A few months ago, Vox's Matt Matthew Yglesias described Donald Trump's effects on public opinion as a "reverse Midas touch." The idea couldn't be more straightforward: when the president criticizes something, it tends to become more popular.
To be sure, there was no shortage of evidence to bolster the thesis. Support for the Affordable Care Act, government solutions to the climate crisis, athletes protesting racism, and even public confidence in American media all improved in the fall, despite -- or perhaps because of -- Trump's criticisms.
Three months later, the "reverse Midas touch" persists. A Quinnipiac poll released yesterday found the Trump administration and the American public moving in very different directions.
Undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, so-called "Dreamers," should be allowed to remain in the U.S. and apply for citizenship, 79 percent of American voters say in a Quinnipiac University National Poll released today. Another 7 percent say Dreamers should be allowed to stay but not apply for citizenship, and 11 percent say Dreamers should be required to leave the U.S. [...]American voters oppose 63 - 34 percent building a wall along the border with Mexico. Republicans support The Wall 78 - 19 percent and white voters with no college degree are divided with 47 percent supporting The Wall and 49 percent opposed. Every other party, gender, education, age and racial group opposes The Wall.Looking at marijuana, voters say 58 - 36 percent, including 79 - 17 percent among voters 18 to 34 years old, that marijuana use should be made legal. Voters also support 91 - 6 percent the legalization of medical marijuana.... Voters oppose 70 - 23 percent enforcing federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana.
Trump puts Dreamers' futures in jeopardy, and Americans want to see them protected. Trump pursues a giant border wall, and Americans have no use for the idea. Trump's attorney general eyes turning back the clock on marijuana, and Americans tell him not to.
In the meantime, the same Quinnipiac poll found most of the public opposes the Republicans' recently approved tax plan and lacks confidence in the president's ability to effectively handle the situation with North Korea.
Legendary political scientist Richard Neustadt once defined presidential power as "the power to persuade." In this sense, Donald Trump is proving to be effectively powerless.