There’s been no shortage of articles written over the last year and a half about Trump voters’ continued support of their president.
All those stories aren’t wrong ― periodic speculation to the contrary aside, the president’s base remains, overwhelmingly, behind him. But at the same time, it’s also worth noting that Trump supporters’ enthusiasm pales in comparison to the level of sustained antagonism his opponents still hold toward him.
As of last week, 90 percent of Trump voters approved of the president, per one tracking poll conducted by YouGov and The Economist. A similar 92 percent of Clinton voters disapproved.
Beneath those topline numbers, however, lies a sizable intensity gap: 83 percent of Clinton voters said they strongly disapproved of the president, compared to the 65 percent of Trump voters who strongly approved.
Since Trump took office, the share of his voters who say they strongly approve of his presidential record has fluctuated, dropping to a low of 43 percent last summer soon after the collapse of Obamacare repeal efforts, before recovering gradually to a high of 69 percent at the start of this July.
The share of Clinton voters who strongly disapprove, meanwhile, has never fallen below 67 percent. That was immediately after he took office. In the week following, the number climbed 10 points. Since then, between 74 and 90 percent have strongly disapproved.
Given that there are several million more Clinton voters than Trump voters ― and that the rest of the country, including people who stayed home in 2016 or chose a third-party candidate, also generally dislike the president ― the end result is that, despite the continuing support of his base, Trump’s approval ratings have remained both largely stable and largely negative.
In the most recent YouGov/Economist poll, the share of Americans who disapproved of Trump outnumbered those who approved by 11 points. The strong disapprovers outnumbered the strong approvers by 16 points. SurveyMonkey’s most recent tracking poll puts Trump’s strong disapproval 18 points ahead of his strong approval; a Quinnipiac survey of registered voters released Tuesday pegs the difference at 23 points.
If that intensity gap holds through November, it could also have repercussions on the midterm elections. This far out, there’s mixed evidence as to the exact strength of Democrats’ midterm enthusiasm advantage ― never mind how well that might translate to success in the battleground districts they’ll need to win to recapture the House. But a number of surveys this month have concluded that, nationally, the party has the edge on election enthusiasm. In the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, Democratic voters were 16 points likelier than GOP voters to rate their interest in voting as a “9” or a “10” on a 10-point scale.
“Things seem to move day to day, but the prevailing political wind favors the Democrats right now,” Daron Shaw, the GOP half of Fox News’ polling team, told the network after their survey found Democrats 7 points likelier to describe themselves as “extremely” interested in voting in November. “There’s still a lot of time until Election Day, but we’re close enough that polls like this should worry the Republicans.”