Posted on February 24, 2017
We are a little over one month into Trump’s presidency and we have some interesting numbers to look at. His Presidential Approval ratings are all over the map depending on which polling organization you consult. Are you surprised? I’m going to jump right in so we can keep this brief.
Take a look at the Real Clear Politics Average of major approval ratings.
You can see the divide among voters is sharply partisan, varies greatly between pollsters, and also varies in date. Historically speaking, it is unusual for presidential approval ratings to be this low this early on — but not by much. (Please see historical poll numbers). So when you hear people in the media harping on the “everyone hates Trump” story – just look at the data and recognize they are exaggerating like usual. We had a contentious election that resulted in a president having a slightly lower approval rating than average — not surprising considering his strong (and sometimes inflammatory) campaign rhetoric.
The second thing to note here is that his policies are curiously more supported when polled individually. This is interesting because it signals that the divide may be more personality related than policy related. Take a look at these numbers.
- Executive Order on Travel = 60%
- Sanctuary Cities = 80%
- Illegal Immigration = 70%
- Deportations = 69%
- Economic Optimism = 42% will get better
- Investor = 62% believe economy will expand
These numbers indicate some approval of President Trump’s policies but his overall approval rating seems more partisan. 78% of Republicans actually trust Trump more than the media to “tell the truth” whereas a whopping 86% of Democrats trust the media. Something has to explain the divide — and that something is a combination of two things — the unique Trump voter and the media. (SOURCE)
The media has shaped the debate around President Trump to be largely negative causing a pretty severe backlash among Republican voters. This has been decades in the making. The media has been perceived to have a liberal bias for a very long time – certainly since the 60s. This has caused the Republicans to distrust the media over time and Trump has taken advantage of this. His aggressive treatment of the press is noted on all sides … and it provides the large majority of Republican voters with some long awaited validation. As we discussed in a previous post, not all of this validation is warranted as both sides seem to have abandoned the search for the truth. (SEE BEING HONEST ABOUT TRUMP)
This brings us to the unique character of people who voted for Trump and could explain the variation (and confusion) of the poll numbers we just looked at. If you compare them to the polls right before the election (even on election night) they look eerily similar. The fact is that people who vote for Trump don’t seem to be well represented in national polling. I’m not suggesting that’s the fault of the pollsters — just that Trump voters don’t seem to be reachable with the methods the pollsters are using – or, if they are, it’s inconsistent (Even politico seems to agree with me). His support seems wider than polled — this theory is easily supported when looking at all of these approval ratings in the context of the 2016 election polls and the victories given to Trump in many critical (and historically mixed) states. To be clear, I’m not making the argument that this increase in support is yuge, but it’s certainly there and will only be more galvanized with Trump’s selection of the most conservative cabinet in modern presidential history. (See HERE) However, solidification of this support will only continue if Trump quickly implements his domestic agenda.
I say all of this to give perspective to the chaos that’s still surrounding us everyday. Trump has somewhat low overall approval ratings but enjoys better support among his individual policies. You can make of that what you will and I’d be interested to hear your thoughts. Just keep coming here for the straight and narrow view. ??