The Rushmore Report – Who Had the Higher Approval Rating at This Point in His Presidency, Obama or Trump?


For two years leading up to every presidential election, the biggest story in cable news is pre-election polls which indicate who is leading in the race. For the next two years, the biggest story is the sitting president’s approval rating. So at this point in their presidencies, whose approval rating was higher – Obama’s or Trump’s? The answer may surprise you.

The Rasmussen Report’s daily tracking poll – the most accurate in the business the last eight years – shows President Trump sitting at a 50 percent approval rating. At the same point in his first term, President Obama’s approval rating was 46 percent.

Yes, you read that correctly. Trump’s approval rating is ahead of Obama’s at this point in each presidency – by four points.

Meanwhile, Democrats continue to have an edge in the generic ballot for the November congressional elections, but the gap is narrowing. The latest Fox News Poll has revealed a shrinking difference – from 15 points in October (50-35 percent) to just five points now (46-41 percent).

Giving further hope to Republicans, these generic ballots have traditionally undervalued conservative support. For example, at this same time in the run up to the 2014 midterm elections, such polls gave Democrats a two-point advantage, but they went on to lose 13 net Congressional seats. And in 2010, though Republicans held only a slim four-point lead in the polls, they gained a record 63 seats in the November elections.

In all but two midterm elections of the last 50 years, the party that held the White House lost congressional seats. This cycle will likely follow suite. But don’t believe the narrative being pedaled by most media outlets. They are trumping up Democratic optimism in order to suppress Republican turnout. Plus, it’s a lot easier to cover polls than real news stories.

Anyone can report on the lowest number of jobless claims since the Nixon Administration (yes, the Nixon Administration). Anyone can cover the decimation of ISIS, success in Iran, and record tax cuts. But it takes a real journalist to tell you who is ahead in a historically unreliable poll seven months before an election. Real news? That would be the daily report of how “Generic Democratic Candidate” is doing verses “Generic Republican Candidate.”

I’m not even sure of which state in which “Generic” is on the actual ballot. I guess that’s what makes it news.

Does Trump’s rise to 50 percent approval in the Rasmussen poll mean much? Probably not. Nor did Obama’s 46 percent rating matter much in 2010. And Generic Democrat’s five-point lead over Generic Republican doesn’t matter much, either.

Leading up to the 2018 midterm elections, the Democrats have an edge. But it’s not nearly as big as you’ve been told.


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