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For all the four-alarm fires around President Trump this summer — Putin, Mueller and Cohen, oh my! — his approval ratings have barely moved, as you can see from this remarkable chart of SurveyMonkey’s weekly tracking poll.

Expand chart
Data: 83 SurveyMonkey polls conducted between Jan. 26, 2017 and Aug. 29, 2018, averaging 14,161 respondents; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Be smart: Trump's narrow trading range is both the reason he messages only to his base (no one else is gettable), and the reason he has to keep amping up for the volume for his true believers (he has nowhere else to go).

There are danger signs:

  • The high approval for Mueller in Friday's Washington Post-ABC News poll (63% support his investigation) was sobering for Trump strategists.
  • Only 18% support a pardon for Paul Manafort, despite Trump's tweeting on behalf of his former campaign chairman: "I feel very badly for Paul Manafort ... Such respect for a brave man!"
  • MSNBC analyst Matt Miller said 18% is therefore the base of the base — the "stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody" number.

A closer look at the SurveyMonkey numbers:

  • They’re not good: He hasn’t cracked 50% approval in this poll since the day he took office. But other than a few dips along the way, he has rarely fallen below 40%, even with the recent crises.
  • His negatives are stronger than his positives — the people who don’t like him really don’t like him.
  • The percentage of people who strongly disapprove of him in the SurveyMonkey polls — generally in the low to mid-40s — is remarkably close to the 44% who said in the most recent Axios-SurveyMonkey poll that they’re ready for Congress to begin impeachment proceedings.

Between the lines: The Post-ABC poll Friday appeared to show movement, with a record 60% disapproval rating for Trump that had jumped four points since April.

  • But the numbers look more stable when you compare it to previous Post polls, and nearly all of the movement is within the margin of error, since the Post’s sample size is smaller than SurveyMonkey’s.
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Go deeper

It's harder to fill the Cabinet

Data: Chamberlain, 2020, "United States of America Cabinet Appointments Dataset" Chart: Will Chase/Axios

It's harder now for presidents to win Senate confirmation for their Cabinet picks, an Axios data analysis of votes for and against nominees found.

Why it matters: It's not just Neera Tanden. The trend is a product of growing polarization, rougher political discourse and slimming Senate majorities, experts say. It means some of the nation's most vital federal agencies go without a leader and the legislative authority that comes with one.

Exclusive: Hundreds of kids held in Border Patrol stations

Migrants cross the Rio Bravo to get to El Paso, Texas. Photo: Herika Martinez/AFP via Getty Images

More than 700 children who crossed from Mexico into the United States without their parents were in Border Patrol custody as of Sunday, according to an internal Customs and Border Protection document obtained by Axios.

Why it matters: The current backup is yet another sign of a brewing crisis for President Biden — and a worsening dilemma for these vulnerable children. Biden is finding it's easier to talk about preventing warehousing kids at the southern border than solving the problem.

Pompeo plots 2024 power play

Mike Pompeo in Washington on Feb. 12. Photo: Samuel Corum/Getty Images

Mike Pompeo has quickly reentered the political fray, raising money for Republicans, addressing key political gatherings and joining an advocacy group run by Donald Trump's former lawyer.

Why it matters: The former secretary of state is widely considered a potential 2024 presidential contender. His professional moves this week indicate he's working to keep his name in the headlines and bolster a political brand built largely on foreign policies easily contrasted with the Biden White House.

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