It's hardly a news flash that Donald Trump's approval numbers have been cratering since the political meteor of the Capitol riots hit. His previous bottom of above 36 % approval has been lowered in several recent polls.
"Donald Trump is leaving the White House with the lowest job approval of his presidency (29%) and increasingly negative ratings for his post-election conduct. The share of voters who rate Trump's conduct since the election as only fair or poor has risen from 68% in November to 76%, with virtually all of the increase coming in his "poor" ratings (62% now, 54% then).
But even more ominous for Trump in the poll was an indicator of long-term damage to his standing among his dreaded political base. By that same 68-to-29% margin, respondents said "no" to the question, "Would you like to see Trump remain a major political figure for many years to come?"
In normal times, one might quarrel with the wording of that question. But in the context of Trump's cult-like cadre of followers, it's a spot-on indicator of atrophy. It would appear that the sedition of January 6 may have driven away even some supporters who would have been cool if he shot someone on Fifth Avenue.
Even within the Republican Party, respondents wanted Trump to remain a major political figure by just a margin of just 57-to-40%. Compare that to the 90-%-plus stranglehold he's held on the party through the worst Presidency in American history. As further evidence of the Republican civil war to come, those describing themselves as "moderate or liberal" want him out of their lives by 56-to-41 %. His long-term presence is only desired by 68 % of self-described conservative Republicans.
(In case you're wondering, Democrats described as liberal were apparently unanimous in saying "no" to Trump in this context, which those labeled "conservative-moderate" wanted him gone by 90-to-9%.)
To be clear, Trump's fall from grace does not imply that he hasn't done lasting damage to the American political system. Even among those who have had their eyes opened by the Capitol riots, the fraudulent claims of election fraud have left a stunning percentage of Americans with lingering doubts.
"Deep divisions extend to opinions about the election result itself. Biden will be inaugurated Jan. 20 with a large segment of Trump voters viewing Trump as the winner of the election, despite scores of failed court challenges to the election brought by Trump's lawyers and Congress' confirmation of Biden's Electoral College victory in the early morning hours of Jan. 7," the Pew Research Center reported.
"Among voters overall, 65% say Biden definitely or probably "received the most votes cast by eligible voters in enough states to win the election"; 54% say he definitely won the most votes. But 34% incorrectly say Trump definitely or probably was the rightful election winner."
Pew also said the great ideological divide applied to how much Trump was to blame for the Capitol riots:
"Only about half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (52%) say Trump bears any responsibility for the violence and destruction in the Capitol and 79% do not think he should be removed from office before Jan. 20. Virtually all Democrats and Democratic leaners (95%) say Trump bears at least some responsibility for the riot– and 83 % favor his removal as president."
With no disrespect to Pew, the fact that Trump is blamed at all for the Capitol riots by slightly more than half of those categorized "Republicans and Republican-leaning independents," should not be described as "only." After four-plus years of enduring the grunts of Trump's base, that number seems like progress.