The big headline from CNN’s new national poll was this: Donald Trump is at his highest approval rating in nearly a year.
Yes, as Trump critics note, 42% approval isn’t exactly great. And as the one and only Harry Enten points out, Trump’s approval rating gains look less impressive when viewed over the broader sweep of his time in office.
That said, Trump was at 35% approval in a February CNN poll and at 42% in a March CNN survey. That’s a gain worth exploring. Which I did.
Here are four subgroups among which Trump performed significantly better in March than he did in February:
- Men. Trump was at 50% approval in March as compared to 42% approval in February.
- Young voters. In February, just 1 in 5 voters aged 18-34 approved of how Trump was handling the job. In March, that number increased to 30%
- Middle-aged voters. Trump’s gains among the young(ish) were one-upped by his showing among those between 35 and 49 years old, where he gained 9 points in approval in a month.
- College graduates: A group that has long been resistant to Trump had the biggest change of heart toward him between February and March: A 10-point swing.
The Point: Trump’s gains among young voters and college graduates are intriguing – even if they need to be leavened with the fact that they represent a snapshot in time. Looking for an explanation? The tax cut, most likely.