New polling indicates President Donald Trump's approval rating has incrementally improved over the course of three weeks, marking the longest period of sustained growth in the president's approval rating since he assumed office.
Between Aug. 21 and Sept. 17, Gallup found that national adults' approval for Trump's job performance grew from 35 percent to 38 percent. During that time, Trump's approval rating increased by 1 percentage point with each successive week. This marked the longest period that Gallup recorded a rise in Trump's job approval since Jan. 20, when he was inaugurated.
On Sept. 19, political correspondent Philip Bump of The Washington Post offered an analysis of the Gallup polling data, scrutinizing the timeline of events that corresponded with the president's steadily improving approval rating. Bump observed that the president's numbers began to improve shortly after former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon resigned.
On Aug. 18, Bannon exited the White House, reportedly at the request of newly installed White House chief of staff John Kelly. Bannon, who had previously headed the controversial far-right Breitbart news outlet, had been a persistent source of controversy within the Trump administration, with critics asserting he had given a platform to white nationalists, according to The New York Times.
Bannon has maintained that the decision for him to leave the White House was mutual. He has since returned to his position at Breitbart.
"Since Bannon was ousted, the rise has been pretty consistent," Bump noted in his analysis.
"Perhaps some of this is a function of Bannon's ouster," Bump continued. "The removal of a controversial and nationalist figure from the president's inner sanctum no doubt made many moderate Republicans happy. But there's probably another, bigger reason: the hurricanes."
Bump asserted that when Texas and Florida were devastated by hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the public's attention was taken off of the White House. Bump cited Google search data that indicated Americans were searching for news related to the hurricanes more than they were following headlines about Trump during the period between Aug. 21 and Sept. 17.
"The new Gallup numbers mark the first time since he's been president that his approval rating has increased three weeks in a row," Bump concluded. "If that's largely a function of the hurricanes, that trend probably won't last long ... If it's something else, like the ouster of Bannon, there may be more room for Trump to grow."
RealClearPolitics, after aggregating the last seven national surveys released between Aug. 31 and Sept. 18, found that Trump had an average approval rating of 40 percent and an average disapproval of 55 percent.