Dissatisfied with Americans’ attitudes,Click here for the original article
Trump picks his own approval rating
President Donald Trump speaks in the
Diplomatic Reception Room
of the White House in Washington
Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
04/06/18 03:10 PM—Updated 04/06/18 05:26 PM
By Steve Benen
two weeks after his inauguration, Donald Trump was confronted with news
reports about the absence of a honeymoon period and his failing
popularity. The new president made a declaration about all
public-opinion polls: “Any negative polls are fake news.”
a curious posture to take publicly. To hear Trump tell it, polls he
likes are real and trustworthy, while polls he dislikes are unreliable
and “fake.” Why? Because he says so.
As ridiculous as this was,
this presidential assessment was a sign of things to come. In recent
days, Trump has ignored a series of national, independent polls that
show him unpopular, and instead promoted results from Rasmussen, a
Republican-friendly pollster, which has published results that make him
This morning, however, the president went a little
further during an interview on a conservative radio show. As the
Washington Post’s Greg Sargent noted, Trump apparently believes even
cherry-picked surveys are understating Americans’ love for their
In today’s interview with “Bernie and Sid in the Morning” on WABC
radio, Trump listened modestly as his hosts showered obsequious praise
on him for heroically making America great in the face of unremitting
hate from the media.
“A poll just came out now, Rasmussen, it’s now 51,” Trump said. “They
say that it’s 51 but add another 7 or 8 points to it…. They don’t want
to talk about it, but when they get into the booth they’re going to
vote for Trump.”
OK, a few things.
Rasmussen’s latest report puts Trump’s approval rating at 47%, not 51%.
But even putting that aside, Rasmussen’s data remains an outlier, and
most of the major polling outlets put the president’s current support
quite a bit lower. The average currently stands at about 40%.
this entire subject is one Trump should avoid. At this point in his
presidency, Trump is the least popular president since the dawn of
modern American polling. With this in mind, the smart move would be for
him to subtly steer conversations away from polls, pretending to be
principally concerned with governing, not the ebbs and flows of
day-to-day political noise.
Instead, Trump seems determined to keep the focus on one of the more notable embarrassments of his presidency.
Trump is ignoring inconvenient data, and then arbitrarily adding “7 or
8 points” to outliers, just because he has a hunch this is a legitimate
thing to do. Even for this president, that’s pretty nutty. It’s
certainly not what “very stable geniuses” do in response to evidence.
circling back to our coverage from several weeks ago, there’s an even
more alarming aspect to this: if Trump looks at all polling data
through an ego-boosting lens, he’ll never know when it might be wise to
After more than a year of effort, if you were a
historically unpopular president – despite a healthy economy and
generally favorable conditions – you might consider some kind of course
correction. That, however, would require a combination of effort and
the reevaluation of key assumptions. This president has no interest in
Indeed, it would also necessitate an ability to see data
as it actually exists, and we can add this to the list of things Trump
isn’t prepared to do.
Greg added, “If this trade war goes south, and the public rejects it, will Trump even know or believe that is happening?”
The answer, by all appearances, is probably not.