Gallup speculates Donald Trump boosting president’s popularity by comparison

Is it possible that the more people believe that Donald Trump could become our next president giving people a different perspective on Barack Obama?

According to the latest Gallup weekly tracking poll, Obama has a 50 percent approval rating, his highest since May 2013.

The president’s 50 percent weekly average exceeds the 46 percent he’s averaged through most of his administration’s seventh year, which ended Jan. 19. It also exceeds the 47 percent average he’s held since taking office in January 2009.

What’s improved his numbers?

“The unusual status of the Republican primary race – exemplified in particular by front-runner Donald Trump’s campaign style and rhetoric – may serve to make Obama look statesmanlike in comparison,” Gallup speculates, adding that watching Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton battle to be his successor could also bring out loyalty among Democrats. Democratic support is now nearly nine out of 10 Democrats, up from 81 percent in January.

In a speech in Austin, Texas, Friday, Obama said he wasn’t surprised by Trump’s ascendance.

“How can you be shocked?” the Washington Post reported. “This is the guy, remember, who was sure that I was born in Kenya, who just wouldn’t let it go. And all this same Republican establishment, they weren’t saying nothing. As long as it was directed at me, they were fine with it. They thought it was a hoot, wanted to get his endorsement. And then now, suddenly, we’re shocked that there’s gambling going on in this establishment.”

Results for this Gallup poll were based on telephone interviews conducted Feb. 29 to March 6 before the most recent debate in Miami and the clashes between Trump’s supporters and protesters at a rally in Chicago on Friday night

Obama’s 50 percent approval ranking is below where Bill Clinton was at this time in his administration, but similar to Ronald Reagan‘s. It’s much higher than where George W. Bush was in March 2008.

In early March 2000, Clinton’s approval rating was 63 percent. Reagan was 51 percent; while Bush was 32 percent.

The Gallup poll was a sample of  3,563 adults, aged 18 and older, with the margin of sampling error is ±2 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.