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Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Why approval numbers mean nothing

Matt Drudge linked this story:
That's nice, but it does not matter.

On Election Day, Gallup reported that Donald Trump had the highest unfavorables ever for a presidential nominee. A whopping 61% of the nation had an unfavorable opinion of him.

Nevertheless, they went to the polls and elected him president.

He carried more states than Barack Obama ever did.

Four years earlier, 55% of the nation had a favorable opinion of Mitt Romney. He still lost.

Look at Congress. An average of polls shows 65.5% of the country disapproves of Congress.

But on Election Day, the nation re-elected 97% of the members of the House and 87% of the senators seeking re-election.

How's that go again? Everyone hates Congress but loves their congressman.

Approval ratings are sophist. They seem to be related to election but they aren't because the results do not match the predictions.

For example, according to Hillary was "only" disliked by 52% of the country, which was 9 points better than President Trump.

Yet she lost because there were other factors involved, including anger with Washington, anger with the media, and the fact that her whole campaign was based on her being a woman.

Think about that for a moment. She ran against a nominee who was more disliked, she spent twice as much money, and the media had her back. Yet, Hillary suffered the worst defeat of a Democratic presidential nominee since Dukakis.

Her problem was she had no message, and he did.

So why do approval ratings not matter?

With congressmen, it is simple. People understand that their senator represents only one of 100 people.

Plus, party preference matters. If you are a Democrat, you stay true to Nancy Pelosi. If you are a Republican, you stay true to Paul Ryan. For people unattached to either party, they tend to go along with the incumbent.

For presidents, it gets complicated. Party affiliation matters. With Obama, race mattered because black support boosted approval ratings above 50%.

Then there is personality, or rather media perception. The media glorified Obama as a witty, urbane intellectual. He was none of that. Democrats marketed him well. The media makes Trump out to be a buffoon, lout, and now, traitorous tool of the tsar of Russia,

Plus when it comes to the presidency, people are not approving the job but rather unrelated matters.

Presidents do not draft or pass laws. Congresses do. And yet we call it Obamacare, and conservatives blame President Trump now for its existence.

What presidents do, though does matter. Get foreign policy right, and people love you. Foreign policy got Nixon elected, and Carter dis-elected.

But a lot of what a president does goes unrewarded (or punished) because people do not seem to understand just exactly what a president can do.

Consider for a moment executive orders. As chief executive of the United States government, President Trump is supposed to give civil servants orders on how to carry out laws.

But Marxist judges in Hawai'i and other benighted places ignored the Constitution, and stopped his action. Because they are judges, many people believe them over him.

However, those who do believe that do not matter. In fact, most of his critics do not matter because Trump's voters ignored the media, the critics, and the experts and elected him.

The stock market is a better indicator of whether he is re-elected. So is foreign policy.

We shall see how this works out, but remember Trump the Populist has never been all that popular.

His policies have.

And those policies elected him. They matter, not approval numbers.

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This is the sequel to "Trump the Press," which covered the nomination. The original -- "Trump the Press" -- is available on Kindle, or in paperback on Amazon.

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  1. Hillary's ahead by 12 points. About to win in a landslide.

    1. Which landslide took her into the Slough of Despond.

  2. The polls don't remove someone from office -- which means they can go up and down while a president goes about his business. What does matter, though, is the amount of pressure from the perceptions triggered by the popularity polls on a president's allies, meaning his own party -- and if every Republican in Congress starts acting with the blatant hatred of McCain for Trump (because the polls reassure them Trump is as bad as they always figured), the whole country can lose (and those who support the agenda don't get it).

    Republicans are more independent than lock-step Democrats, which means they're more willing to disagree with a Republican president ... but the worst thing about the "Stupid" Party (and I say that as a registered Republican) is that too many of the Beltway group are very much concerned with what the Democrat Media Complex thinks and wants to make nice with them. Polls are more important for Republican presidents, but they don't remove him from office themselves, so he can always turn them around (and win re--election!!).

    1. Republicans and the media: an unrequited love.

      I have no idea why the keep try to please people who have absolutely no use for them.

  3. Nicely put.

    And, of course, a lot of how a President is viewed is how the media treats him.

    There are, of course, exceptions.

  4. Narrative is key, just remember how many times with Obama that we heard polls showed people thought his policies sucked, but they still liked him. It was a huge disconnect (I still think a lot of it was people just unwilling to say they were against the black guy; and that should have been partitioned with questions designed for social bias). If I want nice, but unprepared and unqualified, I'll elect one of my neighbors.

  5. At the election, Trump was the unpopular but efficacious antibiotic; Clinton was the innocuous but useless placebo.

    In the middle of the Leftism plague, America went with the obvious choice.

  6. Russian Rhodes Brother Russell G.April 6, 2017 at 5:53 AM

    Polls, smoles. Until they call aunt Marge, or one of the guys at the Shell station, they're going to get it wrong. Right now N8Ag is developing a model for presidential approval and hurricane activity. (we'll get some, sometime, says all the crackers in my neighborhood)

    O/T: Something's up with Drudge. It's almost as if he's become a Rovian snake oil salesman. He's giving interviews, all the links direct to #fakenewsOldmedia, and he's Bannon bashing like a stoned democrat (but I repeat myself). Clickthroughs? AMA whiteboard?

    Everyday has become Roswell.

  7. The only poll result I trust is Ginger vs. Mary Ann. The rest of em can go to hell