This is one of those polls that will yank you from side to side until you’re dizzy and sick. In other words, a Trump news story. But this one has an important clue for Democrats heading into 2020 – and that is, run a Democrat who can beat Trump on character.
Gallup is urging this, in what seemed like very specific instructions on how to beat Trump at the end of their poll analysis.
The sick part: More Americans today believe Trump has the personality and leadership qualities a president should have than thought so two years ago, “although that still represents a minority of the public.”
Gallup notes, “In contrast, roughly six in 10 Americans thought George W. Bush and Barack Obama had the right presidential characteristics at a similar point in their presidencies.”
Neither Obama nor Bush ever had ratings lower than 49% during their presidency. Trump is at a personal high with 40%.
“The April 17-30 Gallup poll finds Trump’s character continues to be a weakness for him, especially given the generally strong ratings of his predecessors on the same question. In fact, neither Obama nor Bush ever had a rating lower than 49% during their presidencies.”
This poll was taken a few weeks after Attorney General Barr misled the public with a false summary of the Mueller report that put Trump in the best light possible, that he later walked back and claimed wasn’t actually a summary of the report.
The public didn’t get a glimpse of what the report actually said until April 18, when the redacted report was published. But even key Republicans on important committees haven’t bothered to read it, and the public has been widely misinformed and deliberately misled about the key findings.
It wasn’t until Saturday, May 18th that the first Republican lawmaker, Michigan Rep. Justin Amash, said Trump committed impeachable offenses based on the Mueller report.
Amash later said that several Republicans had told him they privately agreed with him, and that they needed to actually read the Mueller report after hearing his comments.
Gallup took the results of their poll to indicate that Democrats need to nominate someone who is perceived as having a strong character if they want to beat Trump:
“Democrats can enhance their odds of beating Trump in 2020 by nominating a candidate who is perceived as having a strong character. That is something they did not do in 2016 when Hillary Clinton was the Democratic nominee. She, like Trump, was widely thought to be dishonest and untrustworthy, thus negating one of Trump’s obvious weaknesses and making character less of a factor in voters’ decision-making processes.”
They left out that Hillary Clinton was perceived to be dishonest and untrustworthy because the media portrayed her that way by making a huge deal out of her emails, when almost every Republican who ran for the presidential nomination and had executive experience had done the same thing, and furthermore the DNC emails were hacked by the Russians and the mainstream media then published those emails and turned them into the story. Furthermore, as evidenced in the Mueller report, the Russians interfered in the public’s perception of Hillary Clinton, by attacking her from the left and right on social media.
It’s important to call the media out on this level of dishonesty because they gave us Donald Trump with their ‘both sides, neo-Nazis have a point too’ approach.
Gallup continued by warning that if Democrats nominate someone too far to the left they will elevate issues in the campaign and that will help Trump, “Democrats also must be careful not to nominate a candidate who is perceived as out of the mainstream on issues. Doing so could elevate issues as a voting factor and work to Trump’s advantage if more voters say they agree with Trump than the Democratic candidate on the most important issues.”
The truth is, issues rarely get any public attention in campaigns. People go with their guts, and this means they go with the charismatic person, the person who moves them personally and emotionally. That is why our elections are so easy to hack by interfering via social media – emotion is easy to manipulate.
Even if Democrats elect the most mainstream person on issues, that person will need to be able to capture the public’s attention and earn their trust inherently.
It is a wonder that Trump got elected at all with such a low character rating. “Is this person presidential” is usually the first hurdle that has to be overcome to sell oneself as possible presidential material.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.