Trump is Popping in the Polls
Watch most cable or network news shows and the message is clear -- President Donald Trump is unpopular, especially compared to the dozens of fresh faces attempting to challenge him for the White House in 2020. Some of the faces are not so fresh as three of the leading contenders -- Biden, Sanders, and Warren are septuagenarians.
Despite the exonerating Mueller report, Trump is still on the ropes, about to be impeached, a Russian agent, and so on. Trump is also a Nazi, racist, homophobe, Islamophobe, and sexist pig. Nobody likes him. At least that’s what CNN says.
If this was truly the case, Trump should be polling in the low 30s at best, with most of the country giving him and his administration a thumbs down on performance and results. Yet reality is far different. In the media bubble, where journalists all live in the same neighborhoods, kids attend the same schools, all go to the same parties and belong to the same tennis and fitness clubs, there are no MAGA hats to be seen.
Outside the bubble, the picture is far different, even if the smart set at MSNBC and the New York Times choose not to see it. What do opinion polls say?
Rasmussen has the well-deserved reputation as the most accurate pollster, based on being the closest of all major polling organization in predicting the results of the 2016 presidential election.
In their daily presidential tracking poll, as of Friday April 5, President Trump had a 51 percent total approval number. Most of this calendar year, despite the constant drumbeat of Russian collusion, his approval number has been in the mid to high 40s, ranging from a low of 43 percent to a high of 52 percent since January 1.
For comparison, President Obama, exactly eight years ago on April 5, 2011, was at 47 percent approval, with numbers ranging from the mid to high 40s, occasionally hitting 50 percent, much the same as President Trump.
At first glance, one might say both presidents were equally popular at the same points of their respective presidencies. And both went on to be reelected for a second term. Fair enough -- but there is more.
What shapes public opinion in significant part? The media. What has the media’s role been in influencing opinion during the Obama versus Trump presidencies?
Media coverage of President Trump has been almost exclusively negative. NewsBusters reported 90 percent negative coverage of Trump during 2018, matching similarly negative coverage in 2017. But without effect, as they note.
At the midpoint of Donald Trump’s first term, the establishment media’s obvious hostility shows no signs of relenting, but polls show this negative coverage has had no discernible impact on the public’s attitudes toward the President.
According to Pew Research, another polling firm, news stories about Trump were only 5 percent positive in 2017, compared to 42 percent positive for President Obama in 2009. And yet in public opinion polls such as Rasmussen, the two presidents poll similarly, with Trump having a slight edge.
It’s not just Trump. George W. Bush had 22 percent positive media coverage with Bill Clinton at 27 percent positive. It’s more than clear that Obama was the media’s favorite with Trump being their redheaded stepchild.
Imagine Trump’s approval ratings if he had media coverage similar to that of his predecessor? I realize that could not happen, as most of the mainstream media and the Democratic Party are one and the same. But if Trump had 42 percent positive coverage as did Obama, his approval number would likely be at 60 percent or higher.
Do the recent midterm elections provide any clues as to Trump’s prospects of reelection in 2020? The Washington Post surprisingly acknowledged, “If the midterms were a referendum, Trump won.” CNN had a similar take on the midterms, “President Donald Trump's poll numbers are bad, but here's why he could win in 2020.”
CNN did something most out of character, they cited a Fox News Poll. Normally they are quite critical of Fox, partially out of ratings envy and partially because they believe Fox, Trump, and Russia are the triumvirate of illegal collusion. But said poll from a month after the midterms found that only 39 percent of voters think Trump will be reelected.
That’s not at all surprising if you get your news from CNN, MSNBC, or any of the other major networks, or if you read the New York Times or Washington Post, and hear a constant drumbeat of Trump negativity, including predictions of his imminent indictment and impeachment for being a Russian agent and a traitor.
As some point, readers and listeners begin believing that Trump’s days are numbered. It’s the Stockholm syndrome for those of us held hostage by the mainstream media.
Even Trump himself admitted before the 2016 election, “That like many in the country and worldwide, he ‘sort of’ thought he was going to lose.” Why not? Trump is a news junkie and he heard the same claptrap from the media that the rest of us hear every day. Sure, he had his own internal polling, but when every news show on TV and every newspaper predicts Hillary Clinton winning in a landslide, even candidate Trump believed it to some degree.
In fleeting moments of honesty, some news organizations admit the obvious. From the Atlantic, “Why Trump is the favorite in 2020.” Or from another far-left news outlet the Daily Beast, “Trump should have a 70 percent chance of winning in 2020.”
His recent Rasmussen numbers are optimistic, but don’t expect Trump to be complacent, and neither should his supporters. His campaign organization now has a winning election under its belt and will be even more formidable in 2020 compared to 2016. The Democratic field of challengers are hacks who don’t hold a candle to Trump in terms of charisma and connection to the voters. Their ideas are as stale as month-old Russian borscht, resurrected from the grand ideas of the old Soviet Politburo, with some Democrat candidates as old as the last general secretaries of the Soviet Union.
Much can happen between now and November 2020, but if Trump pushes onward with his agenda, he will be tough to beat. The nail in the Democratic coffin is Trump building the wall, stopping illegal immigration, declassifying the FISA warrants, and punishing those who seditiously lied to Congress, the courts, and the American people.
This election is his to lose and despite the incessant whinging from Democrats and the media, his poll numbers and momentum favor a big win in 2020.
Brian C Joondeph, MD, MPS, a Denver based physician and writer. Follow him on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.