Why Trump’s Approval Rate Is Important

Amy Walter: “Pay attention to where the president’s job approval is in individual states or districts, not his performance in that district back in 2016. In looking at the result of many of the special elections that have taken place thus far, the Republican candidate’s vote share was close to or equaled Trump’s overall job approval rating in the district or state. For example, Trump carried PA-18 with 58% of the vote. Yet, going into the special election, his job approval rating in the district stood at a more modest 49%. Republican Rick Saccone took 49% of the vote.”

“To be fair, an open seat special election is a different beast from an incumbent versus a challenger contest in a ‘normal’ election. An incumbent comes to the table with some built-in advantages like name recognition, experience and a campaign war chest. Turnout will also be higher. However, even if the two candidates want to talk about anything but Trump, this election will be a referendum on the president. Voters’ perceptions of the president aren’t tied as much to issues as they are to his personality. This is also why Trump’s up tick in job approval matters. The closer he is to 50% or higher in a district, the better the chances for the Republican.”

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