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The weekend polling suggests that Trump is losing voter support in the battle of “The Wall”

January 14th, 2019

Now he’s in negative territory amongst non-college whites

With the US government shutdown continuing and 800k federal workers not getting their salary cheques on Friday there’s no sign of an end to what is totally dominating US politics. Basically Trump has shut down large parts of the federal government to put pressure on the Democrats to provide funding for a wall along the whole of the Mexican-US border. This was a key Trump WH2016 campaign pledge when he said the Mexicans would pay. That, as you’d expect has not been forthcoming.

The polling suggests that Trump is losing the battle for public support. A Washington Post/ABC News poll on the government shutdown finds 53% saying Trump and the Republicans are to blame with 29% saying the Democrats. Those are not good numbers for the incumbent in the year before a presidential election.

In the US between elections the big polling numbers that matter for a first term President are his approval ratings and these are the ones that get highlighted by the media. So any sizeable shift gets attention.

A new CNN poll has the President’s approval rating at 37% approve to 57% disapprove. Disapproval has risen five points since December, while his approval number has held roughly the same. CNN reports that the detail suggests he’s now struggling with his core base.

“The increase in disapproval for the President comes primarily among whites without college degrees, 45% of whom approve and 47% disapprove, marking the first time his approval rating with this group has been underwater in CNN polling since February 2018. In December, his approval rating with whites who have not received a four-year degree stood at 54%, with 39% disapproving. Among whites who do hold college degrees, Trump’s ratings are largely unchanged in the last month and remain sharply negative — 64% disapprove and 32% approve.”

There’s no sign that either the President or the Democrats are going to give way and at some stage key public services like airport security look set to get hit. Already there are reports of many federal workers calling in sick and you can understand their feelings. It is not their fault that they are having to bear the brunt.

Key to the politics of this are leading Republicans who have largely stuck with their President though there are signs of dissent.

From Trump’s point of view the shutdown does detract attention from the wide range in probes into his dealings and whether there was collusion with Russia.

Mike Smithson