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Inside the Beltway: NASCAR fans still intensely loyal to Trump

August 13, 2018

The news media never tires of gauging President Trump’s approval ratings; the often hostile press pores over the poll numbers, many seeking proof that the nation has at last rejected the president. Mr. Trump, however, views the presidency as a long march rather than a dazzling sprint and his favorability numbers are either stable or creeping upwards.

A new Zogby Analytics survey of likely voters finds Mr. Trump with 46 percent approval, up two percentage points in the past two months. The changing dynamics are hard to track. The president’s ratings have fallen to 32 percent among 18 to 29 year olds, but “jumped” to 48 percent among those 30 to 49 years old. Thirty eight percent of women approve of Mr. Trump compared to 55 percent of men and a hearty 86 percent of Republicans support him. The ratings among independents are up 10 percentage points to 43 percent in the last eight weeks.

As demographics get intricate, things get interesting.

The president has a 56 percent approval rating among rural voters; it’s 54 percent among 50 to 64 years olds, 53 percent among union workers, 52 percent among those who live in the suburbs and among those who make over $100,000 a year, and 50 percent among Southerners. Mr. Trump even does well with social media users (43 percent approval), which the pollster attributes to Mr. Trump’s “expansive way of communicating with the public through his Twitter account.”

Meanwhile, the president has a 50 percent approval rate among weekly Wal-Mart shoppers, and a whopping 64 percent approval among NASCAR fans. A similar Zogby poll in January revealed the same level of enthusiasm among the NASCAR folk for the president.

“The takeaway is President Trump is riding high at the moment because his job approval rating is solid and the economy is doing well. He is polling better than Democrats when it comes to the economy,” the Zogby poll analysis says.

“The president will need to keep his numbers in the mid- to high-40s, percentage-wise, among voters age 18-29, women, and independents regarding who voters trust more to grow the economy. Trump will also need to receive strong support from his base to prevent Democrats from making serious gains in the November congressional mid-term elections.”

The poll of 1,016 likely U.S. voters was conducted Aug. 6-8.

SOCIALISM CHIC: NOT SO DAZZLING

There much ado in the news media about the rise of socialism among millennials and other select audiences. Self-described socialists are emerging in politics with attractive campaign promises.

But is socialism chic genuine, or just a passing fancy?

In reality, a mere 7 percent of Americans are “enthusiastic” about socialism according to a comprehensive poll from YouGov. Please check the Poll du Jour at column’s end for some telling numbers.

MEANWHILE AMONG THE LIBERTARIANS

While drama continues elsewhere in the political realm, the Libertarian Party reports that there are now 837 Libertarian candidates running for various local, state and national offices around the nation. Texas leads the way with 102 candidates, followed by North Carolina with 49 and Michigan with 43.

The party is helping its own, providing access to free campaign websites, plus help with paperwork, Federal Election Commission filings and other matters. There’s also a biweekly “campaign strategy call” for all-comers.

“The first call was so well attended we overloaded our system,” notes Cara Schulz a candidate recruitment specialist, and an elected Libertarian herself, now serving on the city council of Burnsville, Minnesota.

THE AP AND THE BIKERS

It was a convivial event on a rainy Saturday: Bikers for Trump a loyal group which has supported the president since his campaign days paid a call on Mr. Trump Saturday at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Hundreds showed up, the president greeted them, thanked them, posed for selfies, the group said the Pledge of Alliance and a good time was had by all.

“Rain pouring, President Trump rages on Twitter and hangs with bikers, said an Associated Press headline in the aftermath, which was picked up, along with the story, by dozens of news organizations here and abroad.

“It was a classic, chaotic Trump scene reminiscent of his ramshackle early campaign,” noted Associated Press reporters Jill Colvin and Jeff Horwitz in their lengthy account.

FOXIFIED

Fox News Channel continues to bolster the strength of its news gathering and operations, particularly in a pivotal office. Cherie Grzech has been named vice president of the Washington, D.C. bureau, set to oversee all day-to-day operations and political coverage. Bryan Boughton has been promoted to senior vice president of the bureau.

Ms. Grzech has been with Fox News for close to 18 years, Mr. Boughton for 23 years.

Meanwhile, veteran newsman Bill Sammon, who has been with Fox News for a decade, will continue in his role as senior vice president and managing editor in the Washington unit.

POLL DU JOUR

41 percent of registered U.S. voters would be “very uncomfortable” with a socialist candidate for president; 66 percent of Republicans, 37 percent of independents and 19 percent of Democrats agree.

38 percent of voters overall say calling someone a socialist is an insult; 58 percent of Republicans, 28 percent of independents and 18 percent of Democrats agree.

33 percent overall would “have some reservations” about a socialist candidate; 21 percent of Republicans, 34 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats agree.

22 percent overall would be “comfortable” with a socialist candidate; 8 percent of Republicans, 22 percent of independents and 31 percent of Democrats agree.

7 percent overall would be “enthusiastic” about a socialist candidate; 5 percent of Republicans, 7 percent of independents and 10 percent of Democrats agree.

Source: A YouGov survey of 856 registered U.S. voters conducted Aug. 1-2 and released Friday.

Murmurs and asides to jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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