Do a president's approval ratings actually matter?
via FiveThirtyEight

Do a president's approval ratings actually matter?

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President Trump's approval ratings have consistently hit historic lows, but a recent conservative-leaning Rasmussen poll has his approval at nearly 50 percent. Many argue a president's popularity isn't nearly as important as pundits think. Trump had high unfavorable ratings throughout the 2016 election and still won the presidency. But others believe his low approval ratings40.6 percent according to FiveThirtyEightmake it more difficult for him to work with Congress and push his agenda. What do you think? 📈

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#RatingsAreImportant
#RatingsDontMatter

President Trump recently touted a Rasmussen poll that has his approval at nearly 50 percent, stating it is higher than "Cheatin' Obama" was at this point in his presidency.

But Rasmussen is a historically conservative-leaning poll. According to FiveThirtyEight, which aggregates multiple polls using statistical analysis, Trump's actual approval rating is 40.6 percent.

In his first year in office, President Trump has maintained some of the lowest early approval ratings of any president in U.S. history. While many of his supporters don't take this polling very seriously, some experts believe President Trump's unpopularity is creating major obstacles that limit his ability to work with Congress.

Presidents who have higher approval ratings generally have an easier time getting Congress to go with them on big ticket items (e.g., tax reform). That said, with the growing polarization within Congress, even a less popular president can get big stuff passed without being all that popular if his party holds the majority.

But even critics of President Trump have argued political pundits are focusing too much on Trump's unpopularity, and a president's approval ratings are not very important once he is in office.

Trump didn't win the White House because people liked him. He won because a lot of Americans hated what their government had come to represent and trusted Trump to at least disrupt things. Trump's opposition will have no problem in 2018 and beyond demonstrating that things are broken. The trick will be selling the fix.
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