Recently Gallup printed a story about one of their polls and their headline was very misleading. “Trump’s Re-Elect Figures Similar to Those of Obama, Clinton” it said. Of course Trump supporters picked up on this and were crowing about how Trump would breeze to re-election the same way Clinton and Obama did. Gallup is a very prominent organization, so articles like this carry a lot of weight, and it immediately was the cause of angst among Democrats and others who do not want to see a Trump second term.
So it is important that we delve into the numbers more deeply to figure out what is really going on not only with the Gallup poll but also with Trump’s approval numbers.
Two immediate observations come to mind:
- Both Clinton and Obama suffered YUGE midterm losses in their first terms — the 1994 and 2010 midterms — which gave control of Congress back to the GOP. (In 1994, Democrats lost 53 seats in the House, and in 2010, they lost 63 seats.)
- Even in Gallup’s own polls, Trump’s approval level is the lowest any president has EVER had at this stage of his presidency.
What this means is that there is a big difference between the so-called “re-elect numbers” and the “approval numbers.”
And the conclusion to draw from this is that, if history is to be our guide, the 2018 midterms will lead to truly historic losses for the Republicans. We’ve never seen a president this unpopular before.
It is too early, of course, to predict whether or not Trump will get reelected. His popularity may go up or down. So Gallup’s headlines were not only misleading but also caused people to focus on the wrong thing.
What’s important to focus on right now is the depth of Trump’s unpopularity. This has important implications not only for Trump’s and the GOP’s political fortunes but also for our country.
Here’s how the Washington Post described the situation:
“Because Trump has blown through so many norms, the question of whether the American public is rejecting him is a momentous one. Trump has embraced overt racism, xenophobia and authoritarianism, in the form of regular racial provocations, assaults on our institutions and the rule of law, and an unprecedented level of self-dealing that basically constitutes a big middle finger to the country. He has married all this to orthodox GOP economic priorities — indeed, as Brian Beutler says, the three pillars of Trump-era conservatism are self-enriching plutocracy, racism and authoritarianism.”
“If that is so, then it is notable that majorities are rejecting all of those things. Obamacare repeal crashed and burned. The tax law passed, but it remains deeply unpopular. Majorities disapproved of Trump’s response to white supremacist violence in Charlottesville. Majorities sided with the “dreamers” against Trump (though in fairness the polling is mixed on the thinly veiled Muslim ban). Big majorities support special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s investigation of both potential collusion with Russia, dismissing Trump’s claims of a “witch hunt,” and of Trump’s finances. The public has sided with the investigation and the rule of law, and against Trump.”
What the Post makes clear is the importance of us recognizing that the majority of Americans are rejecting Trump, and Trumpism. The political organizing and the “resistance” to Trump’s policies is the real story. Americans are recognizing the threat to our country, and to democracy, and are stepping up to face this threat.
This is the real story, and a story that should get more publicity. Trump is not America. We are better than that. And it’s not too late for us to show our rejection of Trump by voting out his enablers in Congress. It is only 195 days until election day 2018.
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.