March 22nd, 2019


No Impact: Trump Jr. Nonsense 'Scandal' Has No Impact on Polls

Dick Morris

By Dick Morris

Published July 13, 2017

No Impact: Trump Jr. Nonsense 'Scandal' Has No Impact on Polls

The latest no-substance scandal to preoccupy Washington — the emails of Donald Trump Jr. — is having no impact on his father's job approval in any of the recent polls.

Rasmussen Reports, the only poll to survey likely voters, has Trump's job approval at 45 percent (July 9-11), exactly the same as it has been for the past two months. In fact, Rasmussen's average rating for Trump job approval has been averaging 45 percent ever since May.

Nor do any of the other polls — that sample "adults" or "registered voters" — show any movement. Trump's average job approval has been about the same (low 40s) for the past few months.

Americans don't care. Trump's base of voters is solid and about what it has been since before the election. All of the noise and furor and even hotheaded accusations of treason are making no difference in the polls.

This lack of response raises a key question: Will voters come to feel that all the Democrats can talk about is the Russia scandal? Will the impact on the Democrats be akin to the way the Republicans destroyed their own reputations by focusing on President Bill Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky?

In that case, despite years of pounding, Republicans failed to lower the president's job approval and only erased their own credibility. Things got so bad that with a Democratic president immersed in scandal and about to be impeached, the Republicans lost four seats in the House and made no gains in the Senate in the elections of 1998.

By devoting all their time to going after Clinton's personal life and doing nothing to project their agenda or pass legislation, the Republican majority in Congress exhausted the public's patience and broke their own momentum.

Now, with the Russia "scandal" entering its second year with no solid evidence of collusion between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, the lack of polling gains for the Democrats suggests that they are falling into the same trap. Is it becoming evident to Americans that the Democrats have no agenda beyond "resistance" to Trump? Is the lack of agenda that so crippled Hillary Clinton in her campaign carrying over into 2017?

Donald Trump is such an attractive punching bag that he can play rope-a-dope like Muhammad Ali did to George Foreman. It's easy to be lured into abandoning a positive issue agenda and focusing only on his "scandals." But by zeroing in on this particular scandal, the Democrats risk boring the country to death.

And, if Trump can continue to produce impressive results — 220,000 jobs created, 50 percent cut in illegal border crossings, Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, victory over ISIS in Iraq — and, possibly Obamacare repeal and replacement, he may just leave the Democrats behind stewing in their own juices.

Dick Morris, who served as adviser to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) and former President Clinton, is the author of 16 books, including his latest, Screwed and Here Come the Black Helicopters.