They also believe that Trump’s tweets are “harmful to his presidency and the nation’s standing in the world.”
Controversies over Trump’s tweeting are nothing new. He has routinely used this social media platform as his main way of communicating. He has said he loves it because it is unfiltered and allows him to talk directly to the public without his words being interpreted by the media. This new poll, however, makes clear that putting him in complete control of his social media message, with no filters, is not necessarily a good thing.
On Twitter Trump has 52,300,000 followers, most of whom pay attention to what he posts. But nearly two-thirds of the people polled think that Trump’s over-reliance on Twitter is “a bad thing.” The same poll was taken a year ago when only 59% thought this way, so the president is steadily losing people who support his Twitter habit. Now just 20 percent of those polled called Trump’s tweeting “a good thing,“ down from 23 percent a year ago.
Not only do people not like the fact of Trump’s tweeting, nearly three out of four voters don’t approve of the frequency of the president’s tweets. The percentage who believe that Trump uses Twitter too much has gone up to 72%, from 69 percent last June.
The approval Trump has for his Twitter habit among Republicans is not as great as it is on other issues either. Of those who identify as members of the GOP, 58% believe that Trump tweets too much, a number that was just 53% a year ago.
For those who might advise the president to alter his Twitter usage and post fewer tweets, there is one simple fact that makes this unlikely: his tweeting has not hurt his popularity among his “base” of supporters.
Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s co-founder and chief research officer, had this to say about the issue:
“Although Republicans voters agree President Trump’s use of Twitter is excessive, they do not necessarily think it’s damaging his agenda. While 58 percent of Republicans say President Trump uses Twitter too much, only 38 percent say his Twitter use is a bad thing.”
Over the past week Trump has been on a Twitter binge. He has used the platform to post many tweets attacking Democrats, Bob Mueller, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, James Clappers and others who he perceives as an enemy. He has used Twitter to carry on a destructive national dialogue, creating divisions and enmity while at the same time appealing to his hard core supporters who seemingly relish every insulting remark he makes.
Republicans have also found that Trump’s Twitter feed is a formidable opponent if they try to criticize or otherwise take on the president’s agenda. People who Trump attacks on Twitter may get death threats from his supporters, and it doesn’t matter which political party they belong to.
But Trump also uses the social media platform in positive ways, to help people who are on his good side and to promote his policies. Just in the past few days he has used Twitter in many different ways to build support. He has:
- Shown video of his signing of “right-to-try” legislation,
- Shown video of him commemorating Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetary,
- Encouraged Californians to vote for Republican John Cox in next week’s gubernatorial primary,
- EndorsedRep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) over his primary challenger,
- Posted a photo with reality-TV star Kim Kardashian.
But even though Trump thinks he is accomplishing a lot by communicating through his tweets, 59 percent of those polled said that Trump’s use of Twitter hurts his presidency, while only 19 percent said it helps him.
In other findings:
- Fifty-one percent say Trump’s tweets harm national security,
- Fifty-seven percent say Trump’s tweets hurt the country’s standing in the world, and
- Just 17 percent say Trump’s Twitter usage will help congressional Republicans running for reelection in 2018, while 31 percent say it will help Democrats.
To Donald Trump none of these things matter. What matters to him is that he has a platform to say to the world whatever he wants to say, whenever he wants to say it. As to whether this will allow him and other Republicans to stay in power, only time will tell.
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.