Trump’s poll ratings: As usual, no significant change

I haven’t updated for a couple of months the trends in approval ratings of President Donald Trump. I won’t waste any more pixels than it takes to say, as usual: No significant change, up or down; still “under water” (more disapprovers than approvers), but showing no durable or statistically significant movement since the early days of Trump‘s term. Here’s the full track as compiled by fivethirtyeight.com.

But there’s another, possibly biased, take on the question that separates out the views according to the patriotism of the respondents.

As I have mentioned occasionally in the past, a friend of mine is on the email list for the “Trump-Pence/ Trump Make America Great Again Committee.” He doesn’t know how or why he got on it, but he does kindly pass along for my edification some from the steady stream of the communications he receives. The latest example illustrates how seriously the team at the TP/TMAGA Committee takes the science of public opinion sampling.

A recent email to committee members claims to be intended to give recipients a chance to take a poll on how well Trump is doing in his endeavor to Make America Great Again.

I’m not an expert on the social science of opinion polling. I’m somewhat addicted to consuming poll numbers, which is only one reason I wish there were less of them. But I’m pretty sure that if you wanted to measure the president’s approval rating, and you did so by sending questionnaires to a committee of the incumbent’s strongest supporters, you might have a problem that the professionals call “biased sample.” 

In fact, as you’ll see below, the TP/TMAGA Committee argues that the only way to get an unbiased poll is to limit the sample to one’s supporters. Here’s that snippet, from the email my friend received from the MAGA Committee:

The days of accurate polling from the media are over and instead of listening to what they think, the President wants to know what YOU think. That’s why he asked us to launch an Official Weekly President Trump Tracking Poll so that we can show the President updated, accurate and UNBIASED results every week. …

The results of the last many months of such polling are displayed in the original email. While a fever chart of what are labeled “FAKE NEWS POLLS” show Trump’s approval ranging from the low to the high 30s, the same graphic displays a line labeled as representing the views of “American Patriots,” and showing the POTUS with approval ratings ranging from the low to the high 90s!!!. The email concludes:

EVERY WEEK we’re going to show the Democrats just how WRONG the Fake News polls are. We’ll have them reeling as they head into the 2020 Election.

Because this poll is only going to real American Patriots, your vote will have a HUGE impact on the results.

The President wants to know what you think, … and you don’t want to miss this chance to have your voice heard.

Tell the President what you think by casting your vote IMMEDIATELY to have your submission counted in our official results.

Thank you,

signed/Official Trump Polling Team

Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 04/16/2019 - 01:23 pm.

    ….this poll is only going to real American Patriots…

    An especially fine set of robes on the king this morning, doncha’ agree…

  2. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 04/16/2019 - 02:22 pm.

    What’s Mark Twain’s line? I’m paraphrasing: “There are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics.”

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 04/16/2019 - 06:08 pm.

      Which is true only because most people don’t understand statistics.
      Most Americans, at least, are functionally innumerate.

  3. Submitted by RB Holbrook on 04/16/2019 - 04:20 pm.

    Yes, politicians of all stripes do this, so I will spare our right-wing friends the trouble of making that comment. You’re welcome.

    I doubt that anyone* takes these surveys as any kind of measure of opinion. They are an opportunity for supporters to express their approval and their loyalty. Think of it as a high-five, likely with some money attached. A bald request for funds isn’t going to get much traction, so a little activity – checking all the appropriate boxes – helps matters along. The actual results of the survey are rightly regarded as meaningless.

    *Okay, the Fabulist-in-Chief will believe it. His willingness to believe anything flattering about him is boundless.

  4. Submitted by Connie Sullivan on 04/17/2019 - 11:18 am.

    Trump’s people are covering all their bases, though!

    Yesterday I got a big Trump campaign mailing, complete with a flaming red plastic MAGA membership card and key-chain fob, with a fervent pitch that I contribute $5, “or even $5,000,” to Trump’s campaign.

    I am a solid Democrat, as I’m sure they know.

    Although I once liked William Weld as a thinking Republican, and think I’ll contribute something to his newly-announced GOP primary challenge to Trump. In the past 50 or 60 years, an incumbent president who was challenged from within his own party in the primaries always lost in the general election–or, he resigned from the race entirely (LBJ’s choice in 1968).

    We csn’t have too many ways to defeat Trump in 2020!

  5. Submitted by Curtis Senker on 04/19/2019 - 09:04 am.

    10 days ago, the latest poll for Gallup had Trump’s approval at 45%, disapproval at 51%. The trending was headed in Trump’s favor.

    Today, Rasmussen has him at 49% approval, 51% disapproval.
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/trump_administration/trump_approval_index_history

    As has been noted, Trump’s numbers are pretty stable, but they are definitely trending up.

    The reason I even bothered to check today is, I’m interested in seeing the effect the inevitable tsunami of show trials the leftist House of Rep’s will be convening now that the Mueller report has been released, and failed to live up to their fever dreams.

    Although I aver there is enough wiggle room contained in the report’s verbiage to give the left a plausible excuse to talk to Mueller, the wild eyed frenzy with which they will pursue the flimsiest of evidence will, I believe, be seen for the petty harassment it is, and put Trump above water for the first time, and just in time for the 2020 elections.

    • Submitted by Mark Gruben on 04/19/2019 - 08:32 pm.

      I’ve been closely monitoring the various polls since Trump took office, using the RealClearPolitics website, which gives individual polling numbers as well as a group average. His poll numbers have been persistently low and fairly steady over the past two years, and because he’s such a polarizing figure, I think he’ll remain under water to the bitter end. And the overall trend from Gallup alone tends to bear this out. As you stated, Trump was at 45% and 51% earlier this month. But Gallup had him at 44% and 52% in early February, and he fell to 39% and 57% in March; clearly, he’s not “trending up.” In fact, his numbers have fluctuated more in the past six months than at any comparable time in the past two years, which suggests a certain ambivalence about his performance. As for Rasmussen, because of their polling methodology, their numbers generally stand apart from those of other polls, and in Trump’s favor. As a result, the overall poll average is skewed slightly in his favor as well. Despite this, it’s clear that a lot more people disapprove of Trump than approve of him, which doesn’t bode well for his chances in 2020.

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