For anyone following the news, and not getting buried under the weight of whatever Donald Trump’s latest scandal happens to be – looking at his approval ratings has to be especially frustrating. Most aggregates consistently show Trump’s approval at about 42% favorability, regardless of whatever idiotic thing he does. The last time it dropped sharply was about a year ago, when Trump dragged his feet during the longest government shutdown in history.
Regardless of how you read the polls, Trump has never held a solid 50% approval rating after nearly four years of his farcical presidency – something other presidents typically enjoy right after being sworn in. Generally 50% or higher means you’re a safe bet for re-election, and if you’re as vain and self-absorbed as Donald Trump is, you’re probably obsessed with high poll numbers, so you take them where you can get them – when you’re not outright inventing them.
Now, Trump’s about to get some news that’s even worse. Two pollsters from FiveThirtyEight suspect that his approval ratings may be even worse than what’s being reported. Rather than ask respondents whether they approve or disapprove of Trump’s performance – a question that would force them to take sides, they asked them to rank Donald Trump compared to several prominent Republicans – former presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, former governor Sarah Palin, the late John McCain as well as Mike Pence.
The respondents, likely voters, were surveyed back in 2018 before the midterms, and again just after Trump’s impeachment. While Republican-leaning respondents typically ranked Trump just after Reagan, and Democrats ranked him lowest, independents typically ranked Trump at the bottom of the list, tied with Pence and Palin. Palin’s favorability ratings when polled are typically worse than Trump’s – with an approval rating of around 30%. They also found in the recent survey that he ranked less favorably than Pence – who he seems to regularly be at odds with. Considering that polling already establishes Trump as the least popular incumbent Republican since President Ford who went on to lose his election, and his failure to make inroads with the voters he needs to win re-election, it’s understandable why he has to keep lying about his popularity.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making