A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi: House must pass 3 major pieces of spending legislation this week Sunday shows preview: Pelosi announces date for infrastructure vote; administration defends immigration policies GOP should grab the chance to upend Pelosi's plan on reconciliation MORE — not President Donald TrumpDonald TrumpGraham says he hopes that Trump runs again Trump says Stacey Abrams 'might be better than existing governor' Kemp Executive privilege fight poses hurdles for Trump MORE — plummeted most in popularity during the 35-day government shutdown.
The new poll shows the Speaker of the House experienced a 6-point drop in her approval rating. Only 28 percent of Americans rated Pelosi as favorable, while 47 percent rated her as unfavorable — a stunning 19 percent “upside down” unfavorable figure.
The Wall Street Journal reports that while voters in their poll did hold him responsible for the shutdown, Trump is down only 3 percent total since November, when the midterm elections were held. Hardly the roundhouse kick to the head that it could have been, given the bad mainstream press.
Trump’s overall 43-percent approval rating is, according to Gallup Poll, roughly on par with President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaTop nuclear policy appointee removed from Pentagon post: report Prosecutors face legal challenges over obstruction charge in Capitol riot cases Biden makes early gains eroding Trump's environmental legacy MORE’s 49 approval rating during the same week just two years into his presidency.
This comes after a Rasmussen Poll also showed that 40 percent of Americans actually blamed congressional Democrats for the shutdown.
So, with steady poll numbers for himself and spiraling poll numbers for Pelosi, why on earth did Trump cave in just three weeks into her reign?
First, Trump appears to have been spooked by an air traffic controllers’ “sick-out” and subsequent ground-control stops at LaGuardia Airport.
However, a look back at President Ronald Reagan’s handling of a similar situation demonstrates that the issue could have been resolved if Trump had wanted to tackle it. In Reagan’s case, he fired more than 11,000 air traffic controllers and enacted a lifetime rehiring ban on any controller who called out sick. A federal judge ultimately found the air traffic controllers’ union president in contempt of court, and ordered him to pay a fine. All things Trump could have weathered, given the precedent.
Second, another possible reason for the sudden retreat is that Trump’s top adviser and son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerHouse panel tees up Trump executive privilege fight in Jan. 6 probe The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - US prepares vaccine booster plan House panel probing Jan. 6 attack seeks Trump records MORE has reportedly been meeting behind-the-scenes with immigration activists, while “angel moms” weren’t welcomed in Pelosi’s office.
McClatchy newspapers reported that Kushner met Thursday with the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Libre Initiative, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and other pro-immigrant groups to discuss protection for “Dreamers” in exchange for wall funding — something about which the base will not be thrilled.
Lastly, it is possible that Trump never intended to make good on his campaign promise yet needed a boogeyman to blame for its delay or its ultimate denial. After all, Trump’s own party had control of both chambers of Congress for the past two years when the funding could have been secured.
Even conservative Ann Coulter admitted to “Real Time with Bill Maher” host Bill Maher on Friday that she may be a “very dumb girl” to believe that Trump may have ever been serious about the wall. However, this explanation seems the least likely as, even as a political neophyte, Trump has to know that no wall is a non-starter for his 2020 presidential bid.
Whatever the reason for his colossal cave-in, one thing is certain: after vowing in December that he would not re-open government until he secured funding for the wall, it will be a long time before anyone takes him at his word during a political showdown again.
Jen Kerns has served as a GOP strategist and writer for the U.S. presidential debates for FOX News. She previously served as communications director and spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, the Colorado Recalls over gun control, and the Prop. 8 battle over marriage which went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.