As of Dec. 5, President Trump had tweeted 14 times since October 3 that he maintains a 95 percent approval rating with Republicans.
The uptick in these tweets—which usually have a succinct “Thank You!” appended to them—makes sense. Nancy Pelosi formally announced the Democratic-led House’s impeachment inquiry on September 24, putting Trump’s political life on the line and creating a situation where Republican unity around this president is more important than it’s ever been.
The only problem? Trump has never cited a source for this 95 percent figure—which has remained remarkably consistent over the past two months—and public polling on the topic shows his GOP support to be lower. In fact, an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in late October found Trump hitting record-low approval among Republicans at 74 percent, down from a high of 87 percent in July. Gallup presents a rosier outlook for Trump, pegging his approval within the GOP at 90 percent in mid-November.
The true figure is likely somewhere in between. Individual polls contain high levels of variance, looking at averages and trends over time is typically a much safer bet.
And a number between 74 percent and 90 percent approval among Republicans is a strong showing! George W. Bush’s GOP rating dropped to 55 percent in the throes of the financial crisis. Even Ronald Reagan’s fell to 67 percent for a period in 1983.
When referencing his overall approval rating, Trump almost always cites his sources. (Those sources are almost always Rasmussen, a pollster that consistently places his favorability several points ahead of polling averages.)
But the 95 percent figure among Republicans comes unaccompanied by a link or a graphic. It’s possible Trump is citing internal polling from his campaign or the RNC. It’s possible Trump is citing support among elected Republicans in the House or Senate. It’s also possible, and perhaps most likely, Trump is citing nothing at all, fabricating this number to bolster party support at a time that he needs it most.