Many people have been surprised this week to see two tweets from President Trump citing his high approval ratings in a recent opinion poll. It’s surprising because everyone who is paying attention knows that Trump’s approval ratings are the lowest in history for a president at this stage of his presidency. (George W. Bush’s ratings went much lower, but it took him years to accomplish that.)
We decided to take a closer look at the numbers in various opinion polls to try to understand what’s really going on.
We concluded that two things are going on:
- In his most recent tweet, Trump is lying about his approval rating, and
- All of his tweets about approval ratings are very misleading, and thus, inaccurate.
On the second point, his tweets are misleading because they cite Rasmussen Reports, which is only one of the many polls that track approval ratings. And Rasmussen uses a unique methodology that assures a very conservative bias.
What Rasmussen does is use computers to call telephone landlines to get its poll results. So the respondents to its polls are ONLY people who are at home to answer their landlines, who of course are older and more conservative. It’s as if Trump’s approval was being polled only among people who watch Fox News. Needless to say, this is not a representative sample of all American voters.
Here is the tweet from the president at 11 am yesterday:
“Rasmussen just came out at 51% Approval despite the Fake News Media. They were one of the three most accurate on Election Day. Just about the most inaccurate were CNN and ABC News/Washington Post, and they haven’t changed (get new pollsters). Much of the media is a Scam!”
Rasmussen just came out at 51% Approval despite the Fake News Media. They were one of the three most accurate on Election Day. Just about the most inaccurate were CNN and ABC News/Washington Post, and they haven’t changed (get new pollsters). Much of the media is a Scam!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 17, 2018
The lying part of yesterday’s tweet is that Trump’s approval rating in the most recent Rasmussen is not 51% but is just 49%. (A few days earlier it had been at 50% and Trump tweeted about that also, and at least he got his numbers right in that tweet.)
The Associated Press was so curious about Trump’s tweeting that they actually assigned their Fact Check team to look into it. And they concluded that Trump’s tweets were way off base and misleading as described above.
Here is a list of recent opinion polls showing the percentage of respondents who approve of Trump:
Rasmussen Reports: 49% approval
Gallup: 39% approval
NBC News/Wall Street Journal: 39% approval
Economist/YouGov: 42% approval
Reuters/Ipsos: 39% approval
Quinnipiac: 41% approval
You can see from this that Rasmussen is the outlier. All of the polls are different because they talk to different people, and they also use different methodologies. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist or even a stable genius to figure out that the above poll results are nothing to brag about.
By tweeting about Rasmussen’s results (a very rare silver lining for the president) Trump is showing how desperate he is to have even a little bit of good news.
The fact is that Trump’s approval ratings are so low that a record number of Republicans are retiring from Congress rather than face the onslaught that is coming in November. Chief Rat Paul Ryan has already abandoned the sinking ship that is the Republican Party. He knows in just a few months it will be overcome by the big Blue Wave that is being caused by the historically bad presidency of Donald Trump.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.