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What National Polling Doesn’t Consider About Trump’s Approval Ratings

What National Polling Doesn’t Consider About Trump’s Approval Ratings

Where is Trump’s support the strongest?

Much like the Bush 43 years, the media tirelessly covers Trump’s national approval ratings. Six months into his presidency and nationally, Trump has an approval rating hovering around 40%.

But how do Trump supporters think he’s faring?

A poll conducted by NBC and the Wall Street Journal found the president’s approval rating at 50% in “Trump counties” or counties he carried in the 2016 election.

NBC reports:

Fifty percent of adults in these counties — consisting of Republicans, Democrats and independents — approve of the president’s job performance (including 29 percent who strongly approve), while 46 percent disapprove (including 35 percent who do so strongly).

By comparison, last month’s national NBC/WSJ poll had Trump’s overall approval rating at 40 percent.

The poll’s sample was taken from 439 counties in 16 states — Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — that either flipped from Barack Obama to Trump, or where Trump greatly outpaced Mitt Romney’s performance in 2012.

The polling also compared “flip” counties (counties that supported Obama but then supported Trump) against “surge” counties (counties where Trump significantly outperformed Romney) and found that in “flip” counties, Trump has a 56% approval rating compared to 44% in surge counties. Both significantly ahead of the national average.

But there’s a significant difference in Trump’s approval rating in the these two kinds of Trump counties.

In the Trump “surge counties” (for example: Carbon, Pa., where Trump won 65 percent to 31 percent, versus Romney’s 53-45 percent margin) — 56 percent of residents approve of the president’s job performance.

Trump beat Hillary Clinton in these “surge” areas nationwide by a combined 65 percent-to-29 percent margin in 2016.

According to the Real Clear Politics average, Trump’s approval rating has hovered around 40% since taking office.

And this is what national approval polls fail to consider — the very support that helped catapult Trump into the White House remains strong and much stronger than national averages conducted either at random or from coastal populations.

Less than stellar national polling might make for good headlines for media looking for “see, TRUMP IS THE WORST” readings in the tea leaves, but it’s certainly not the whole story, nor is it the most relevant.

Follow Kemberlee on Twitter @kemberleekaye


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All polls are meaningless if the poll over samples one party or another.

Optimists. It’s too early to tell if he will or can follow through on his vision. The former only he knows and the latter is hampered by special interests, domestic and foreign.

Paul In Sweden | July 17, 2017 at 1:36 pm

The national polls show that Trump can’t possible be POTUS.

There are lies, damned lies, and statistics polls.

A media-commissioned poll being reported on by the media. And we should believe this why?

Exactly, Kemberlee. I thought this same thing while reading the Rasmussen pole linked by Drudge this morning. Minus the graphs over there and most of those analytical words. When I glanced at the graphs, I laughed. For all is well. They’re asking the people we’ve made miserable on purpose how they feel. And it cheers me that they feel miserable. And I do hope it gets much worse for them. I want them to be perfectly miserable. So keep the bogus polls rolling. It’s fun watching them squirm.

Because they’re even worse when they win.

All those hopes and dreams, all those careers, all that undeserved elitism and smugness smashed to smithereens puts a very broad smile on my face and fills me with effervescent glee. Yes, this is how it should be.

But why all the polls? To tell us what they find in their own bellybutton.

24/7/365 Trump bashing and they still can’t make a dent in his support. Imagine if they would stop their manufactured outrage and cover real news with some semblance of balance?

All they have to know is what they’ll never admit—that Trump’s Approval Rating is strongest in America.

Pelosi Schmelosi | July 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

I got a poll result for ya right here:
Hillary Clinton will never ever be President.

Only poll that mattes is one that asks whether people who voted for him regret it.

It’s a full year before the 2018 campaign. During that time, the economy will continue its present trend, or it won’t. The Middle East will continue it’s present trend, or it won’t. Europe will continue to be troubled, or it won’t

If current trends continue, the democrats are in big trouble.

Look at it this way… in 2020, boy aren’t they going to be surprised.

They have become parodies of themselves.

A bit more analytical analysis, for those of you who can deal with it…

The trend is not the friend of the T-rumpian cult.

    Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | July 17, 2017 at 11:15 pm

    Read it and critique it.

    Or don’t, and just chant NA,NA,NA…I can’t HEAR you…!!!

    We’ll use it as a sorter…of sorts…

    Thank you for proving Kemberlee’s point.

    “Less than stellar national polling might make for good headlines for media insane NeverTrumpers looking for “see, TRUMP IS THE WORST” readings in the tea leaves, but it’s certainly not the whole story, nor is it the most relevant.”

      Ragspierre in reply to SDN. | July 18, 2017 at 6:26 am

      I didn’t “prove Kemberlee’s point”. I expanded on the issue.

      “There are none soooooo blind as…”

VaGentleman | July 18, 2017 at 6:16 am

If Trump’s poll numbers go to 0, he will still be president. In re the presidency, the only poll that mattered was on Nov 8, 2016. Some of us participated in that poll and some sat it out. If those who sat it out cared about who won, they should have participated. The next poll that matters will be on Nov 3, 2020.

Every election is about choosing the best among the candidates. For conservatives, Trump was the best choice on Nov 8. No one, especially his critics, has shown that there was a better option. Those who voted for him have no reason to be ashamed or to allow themselves to be shamed.

    Ragspierre in reply to VaGentleman. | July 18, 2017 at 7:42 am

    “If Trump’s poll numbers go to 0, he will still be president. In re the presidency, the only poll that mattered was on Nov 8, 2016.”

    This is silly chin-music from a cultist.

    Any POTUS has to have political capital, as well as the power of the office. Without that, the use of official power is circumscribed…or even made practically useless.

    Recognizing and dealing with reality is a conservative characteristic. A recent suggestion by one writer was along the lines of, “What if T-rump refrained from tweeting about anything but official POTUS stuff for a month? Would his poll numbers go up?”

    I’d bet they would. T-rump is POTUS. He makes the choice every day to be presidential or not. Polls might help him make the right choice. Every. Day.

    It’s one thing to expend political capital on a principled stand.

    It’s another to piss it away in tantrums and pique.

      VaGentleman in reply to Ragspierre. | July 19, 2017 at 1:50 am

      rags says: “Recognizing and dealing with reality is a conservative characteristic.”

      If you want to use recognition of and dealing with reality as a test of conservativism, I’ll play.
      1- on Nov 8, 2016 there was an election for POTUS. (reality)
      2- the election was to elect a human being who would govern the country for 4 years. (reality)
      3- there were 2 viable candidates (Trump and Clinton) who split 94.3% of the vote. (reality)
      4- one of them would win. (reality)
      5- they were not politically equal, therefore one of them was better for conservativism. (reality) (the inequality can be demonstrated: does anyone believe Clinton would have appointed a Gorsuch?)

      Reality based question – who was the better choice for conservativism, Trump or Clinton?
      It’s a simple one word answer.
      I say Trump was better.
      Who does rags say was better?

I found Nat Silver’s post-election polls analysis to be quite amusing. He demonstrated that the weekend polls just before the election were accurate and well inside their margins of error in calling the results. He was wholly correct about that.

What remained unaddressed was that that polls had shown themselves wholly useless as predictive statistics. Of what value is polling when it is meaningless – right up to the point where it can no longer matter?

Also unaddressed was that the error in the margins of error all pointed in the same, wrong direction. That, my good sir, is not statistical error: it’s statistical bias.