In a CNN poll this week, Trump’s approval rating among independents plummeted 16 points to 31 percent, down from 47 percent last month. Surely, that dramatic dip is an outlier but the basic trend is consistent. Two other polls this week from Washington Post-ABC News and Quinnipiac put independent support for Trump at 35 percent and 36 percent respectively.That’s largely the reason Trump’s approval ratings of late have been dragging to the point where he’s finally fallen below 40 percent in 538’s aggregate.
Remember, part of the reason Trump managed to win office is because independents broke toward him in the final days of the 2016 election. If we are to believe the exit polls, independent voters favored him over Hillary Clinton by 4 points, 46-42 percent. But now sagging support among independents has attached to GOP lawmakers, who have done almost nothing at all to separate themselves from him. That’s at least part of why the generic ballot is trending upward for Democrats right now as Republican numbers flatline.
“Republicans have not only been fairly silent in opposition to the president, but they’ve been driving very hard in the Senate when it comes to his Supreme Court nominee,” explained Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion. “Congressional Republicans are buying into Trump for November. In terms of brand, they look totally in lockstep with the president — and that has become extremely clear to voters.”
As Trump polarizes the electorate at historic rates, the priorities of independent voters are simultaneously coming in closer alignment to those of Democrats. As I noted earlier this week, the two demographics are almost in lockstep on health care and corruption being their top two priorities this fall. They also tend to be closer in their views of issues like the Russia probe. A Quinnipiac poll this week found that Americans think Robert Mueller is conducting the investigation fairly, 55-32 percent. Strong majorities of independents (55 percent) and Democrats (77 percent) agree with that while only 30 percent of Republicans say the same.
In a CNN poll, support for Trump’s impeachment rose to 47 percent, up from 42 percent in June.
That increase comes almost entirely among independents — 48% now say the President ought to be impeached, up from 38% in June — who have also soured on Trump’s job performance generally.
Still, Republican support for impeachment sits at just 8 percent.
More and more, the Republican party is adrift on the important issues of the day. Congressional Republicans’ staunch fealty to Trump—who is frankly supremely offensive, corrupt, and incompetent—has whittled the party into a fine point, small and intensely focused but disastrously ill-equipped to win elections on a large scale.
“People like to say, ‘Oh, everyone’s so divided right now,’ but I don’t think that’s the case,” said Richard Czuba of the Lansing, MI-based Glengariff Group. “Democrats and independents are viewing these issues similarly, and it’s in fact the Republican base that’s viewing issues differently than everyone else.”
Neither major party in this country can win elections without a coalition of voters, Republicans seem to have forgotten that. And as small as Trump’s coalition was when he eked out an unlikely victory in 2016, it’s practically nonexistent as we head into the final weeks of the midterms.
So on Nov. 6, get out there and vote like you mean it!