Cheat Sheet Q&A: Are the political polls telling the whole story?:
Today's entry: It seems like the media is all too happy to constantly share stories of Trump's approval constantly hitting new lows. I don't trust the polls much after the election but do you think they're even close to credible?
Bottom Line: There are a few different directions I can go with your thought and question. First to answer your question directly. Yes, I do think the approval polls are generally accurate - though yes - you have a media that's generally cheering leading it lower. I also feel obliged to address is the context/credibility of polls and the election generally. First let me address the President's approval polling. At the onset of my weekly tracking of the President's approval rating (which I'll next do tomorrow), I indicated that there were stark differences in approval polls based on the sample being used. We've had accredited pollsters have results within the same week that are as much as 27% different on President Trump's net approval rating. So why would I suggest that the polls are likely to be generally accurate? It's all about who you're asking.
If you average the President's approval rating across pollsters that are using "Adult" samples it's only 39%. If you average it out across samples using "Registered Voters" it's 40%. If you use the current "Likely voter" polling his approval rating is 46%. In other words, the more politically engaged the sample of people being surveyed are, the more likely they are to approve of President Trump's performance so far. So what I'm asserting is that if you're only talking about how the average American feels of the President's performance - It's probably true that only about 4 in 10 approve of the President.
If, however, you're talking about how the average politically engaged person feels - that's not correct. Instead it's currently at the exact level of support he received at the voting both in November. Trump received 46.1% of the national popular vote - that matches the 46% approval among likely voters right now.
This gets back to an important point and lesson from November's election. Most people still assert that the "polls" were wrong. They weren't - they were critical components to my formula for accurately depicting all aspects of the election outcome last November. It's all in how you read and interpret them that matters. It's natural that a media outlet that's taken a strong "anti-Trump" stance - as most mainstream outlets have - would choose to perpetuate Trump's lowest approval poll (currently 34%) vs. more favorable polling at 46% for example.
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