The science is settled!
There are few traits Americans share more than our love of “the underdog”.
In fact, the science on the matter is quite settled!
Put simply, most of us are uncomfortable with inequality. We think it’s wrong for one team — or one person — to have too great an advantage. So we root for the less advantaged, in the hope that the scales of justice can be righted.
In a 2007 experiment, people were presented with an imaginary contest between Team A (the favorite) and Team B (the underdog). Team B got more support until it was revealed that Team A had a much lower payroll. After that, two-thirds of the people backed Team A.
This may explain President Donald Trump’s steady and slowly rising poll numbers, despite the outrageous Democratic Party antics and the relentlessly negative press coverage that began when it was apparent he would be the 2016 GOP presidential candidate and that continues to this day.
John Hinderaker of Powerline offers this analysis:
It is unprecedented in American history, and maybe voters are starting to think the Democrats have gone too far.
No doubt the Democrats’ constant attacks, amplified every day by the press, have an effect. But at a minimum, diminishing returns seem to have set in. Today’s Rasmussen survey, the only daily presidential approval poll now functioning and the only one, to my knowledge, that currently surveys likely voters, finds President Trump with 50% approval and 49% disapproval.
His approval numbers this far in 2018 are essentially identical to President Obama’s ratings at the same point in his administration, notwithstanding Obama’s fawning press coverage.
I would argue that it isn’t so much a backlash, but that Americans see that Trump is the underdog in this situation, so they are effectively cheering him on with increasing approval.
That the leading Democrats and best known members of the American media are snobby, condescending, self-centered fabulists adds an extra layer of affection on the the public’s growing support for Trump.
Speaking only for myself (and not any other member of our superb Legal Insurrection team), the more the press goes after Trump, his personal lawyer, family members, and effective officials within his administration, the angrier I get at the press.
This is especially true when the media covers topics related to his marriage, as I believe the progressives that pose as journalists would love to see First Lady Melania divorce Trump, denying the President a critical pillar of support and the nation of one of the most gracious and effective First Ladies in its history.
Being the cat lover that I am, I admit that “Underdog” is my favorite type of canine.
For those of you who love nostalgia, I offer this homage to a cherished childhood cartoon that made a star out of “Underdog” in an episode called “Flying Sorcerers” that seems apt to share today.
Here’s a fun experiment for American journalists to try in order to reverse course and be taken more seriously by the nation. President Trump tweeted this synopsis about the missile strike targeting Syria chemical weapons facilities:
A perfectly executed strike last night. Thank you to France and the United Kingdom for their wisdom and the power of their fine Military. Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 14, 2018
“Mission Accomplished” was an obvious reference to phrase the press used to hammer former President George W. Bush with successfully, as Bush never fought back. Clearly, Trump was trolling.
The easy and fun experiment that our media could try would be to focus on facts and events: Cover Syria without histrionics, drama, or ginned-up fury over these two words. Report the facts, and let the American people make a fully-informed decision without the opinions-dressed-as-data.
Our press might be pleasantly surprised to see their own approval numbers rise, instead of continuing on their current trajectory:
— Bob Toomey (@bob_toomey) January 25, 2017
Until then, President Trump will likely fly still higher as the “Underdog”.DONATE
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