Dem pollster: Trump stronger politically than critics expected

Prominent pollster Mark Penn says that President TrumpDonald John TrumpBill Kristol resurfaces video of Pence calling Obama executive action on immigration a 'profound mistake' ACLU says planned national emergency declaration is 'clear abuse of presidential power' O'Rourke says he'd 'absolutely' take down border wall near El Paso if he could 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 ClintonO’Rourke heading to Wisconsin amid 2020 speculation The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Kidney Care Partners — Lawmakers scramble as shutdown deadline nears Exclusive: Biden almost certain to enter 2020 race 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 ObamaIntelligence for the days after President Trump leaves office Barack Obama sends Valentine's message to Michelle: 'She does get down to Motown' For 2020, Democrats are lookin’ for somebody to love MORE stood at 46 percent in the poll, more than a 20-point drop from when he entered office.

— Julia Manchester