- The Washington Times - Monday, May 7, 2018

President Trump’s popularity isn’t all about the base.

In a new CNN poll released Monday, his approval ratings are being buoyed by great optimism about the state of the nation, by his handling of issues, and by improving numbers among Democrats.

The survey showed Mr. Trump at 41 percent approval and 53 percent disapproval, about equal to the numbers at CNN’s last poll in late March.

According to the poll, 52 percent of Americans approve of Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy, 43 percent approve of his foreign trade, 40 percent like how he’s handling immigration, and 42 percent back his conduct of foreign policy. All those numbers are up significantly over the past year and some broach barriers he’d not surpassed since the honeymoon start of his presidency (majority approval on the economy, for example).

He is benefitting, as all presidents do, from the sense that the country is on the right track. The CNN poll had 57 percent saying things are going well, up eight percentage points since February and the highest mark since 2007 — before the Great Recession.

And much of that optimism is from an unexpected source — Democrats.

The CNN poll had 40 percent of Democrats say America is doing well — just 25 percent said so in February. And even asking specifically about Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy didn’t dampen Democrats’ enthusiasm. CNN said 26 percent of Democrats approve of Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy — not the lion’s share, but far higher than the 15 percent who approved in February.

Other findings in the poll support the hypothesis that Americans like what Mr. Trump does, while not caring for his public persona.

Among those who approved of Mr. Trump’s performance, 71 percent said it was because of issues, while the majority of those who disapproved of him (54 percent of that group) cited personality and leadership qualities over issue positions.

The poll was conducted May 2-5 by SSRS among a random national sample of 1,015 adults. It has an error margin of 3.6 percentage points.

• Victor Morton can be reached at vmorton@washingtontimes.com.

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