Where the president got this specific number remains a mystery. Recent polls by YouGov put his
But I suppose we shouldn't be surprised that Trump used his Sharpie to round up his score. He's deeply invested in being -- or at least claiming to be -- the most popular Republican president in history. In July of 2018, he announced: "I am the most popular person in the history" of the
For what it's worth, polling in the 1860s wasn't exactly reliable. But even if Trump's oft-repeated 94 percent number were accurate, and even if it beat Lincoln's ratings, it still wouldn't beat
Why the president feels the need to embellish is already a well-spelunked psychological rabbit hole. But even ignoring his exaggerations, he is consistently hitting in the mid- to high 80s with
While Trump has made it worse, this dynamic is not new. He is more the beneficiary (and exacerbator) of the polarized landscape than the creator of it. Party identification has been declining for
Until around 2000, it was normal for self-identified
The wartime atmosphere Trump has established encourages partisans to overlook faults with their own side more than ever, because in the zero-sum logic of war, any dissent is seen as providing aid and comfort to enemies who would be worse if they gained power. Perhaps counterintuitively, Trump's myriad and manifest flaws actually intensify the effect. The need to justify your support makes it impossible to acknowledge any shortcomings at all. When
The irony is that the need to provide unwavering support for the president of your party is a direct function of the unwavering hostility from the president's critics. This is why polls may not be as reflective of reality as we often think. If you talk to pollsters, they will tell you that many voters understand how polls can be used as weapons and don't want to give the "enemy" any satisfaction.
Indeed, as I've argued before, there's a rough parallel with Republican support for Bush during the Iraq War. Many
Both examples may shed some light on what's in store for Trump in the future. Support for Bush and the war alike started to plummet as he headed for the exit. One of the defining currents of the Democratic primaries is the base's disappointment with Obama's accomplishments, even as his personal approval remains high.
It may be that once Trump is no longer the commander in chief in the war against Blue America, the ardor of his troops will give way to a better understanding of the price the
Liberty-loving columnists delivered to your inbox. FOR FREE. Sign up for the daily JWR update. Just click here.