The latest fake news from the Trump propaganda network? That his polling numbers are better than President Obama’s:
The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That's higher than O's #'s!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2017
Sigh. Just three weeks ago, he did the same thing, touting Rasmussen poll numbers that were wildly out of sync with every other legitimate poll out there. And we asked the question, is he too dense or too crooked to tell the truth? Looks like the most reasonable answer is “both.”
How do you measure Trump’s approval rating?
If you ask 500 people what they think of Trump’s performance, and then a few hours later, you ask 500 different people, will their results be the same? Of course not. The differences are called the “margin of error.” But if you average out a lot of polls taken over a range of dates, you will get a fairly honest measurement of what people really think.
So let’s look at Trump’s approval ratings over all public opinion polls. These are collated regularly by RealClearPolitics.com and FiveThirtyEight.com. According to FiveThirtyEight, Trump’s job approval rating is 38.7%, more than 16 points below his disapproval rating. Check out the graphic below showing how they got this number. You will find almost the same result from RealClearPolitics, too:
You see how much those dots bounce around? That’s the nature of working with real measurements. Different opinion polls ask different questions at different times and call different people, so of course, no two of them will give exactly the same results. The question is, what do you do with them?
An honest scientist will look at all those points and report the averages over time, which represents the most reliable estimate of what Americans are really thinking. A dishonest crook or an ignoramus will cherry pick the numbers he likes best because he has an agenda to promote.
What’s up with Rasmussen’s approval ratings?
Look at Rasmussen’s report of a tied 50-50 approval/disapproval point in the graphic above. Do you really believe that captures the approval rating across America? Hell no.
CNN dug into Rasmussen’s polling two months ago, when they also reported that Trump’s approval rating was tied at 50% approving, 50% disapproving. There are a lot of reasons to doubt that Rasmussen is really reporting the pulse of the average American. Briefly, they are completely opaque about how they do their polling.
They don’t tell you how they choose “likely voters.” They use robocalls instead of real people to ask the questions. They only call land lines. The latter two disproportionally favors older (and therefore more conservative) people, and for all we know, they are choosing political Conservatives to call in the first place.
That’s probably why their numbers bounce around so much and keep coming up higher than just about every other poll out there. Now, putting on our scientist caps again, do we have any reason to believe their polling data over everyone else?
No. But, Trump says, Rasmussen was the most accurate poll in the 2016 election. Whoop-dee-doo. Even a stopped clock keeps the right time twice a day. If you look at that clock one time and it happens to be correct, would you go around telling everyone else to believe your clock over their own?
Trump cherry-picked his facts
Honestly, the most galling part of Trump’s tweet is his claim that his public opinion polling is higher than Obama’s. Rasmussen has posted their daily tracking polls for Mr. Obama, for anyone to see. Here they are, compared to Trump’s since he took office:
Whoops. Obama outperformed Trump by at least 5 points during every one of their first 146 days. And on average, Obama’s approval rating was 9% higher.
Now, over his whole 8-year tenure, Obama averaged a 48.8% job approval, according to Rasmussen. So yes, for one whole day, Trump had a job approval rating that was higher than Obama’s average. Oh, and two whole days in April.
All told, according to Trump’s “gold standard” of approval ratings, he has been above 50% for 38 out of 146 days. Obama was above 50% for every single one of those. You tell us, even if you are a die-hard Trump fan, does that mean that his approval ratings are higher than Obama’s?
If you say yes, you need to go back to 1st-grade math. I know because I just asked my first grader and he said: “Are you kidding me?”
Trump’s cherry picking is the actual fake news
It’s bad enough that Trump firmly believes his fan base is too gullible or lazy to look anything up for themselves. And it is even worse that he made this clearly pants-on-fire style lie.
But the most galling part of this is that just days before, he whined on twitter “Fake News is at an all time high. Where is their apology to me for all of the incorrect stories???” followed by “The Fake News Media hates when I use what has turned out to be my very powerful Social Media – over 100 million people! I can go around them”.
Just look at how he intentionally misquoted London’s mayor after the last terror attack. Or how he keeps touting how he has triggered massive job growth, despite the fact that jobs are hemorrhaging all over the economy. The list goes on and on. And by the way, his staff uses fake news to steer him all the time.
Trump boasting his use of social media to spread it shows that he is spreading “fake news” on purpose, to go around any fact checking and editorial control. He claims the media is the “enemy of the American people” but he’s the one lying the most.
Has he ever apologized to us? As if.
He can’t admit he told a lie even when presented with a mountain of unequivocal video evidence. That is the sign of a fundamentally crooked man. And the fact that he is so utterly convinced that he will always get away with it shows that he is a fundamentally stupid one, as well.