LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Debate Analysis – Trump Issue Approval

Your Daily Polling Update for Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Same as yesterday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on four polls. The range is 40% (Quinnipiac) to 47% (Rasmussen). Without these extremes, it would still be 44%…. President Trump’s disapproval rating averages 51% today (same as yesterday), which is 7 points higher than his approval.

By Ron Faucheux

Last night’s debate presented two competing visions for the Democratic Party––one is a pragmatic center-left vision focused on beating Donald Trump. The other is a big-ideas progressive left vision focused on changing the country. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren championed the big-ideas vision, while most of the other candidates advocated, at least in part, the pragmatic vision. John Delaney carried the brunt of the argument for the pragmatists, along with John Hickenlooper, Tim Ryan and Steve Bullock. Each had good moments and made serious arguments. Pete Buttigieg positioned himself as the “new generation” bridge between the two visions and generally refrained from taking sides. As usual, he hits the right tone. Beto O’Rourke, while often speaking from the middle ground, seemed out of the game. Amy Klobuchar positioned herself mostly as a pragmatist but lacks a theme. Marianne Williamson spoke a different language than the politicians on stage, which may appeal to some voters. 

In terms of political impact:

  • Elizabeth Warren showed that she can withstand aggressive ideological attacks and give as good as she gets. Once again, she had a clear message, and fought for it with intellectual vigor and passion––although sometimes that passion carries her to oversell her points. 
  • Bernie Sanders helped himself by doing better last night than he did with his lackluster performance in the first debate. He showed he still has steam and can effectively parry incoming attacks.
  • Because of the nature of their visions, Warren and Sanders generated the strongest message energy. Despite that, some of their left-wing issue positions––especially eliminating private health insurance––could ultimately do them and the entire party serious damage, especially in the general election.
  • One wonders when Warren and Sanders will go after one another. 
  • John Delaney, for what it’s worth, displayed courage in distinguishing himself from the leftward zeitgeist of current Democratic politics. But, with Joe Biden dominating the centrist Democratic vote, it remains unlikely there is much room for Delaney or any of the other pragmatists to get very far. 

Among voters nationwide

“Do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling…” 
% = Approve/Disapprove
The economy: 52%/42%
Veterans: 49%/40%
Terrorism: 48%/40% 
Immigration: 46%/50%
Foreign policy: 44%/49% 
Taxes: 44%/47% 
Gun control: 43%/48%
Civil rights: 42%/49%
Abortion: 41%/47% 
Women’s rights: 40%/50%
Healthcare: 40%/52%
The environment: 40%/52% 
Education: 39%/48%
Medicare: 38%/46% 
Social Security: 38%/45%
The budget deficit: 35%/56%
Gay rights: 33%/48%
RON’S COMMENT: Trump is net positive on three issues: The economy +10, veterans +9 and terrorism +8. He’s net negative on everything else, although he’s fairly close on immigration, foreign policy and taxes …. On the economy, his approval rating is 43% among those with household income below $50k, 51% among those with household income $50-100k, and 55% among those with household income above $100k …. On women’s rights, his approval rating is 40% among men and 33% among women…. On Social Security, his approval rating is 46% among people 65 and older and 25% among people under 30…. On healthcare, his approval rating is 12% among Democrats, 32% among independents and 76% among Republicans …. On civil rights, his approval rating is 43% among whites and 22% among blacks. A month ago, his approval rating was almost identical: 43% among whites and 21% among blacks.

Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
TRUMP ISSUE APPROVAL: The Economist/YouGov, July 21-23

When poll results add up to more than 100%, it is usually due to rounding.
L = Libertarian candidate 
G = Green Party candidate 
Ind = independent candidate
O = Other candidate(s)
D poll = conducted by or for organizations generally associated with Democrats.
R poll = conducted by or for organizations generally associated with Republicans.

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