You wouldn’t know it from watching or reading the mainstream media, but President Trump’s approval rating as he nears the end of his first year in office is virtually tied with that of former president Barack Obama’s at the same time in his first term.
On December 29, 2009, 46% of voters approved of the job Obama was doing, while 53% disapproved. For Trump the numbers are 45-53, according to the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll.
But again, don’t look for that story in the MSM. CNN on Friday went with “Trump tweet suggests climate change could be good,” and “17 strangest lines from Trump’s visit to a fire station.” The Washington Post topped its website with “White House pursues internal changes amid worries about a difficult year ahead,” while The New York Times hyped a story headline, “Trump Veers Away From 70 Years of U.S. Foreign Policy.”
As he often does, Trump sidestepped the media to point out the news.
The MSM media, of course, made efforts to disparage the poll.
“The Rasmussen poll is somewhat of an outlier, though,” Politico reported. “Of the 12 polls that go into the RealClearPolitics polling average of the president’s approval rating, the 46 percent in Rasmussen’s poll was the highest score Trump earned, 3 points better than his next best score.
“Overall, the RealClearPolitics polling average shows Trump with a 39.3 percent approval rating and a 56.2 disapproval rating, historically poor numbers for a president at this point in his first term. Obama, in late December of his first year in office, had an average approval rating of 49.9 percent, according to the RealClearPolitics polling average, and a disapproval rating of 44.5 percent.”
Newsweak — er, Newsweek — did the same.
“TRUMP APPROVAL RATING SAME AS OBAMA AFTER FIRST YEAR, AT LEAST ACCORDING TO ONE POLL,” yelled the headline.
Said The Washington Post: “Trump celebrates tying Obama’s approval rating in Trump’s friendliest poll.”
You will note, though, that this data includes only polls from Rasmussen Reports. That’s … important.
Why? Because Rasmussen Reports includes only likely voters in its polling, a group that tends to skew more heavily Republican, since Republicans tend to vote more regularly. Rasmussen’s results, therefore, are generally more friendly to Republican candidates — and Republican presidents.
Another metric to use when considering a poll number over time is an average of polls on that subject. When we say “another metric,” you should go ahead and read that as “a better metric,” since poll averages smooth out outlier polls that show unusually high support or opposition to a candidate. If we look at the RealClearPolitics average of Trump approval polls vs. Obama’s, we see a different picture. Trump is about 10 points behind where Obama was at this point in his first year.
If only the MSM would put this kind of effort into getting to the bottom of all the Hillary Clinton and Democratic scandals, right?