On Friday, the results of the most recent Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)/Harris Poll were released. The survey of 1,295 registered voters, which was conducted between May 29-30, features a boosted approval rating for President Trump.
The survey asked: “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President of the United States?”
25% of respondents said that they “strongly approve” of the job Trump is doing, while 23% said that they “somewhat approve,” for a net 48% approval. 37% of respondents said that they “strongly disapprove,” while 15% said that they “somewhat disapprove,” for a net 52% disapproval.
According to The Hill, President Trump hasn’t seen an approval rating this high in the Harvard Center for American Political Studies (CAPS)/Harris Poll since mid-2017, a full 24 months ago.
The co-director of the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, Mark Penn, told The Hill that the president is benefiting from the robust economy, adding: “Every point of increase in this range of 45 to 50 improves the possibility of re-election.”
The survey further asked: “How strong do you think the U.S. economy is today?”
21% of respondents said that the economy is “very strong,” and 50% said that it’s “somewhat strong.” Just 4% said that the economy is “very weak,” and 26% said that it’s “somewhat weak.” That’s a strong 71% to 29% positive to negative.
In a more personally reflective and less esoteric question, the survey asked: “Would you say that your personal financial situation is improving or getting worse?”
On this, the divide is even more stark. 73% of respondents said that their “personal financial situation” is either “improving” (35%) or “just as well off” (38%), while only 22% said that it’s “getting worse.”
As for Trump’s handling of six specific issues – stimulating jobs, the economy, fighting terrorism, immigration, foreign affairs, and administering the government – the president is above water on three, and just under on one.
- Stimulating jobs: 62%
- The economy: 59%
- Fighting terrorism: 56%
- Immigration: 48%
- Foreign affairs: 44%
- Administering the government: 44%
The Harvard CAPS/Harris survey, as well as a recent Rasmussen poll, which also had President Trump’s job approval at 48%, appear to be outliers on the upper end. Most other organizations (Reuters/Ipsos, Monmouth, CBS News, Economist/YouGov) show presidential approval hovering in the mid to low-40s. The outlier on the low end, Quinnipiac, shows just 38% approval.
According to the RealClearPolitics polling average, 43.1% of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 53.8% disapprove.
These low average poll numbers will be difficult for the president to overcome in 2020. The RealClearPolitics average shows current Democratic front-runner Joe Biden beating Trump by approximately eight percentage points (48.7% to 40.6%), Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) beating Trump by 2.4 percentage points (47.2% to 44.8%), and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) beating Trump by 4.8 percentage points (48.6% to 43.8%).
That said, just prior to the 2016 general election, the RCP average had Hillary Clinton ahead of Trump by 3.3 percentage points (45.5% to 42.2%), and on the day of the election, The New York Times claimed that Clinton had an 85% chance of winning the presidency.
With 520 days until the 2020 presidential election, anything is possible.