Denison Trump Approval UP Slightly at the 2018 Midterms

By Paul A. Djupe

Can you believe it has been more than 2 years of the Trump Administration? There is so much that has happened to the US and world in that time that it’s hard to remember it all. Oliver Gladfelter told me to jettison my outrageously short list of what this administration has been up to from the start, but instead I’ll just put it in the footnotes.[1]

So, how do Denison students view this administration? Oliver last went through these data in January 2017, finding very low approval – just 6%. We have another year of data to review from two new polls, so it’s time to peek again.

Across last winter, approval remained steady at 6%, which was a drop from early 2017 when approval was just under 10%. How about at the midterm elections in 2018? Well, looks like approval is up slightly to just over 12%.


As we’ll see in a future post about partisan trends, these results are not a function of increased Republican identification at Denison. Therefore, they surely represent a slight hardening of partisan views. Elections will do that.

Of course we can assess how Trump is viewed by partisan identification and the results (below) highlight just how limited and concentrated his approval is. Fully 100% of Strong Republicans (3% of the sample) approve of Trump’s job, while 54% of Republicans approve, just 38% of Independents who lean Republicans approve (these folks usually behave similarly to straight up Republican identifiers), and 13% of Independents approve. Even if he had the full support of all four groups, that would only constitute 32% of the student population. The remaining (Democratic) identifiers almost unanimously disapprove.

One way we can tell if views are concentrating among Republicans is through comparison with February 2018 data. Shown below, it’s plain to see that his approval was more concentrated among Republicans and did not hold a majority of any group except strong Republicans. He was clearly making inroads among a wider Republican group in election season.

Let us at 127 assure you that these are EXCELLENT topics to bring up at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Not only will they show you in short order how politics can ruin dinner in mixed partisan company, surely they will also allow you to observe gender dynamics, whether food prepared by someone of another partisanship still tastes good, and whether acrimony is best served with cranberry relish or gravy.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Paul Djupe is a local cyclist and Denison political scientist who prefers leek bread pudding and smoked tofu for Thanksgiving; don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. You can learn more about his work at


1. My short list of highlights of the Trump Administration.

  1. The Muslim Ban (not it’s official name, except on twitter).
  2. Pulling the US out of the Paris Climate Accords and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.
  3. Separating migrant families, placing children in detention.
  4. Attempting to end DACA; President Weinberg issued a statement about that.
  5. Targeting birthright citizenship.
  6. Lying about the size of the inauguration crowd and 4,229 other things (by August 1, 2018).
  7. Indictments of multiple former aides in Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation; e.g. Michael Flynn, erstwhile National Security Advisor, was a paid agent of Turkey.
  8. Attacking the free press as the enemy of the people.
  9. Undermining relationships with long-time allies.
  10. Removing all mentions of climate change from federal government websites and forbidding government scientists from talking about it.
  11. Attempting to use the federal government to target particular ‘opponents’ (e.g., Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who owns the Washington Post).
  12. Spreading conspiracy theories – e.g., George Soros is funding the ‘caravan.’
  13. Undermining the electoral process with false stories about voter fraud.
  14. Passing a massive tax cut skewed toward the wealthy thereby boosting the federal deficit to over $1 trillion in the coming year.
  15. Failing to decry white supremacy, repeatedly.

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