President Barack Obama’s approval rating hit 55 percent in a new CNN/ORC poll out today, which is the highest mark since his second term began. Separately, he’s up to 54 percent in Gallup’s tracking poll which is also his highest since his second inauguration.
These are the kind of numbers that ought to give one some doubt about the theory that Donald Trump is well-positioned to ride a current of popular demand for change into the White House. And, in particular, with new unemployment claims at their lowest level since the early 1970s (a period when the total population was much smaller), there’s really no sign of a median voter experiencing economic agony and crying out for a radically new approach.
What remains true is that Hillary Clinton, though more popular than Trump, is personally much less popular than Obama. That probably speaks to her relative weakness on nonpolicy issues, like the widely discussed email server matter and her various buckraking activities during her years out of office. Clinton represents continuity with a popular incumbent administration, which helps make her a favorite to win, but the public has bigger doubts about her personal integrity that are probably making things harder for her than they should be.