Low Independent support for Trump ahead of midterms is not unusual, says GOP pollster

Republican pollster Jim Hobart downplayed President TrumpDonald John TrumpGOP senator introduces bill to hold online platforms liable for political bias Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally Rubio responds to journalist who called it 'strange' to see him at Trump rally MORE's low approval ratings among independent voters ahead of the midterms, saying it is not unusual for first-term presidents.  

"I think what you see in all midterm elections, especially in the last 15 or so years as the country has grown more polarized, is that independents like to put a check on the president, whoever is in power," Hobart, a partner at Public Opinion Strategies, told Hill.TV's Joe Concha on "What America's Thinking." 

"When you look at around this time of year, happened in the fall of 2010 with President Obama. It happened to a lesser extent in the fall of 2014, is that Independents say 'hey, you know what? I'm going to put a check on this president. I'm going to vote for a Democrat," he continued. 

Obama's approval rating among independents was down to 38 percent in the July before the 2010 midterm elections, in which Republicans took back the House, and made gains in the Senate, according to Gallup.

President Trump's approval rating has dropped among independents from 52 percent to 42 percent, according to a new Hill.TV poll.

Trump has hit the campaign trail in hopes of helping Republican candidates, however, Molly Murphy, a partner at ALG Research, said the president's low approval rating with independents may not bode well for the GOP. 

"This is further slippage from an already weakened position, and I think that you're seeing that play out in the generic ballot on House races and things," Murphy said. "I think it's going to have very immediate implications for 2018."

— Julia Manchester