From John Cassidy:
If you thought that Donald Trump’s bowing and scraping to Vladimir Putin in Helsinki would put a big dent in his approval ratings, think again. Two new polls suggest that the President standing next to his Russian counterpart and publicly questioning U.S. intelligence findings about Russian interference in the 2016 election didn’t change anything much. That’s a testament to the unprecedented level of polarization in the American electorate. And it suggests that, as the midterms get closer, Trump will descend further into race-baiting and demagoguery as a way to keep his supporters engaged.
The weekly Gallup poll, which was released on Monday afternoon, estimated Trump’s approval rating at forty-two per cent, which represents a drop of one percentage point from the previous week. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey, which was released over the weekend, put Trump’s rating at forty-five per cent—a one-point gain since last month. Since there are substantial margins of error attached to both polls, the over-all picture that they draw is one of stasis. Most Americans disapprove of the rogue President, but Trump’s base of support remains solid, and it encompasses more than eight in ten self-identified Republicans…
The only development that might change things is if the Republicans do badly in the mid-term elections. At that point they may decide that Trump has outlived his usefulness to them. (Just as the GOP decided Joe McCarthy’s fate in the 1950s.) We’ll have to wait and see.