Wednesday, September 26, 2018

BTRTN: Sorry, Trump’s Approval Rating is Not Declining; But Kavanaugh’s is Dropping Like a Stone


Tom sets the record straight on Trump, and updates Kavanaugh’s support levels.


There was much fanfare two weeks ago when CNN announced a new poll it had just completed, which purported to show that Donald Trump’s approval rating was, at long last, declining.  The cable channel was breathless in its reporting of the findings, headlined by a 6-percentage point drop from 42% in an August CNN poll to the 36% reported on September 11.

The cable network attributed Trump’s drop to the incredible string of recent disastrous headline-toppers, including the convictions of Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, and the publicity surrounding The New York Times anonymous op-ed and excerpts from the soon-to-be-released Bob Woodward book, “Fear.”

The only problem is, the CNN pair of poll results do not conform to other polls.  That’s not to say the CNN poll was “FakeNews” – we have no problem with their polling methodology, but, as happens at times,  their results do not hang with the pack.  The other polls show a distressing consistency in Trump’s approval rating and no material diminishment.

BTRTN’s tracks Trump’s approval rating on a weekly basis, of course.  We only use the four services that do either weekly (Gallup, Reuters/IPSOS and The Economist/You Gov) or daily (Rasmussen) presidential approval polls.  Rasmussen tends to be more favorable to the GOP, Gallup tends the other way, and the other two are in the middle.  For Gallup and Reuters, we use the “All Americans” segment (which leans to the Dems), for Rasmussen “Likely Voters,” and for The Economist “Registered Voters”; the latter two tend to favor the GOP.

We use these four because they give us consistency over time, and the mix of voter pools averages out the various sampling “biases” in their results.   We do not include polls that are done sporadically, like CNN, FOX, the networks, Quinnipiac, etc.  We exclude them for week-over-week purity; because when you include them in the averages in a given week, they tend to pull the overall average in their direction, and then they disappear the next week.  If one is trying to discern trends, it is better to stick with the pollsters who do these polls every week.  It keeps the measure internally consistent week after week.

The chart below compares CNN’s poll with those of the other four during the time frames in question.  Three show no material gain or drop, Reuters shows a -3, and on average the decline was just a point, from 44% to 43% -- a far cry from CNN’s -6, and hardly headline-worthy.

TRUMP WEEKLY APPROVAL RATING

Week Ending

Poll
8/12
9/11
Change
Economist/YouGov
44
44
0
46
47
1
43
40
-3
41
40
-1
BTRTN Average
44
43
-1
42
36
-6

The unfortunate truth is that in 2018 – an incredible year of relentless revelations and controversy, hirings and firings, high hopes (North Korea) and disappointment (North Korea), Donald Trump’s weekly approval rating has remained almost completely unchanged, with a high of 46%, a low of 40%, mostly settling in the 43% range.  It is 43% now, and it has been at 43% for four consecutive weeks, through the tumult described above.  It is fair to say that the only thing stable about the Trump presidency is his approval rating.  The monthly averages, below, including September to date, show an even tighter range.

TRUMP MONTHLY APPROVAL RATING

2018

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Approve
42
43
42
42
45
43
43
43
43
Disapprove
55
54
54
54
52
53
53
53
53
Net
-13
-11
-13
-12
-7
-9
-10
-9
-10

This is not to say that Donald Trump is in good shape.  A 43% approval rating is, frankly, abysmal.  It is correlated with low GOP performance on the “generic ballot,” which has the Democrats ahead as of now by +6 points, which in turn is a wonderful predictor of seat gain/loss in the midterms, particularly in the House.  

Furthermore, it would be incredibly difficult for Trump to get re-elected with such a rating.  And Trump’s dilemma is that he has never hit the 50% mark, and his inclination to play to his conservative base means that his level of approval has a natural ceiling barely above where he is now, and below that 50% level.  That makes for tough sledding.  He is counting on huge turnout from his base to pull him through, yet every measure of “energy” suggests that the Dems are way ahead and the turnout surge will be blue, not red.

As for Kavanaugh, the trendline is quite different.   Like Trump, Kavanaugh never enjoyed full-throated support from the American people; he is Trump’s choice; he is too extreme to the right; his selection, if it occurred, too consequential; and our times are too polarized for him to score well in up/down polling. 

FOX News has been tracking Kavanaugh’s support, and as of mid-August he was at the 50% mark, about what might be expected for a hard-right GOP nominee.  But since the Blasey Ford accusations emerged, he has taken a 10-point hit, down to 40%.


poll_2a

And the verdict favors Blasey Ford on the “believability” question, albeit with many undecided.


poll_2b

This polling was done in the immediate aftermath of the charges surfacing, which occurred on September 14.  (The survey was fielded from September 16 to 19).  Since then, the news cycle has been on hyperdrive and a second accuser has emerged, with a third one promised by Michael Avanatti (today).  It is hard to imagine that Kavanaugh’s support has rebounded in the past week.





1 comment:

  1. Netflix Documentary Pick-of-the-Week: "Reversing Roe"

    http://www.netflix.com/

    I encourage all of you to watch this documentary. The film follows the strategy of the religious right to control the composition of the Supreme Court from Reagan-era through today. Trump, Kavanaugh are just cogs in the their wheel. Folks, we are in the fight of our lives. This film is illuminating. Please vote November 6, 2018.

    ReplyDelete

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