The Teflon Don?
If we judged elections that are over a year (congressional midterms) and three years (presidential) away based on current approval ratings and popularity polling, Donald Trump would seem done for.
Indeed, that is the prevailing media narrative.
Though there was a recent blip upward, Trumps favorability and job approval numbers are poor.
Here is a chart of Trump’s job approval ratings from 538 based on a composite of all polls:
Here is a Real Clear Politics chart of favorability, a slightly different measure but clocking in very close to job approval numbers:
This is giving Democrats and The Resistance much cheer. But the people who do internal polling, voter interviewing and focus groups for Democrats don’t have much cheer. What do they know that the public polling about approval and favorability are not telling us?
Politico reports, Teflon Don confounds Democrats:
Data from a range of focus groups and internal polls in swing states paint a difficult picture for the Democratic Party heading into the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election. It suggests that Democrats are naive if they believe Trump’s historically low approval numbers mean a landslide is coming….
The research, conducted by private firms and for Democratic campaign arms, is rarely made public but was described to POLITICO in interviews with a dozen top operatives who’ve been analyzing the results coming in.
“If that’s the attitude that’s driving the Democratic Party, we’re going to drive right into the ocean,” said Anson Kaye, a strategist at media firm GMMB who worked on the Obama and Clinton campaigns and is in conversations with potential clients for next year.
Worse news, they worry: Many of the ideas party leaders have latched onto in an attempt to appeal to their lost voters — free college tuition, raising the minimum wage to $15, even Medicare for all — test poorly among voters outside the base. The people in these polls and focus groups tend to see those proposals as empty promises, at best.
Pollsters are shocked by how many voters describe themselves as “exhausted” by the constant chaos surrounding Trump, and they find that there’s strong support for a Congress that provides a check on him rather than voting for his agenda most of the time. But he is still viewed as an outsider shaking up the system, which people in the various surveys say they like, and which Democrats don’t stack up well against.
This could reflect that the unprecedented media, Democrat and NeverTrump Republican attacks are not working, and may be backfiring. Sure, people may say they don’t like the job Trump is doing and may view him unfavorably, but guess what?
Trump’s favorability rating on Election Day 2016 was almost precisely what it is now (a point worse, actually).
This is a good opportunity for me to repeat what I wrote in late July, Media overplaying its anti-Trump hand – statistics and an anecdote about a lifelong Democrat:
… I had a conversation today that anecdotally supports how out of touch the media is.
The conversation was with someone I’ve known for almost 20 years. He’s a lifelong Rhode Islander and Democrat who has expressed strong hostility to me toward Trump in the past. We speak every couple of months, and I’ve never heard him say a good word about Trump.
The political part of the conversation started by him asking me how the blog was going, and how we must be busy with all the Trump stuff. I was non-committal, something along the lines of “sure, things are always busy.” I fully expected a truck load of anti-Trump stuff to be dumped on me next. But that didn’t happen.
He then volunteered how frustrated he was with the media, and how they “won’t let Trump do his job.” He said he still doesn’t like Trump, but was very angry at the media particularly the Russia coverage. He said (paraphrasing), give me a break with that meeting, if someone offered any campaign dirt on their opponent, of course they’d take it. The conversation continued for several minutes along the same lines, but he kept coming back to Trump not being permitted to “do his job.”
It’s just an anecdote. But it’s meaningful to me because this friend was the last person I would have expected to have such a reaction to media coverage of Trump.
Between the statistical disconnect between media coverage and what matters to people, and this anecdote, I think 2018 may not be the Democrat romp many people are predicting.
It seems that the Dem pollsters, interviewers and focus-groupers were talking to people like my friend. My conversation may have been anecdotal, but enough anecdotes make for a Democrat problem.
Victor Davis Hansen has a great post at National Review, Two Resistances. The basic thesis is that the Media-Dem-NeverTrump Resistance gets all the attention, but the real resistance is an uprising against elites, so much so that Trump is an acceptable antidote:
Yet in contrast to the media-driven “Resistance,” there is a more authentic ongoing resistance that Trump himself capitalized on, but hardly originated. It is a pushback against the corporate and government conglomerate of identity-politics McCarthyism, and elite coastal globalism, in which everything from going to a football game and hearing the national anthem, to watching a tennis match, to visiting a cemetery or park, to keeping up with the news of horrific weather devastation is calibrated by politics. Or rather what bothers most Americans is politics now defined as nonstop sermonizing in which a rich athlete, a Pajama Boy activist, a demagogic politician, or a quarter-educated billionaire movie star lectures less fortunate Americans on the various deplorable racists, sexists, homophobes, and Islamophobes among them.
There is a populist and growing resistance to the Orwellian idea that free speech is hate speech, that equality of opportunity is defined only by equality of result, and that identity politics determines the degree of government-mandated penance and reparations….
And sometimes they vote for flawed candidates like Donald Trump, whose virtue of saying almost anything to anyone at any time is considered a sort of harsh medicine that targets the malady of identity-driven political correctness, a chemotherapy to stop metastasizing malignancy.
So there’s something going on here that the Dem insiders are picking up that rings true: People don’t have to like Trump to vote for him. And the more people attack him hysterically and unreasonably, the more they help him.DONATE
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