020 if he wants to stick around for two terms.