Donald Trump keeps insisting on Twitter that his historically low poll numbers are now fantastic. In fact he’s insisting that he’s now more popular than President Obama. The mainstream media has done virtually nothing to dispute Trump’s claims about the polls, which has left the American public with the general perception that Trump’s popularity is in fact improving. SNL even acknowledged Trump’s supposedly strong poll numbers last night. There’s just one thing: the numbers don’t lie, and Trump’s poll numbers are still in the gutter.
The key to understanding polls is that you never, ever, ever rely on just one poll number. If you want legitimate analysis of the polls, you start by averaging the recent poll numbers from the various major polling outlets. Sites like RealClearPolitics and FiveThirtyEight have different ideas about how those numbers should be averaged, but the bottom line is that no serious political analyst is ever going to quote just one poll number and pretend it has any meaning. So let’s look at Trump’s current average.
Six months ago, the average of the major polls had Donald Trump’s approval rating at right around forty percent. As of today, the average of all the major polls (excluding the infamously illegitimate Rasmussen poll) pegs Trump’s approval rating at 43%. That’s an increase of three points in six months, which is within the margin of error for most of these polls. In other words, this is either a minor uptick or no improvement at all.
Polls fluctuate without a good reason. Minor movement is to be ignored. Donald Trump has almost single handedly created the false narrative that his poll numbers are solid, and he’s done it by strictly quoting the aforementioned Rasmussen poll, which might as well be fiction. The mainstream media likes to go through cycles of falsely characterizing minor and meaningless poll fluctuations as supposed evidence that Trump’s popularity is improving or worsening, because it makes for better ratings than simply admitting that Trump is stuck in the same rut he’s always been stuck in. In any case, his current poll numbers are still in the gutter, and they’re historically a terrible sign for his party in the November elections.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report