For the last two months, 90% of the published presidential job-approval surveys have had Trump hovering at a level 38-40%, and he’s insisted they are all fake news. But now, the only opinion poll that he believes is looking just as bad, if not worse.
For Trump, Rasmussen’s opinion polls can do no wrong
It’s no secret that Trump swears by Rasmussen Reports‘ approval ratings and polling data. During the campaign, he continually boasted about their election projections, since they were (just about) the only game in town that projected him beating Hillary Clinton. And after the election, he’s lumped together any other poll as “fake news.”
The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017
Last month, when every other reputable national poll had his presidential approval ratings hovering around 39%, he tweeted out Rasmussen’s one-day measurement of 50% as a major crowning achievement, even going so far as to lie that his numbers were better than Obama’s.
CNN dug into Rasmussen’s polling three months ago, and 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, and they only call land lines. Those latter two disproportionally favors older respondents, which have a natural bias toward the politically conservative.
But let’s ignore all that for a moment.
Trump swears by Rasmussen, so here’s what their approval ratings have to say.
We made the following graphic from Rasmussen’s historical opinion poll for Trump’s job approval.
Obviously, it bounces around a lot, which shows why one-day blips in daily opinion polls really can’t be trusted. In the last 4 months (120 days), Rasmussen’s opinion polls have shown Trump at or above a 50% approval rating just 5 times. No one in their right mind could say those were triumphant successes.
Now, look at the average trend of these data, shown by the gray curve. There are just as many days when the daily polling goes 3-4 points higher as it goes lower, which is why the real “fake news” is how Trump only talks about those high points. More relevant to this story, when Rasmussen’s data are considered in the long term, the trend is unambiguous: Trump’s job approval rating, as measured by the only opinion poll he trusts, has been steadily falling ever since he took office. And it is now at its lowest level ever.
But it gets much worse.
Rasmussen’s opinion poll shows that Trump’s strongest support is crashing, too.
This graphic shows what Rasmussen calls their “Approval Index.” It measures the balance of how many respondents strongly approve of the President’s performance, versus those who strongly disapprove.
When Trump took office, 38% of respondents said they strongly approved of his performance, while 36% said the opposite. Those nearly-equal numbers yielded an Approval Index of +2. Meanwhile, on July 14th, the number of respondents who strongly approved of Trump’s job performance sank 11 points to 27%, while those who strongly disapproved has grown 12 points to 48%.
With an approval-index value of -21, that means that these days, almost twice as many Americans strongly disapprove of Trump’s performance as those who strongly support him.
Once again, the gray curve shows the average trend of this poll. Smooth out all the volatility and, like Trump’s approval rating, the strength of his support has been steadily dropping since the inauguration. Right now it is sitting at its lowest value yet.
If you are Trump, there’s no silver lining here.
Even in Rasmussen’s seemingly-inflated numbers, an unambiguous majority of Americans disapprove of his job performance, and the strength of the support he has left is vaporizing. As Trump’s favorite opinion poll comes into sync with the rest of the country’s polling data, one can only guess at what he will do next. Whatever it is, it certainly won’t be Presidential. An unambiguous majority of Americans have already made that clear.
Featured image from pixabay.