Dem pollster: Trump stronger politically than critics expected

Prominent pollster Mark Penn says that President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE is in a stronger political position than many of his critics realize. 

"About six months ago we all thought 'Oh Trump, he's going to be in the 30s, the economy, of course, was going to be in the tank,' and in fact, none of that has happened. So you really have to adjust our models and our thinking to the reality of what's going on in the country," Penn, chairman of the Harris Poll, told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking."

Penn, a former aide to Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE's Senate and presidential campaigns from 2000 to 2008, noted in the interview that Trump's approval rating trajectory has diverged from past presidents. Trump's approval rating has actually ticked up as the 2018 midterm elections approach. 

A Harvard CAPS/Harris poll released last month found that Trump's approval rating ticked up to 47 percent from 45 percent in May. 

Trump is currently at 41 percent approval in Gallup's presidential tracker. Around the same point in his presidency, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaFord taps Obama, Clinton alum to navigate Senate hearing McCaskill to oppose Kavanaugh nomination Presidential approval: It's the economy; except when it's not MORE stood at 46 percent in the poll, more than a 20-point drop from when he entered office.

— Julia Manchester