Why Trump’s Poll Numbers Matter for the 2018 Midterms

Why Trump’s low poll numbers matter for the 2018 midterms

WASHINGTON — In the last 12 hours, CNN and CBS have released polls showing President Trump’s job-approval rating below 40 percent — 38 percent for CNN, and 36 percent for CBS.

Here’s why those numbers matter as we get closer to the 2018 midterms: There’s a direct correlation between a president’s approval numbers and the number of seats his party loses in his first midterm election.

On average, since the Truman Era, a president’s party loses more than 28 House seats in his first midterm election. (In 2018, Democrats need to pick up 24 seats to win back the House.)

Notes: Ford’s first midterm election came right after he succeeded Richard Nixon in 1974; LBJ’s came in 1966 three years after succeeding Kennedy; and Truman’s came in 1946 after succeeding Roosevelt.

But in the six times when that president’s job-approval rating was below 50 percent, his party lost an average of 43.5 House seats

Here’s what those charts look like side-by-side:

Yes, it’s still early until the 2018 midterms. And, yes, plenty can change between now and the fall of 2018. But there’s an important reason why we follow these job-approval numbers: The lower the approval rating, the worse that party typically performs in the midterms.



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