Chart of the Day: Donald Trump Has Lost a Lot of Support Among Republicans

Here’s a little more about my relative optimism over how America is doing in the Trump era. This chart, which doesn’t get nearly enough attention, shows the change in first-year presidential approval ratings from copartisans. That is, it shows Democratic approval of Democrats and Republican approval of Republicans:

After an admittedly wild first year in which he disappointed liberals with his budget, gays in the military, and a missile attack on Iraq, Bill Clinton ended 1993 exactly where he started. George Bush got a huge bump across the board after 9/11, but even if you look at his approval rating through 9/10, he only lost about one percent of his support. In 2009, during a brutal recession, Obama lost three percent of his support by the end of the year.

Donald Trump has lost eight percent of his support among Republicans. During a strong economy.

I know these seem like small numbers, but they’re meaningful. It’s natural that presidents lose support among independents and members of the opposing party. Many of them want to “give the new president a chance,” and then slip away as politics takes its natural course. But polarization being what it is, recent presidents just don’t lose much support among their own party. Only in Trump’s case has there been any significant erosion.

Losing the support of people who probably didn’t vote for you in the first place doesn’t mean too much. But losing the support of people who did vote for you means electoral disaster. It’s also good news: Americans aren’t reacting to the norm-busting buffoonery of the Trump presidency with indifference. Not only is the opposition movement enormously energized, but even Republicans are losing faith in him.

The 9/11 attacks rescued George Bush. Something similar could still happen with Trump, so this is hardly a call to breathe a sigh of relief. The fight is everything. But keep in mind that the fight is working. This is why I think, in the end, Trump will end up being a weird outlier in American history, not a harbinger of things to come.

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And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

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THE TRUTH IS...

what drives Mother Jones' team of 50-plus journalists. The truth is powerful, as evidenced by how hard those with something to hide, or profit to gain, seek to discredit it. The truth, stated boldly and reported meticulously, is what draws so many readers to Mother Jones.

And the truth is, going into the final 4 days of the year we still needed to raise $TK to hit our $350,000 goal and start 2021 on track. It's nerve-wracking, wondering if the big spike we normally see at the end of December is going to be another thing that doesn't go as planned in 2020, or worse, if, now that Donald Trump is set to leave the White House (for longer than a taxpayer-funded golf trip to a property he owns), folks might be pulling back from fighting for the truth and a democracy and think the hard work is done.

It's not, and if you can right now, please consider a year-end donation to support our team's fearless nonprofit journalism so we can close that big fundraising gap and finish the year strong, ready for all that's ahead in 2021. Whether you can give $5 or $500, it all matters in keeping us charging hard, and we'd be grateful.

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