Tag Archives: public opinion polls

Keep an eye on those polls, Mr. President

Donald John Trump Sr., perhaps more than any president in recent history, governs by polls.

He watches ’em religiously, or so it appears. He governs by them, too.

I just took a gander at the most recent RealClearPolitics poll average. They don’t look so hot for Trump. All the leading polls show him at 39.3 percent approval rating. It’s low, man! Barely eight months into his presidency, and Trump hasn’t yet unified the country. He hasn’t yet achieved a single major legislative victory. He hasn’t gotten his self-proclaimed “fine-tuned machine” running on all cylinders.

Does this bode well for whatever passes for a legislative agenda? Hmmm. Let’s see:

He continues to insult his supposed Republican “friends” in Congress by blaming them for every failure in which he must share responsibility.

Now he’s doing business — actually working with — congressional Democrats.

He continues to tweet like there’s no tomorrow, spouting this and/or that policy position via a social medium.

Trump continues to propose policy matters that appeal only to the slim — and shrinking — minority of voters who still think he’s the best thing to happen since the beginning of time.

How does the president of the United States govern like that? How in the world does he function in a poll-driven environment?

Those mid-term elections are now coming ’round the bend. Democrats, still steamed at losing the presidency to this guy in the first place, are beginning to circle beneath him.

I offer this observation with an important caveat.

Donald Trump has defied political gravity every step of the way on this most improbable journey he has taken. He has said things about people and demographic groups that should have doomed him long ago. His base only rallies more strongly behind him. He draws strength from it.

The longer he continues to levitate, though, the odds of a complete collapse/implosion are likely to shorten.

Polls get in the GOP’s way regarding the ACA

Darn those pesky public opinion polls anyway.

The Pew Research Center, one of the more reliable polling organizations out there, has delivered another gut punch to congressional Republicans who are getting a snoot full already from constituents about the Affordable Care Act.

The ACA — which I now will no longer refer to as “Obamacare” — is more popular than ever with Americans.

Pew says 54 percent of Americans approve of the ACA, with 43 percent opposing it.

Republicans — and that includes the president of the United States — keep saying they’ll have a replacement plan ready to go once they repeal the ACA.

Really? Who’s seen it? I haven’t. Have you?

The GOP has eight years to craft their own version of affordable health care for Americans. Instead, they have come up empty, preferring to target the author of the ACA, former President Barack H. Obama. They detest him so much they cannot bring themselves even to refer to the ACA by its legal name, instead using the president’s last name to talk disparagingly about the plan.

Twenty million Americans have health care today who didn’t have it before the ACA was enacted in 2010. Is it perfect? Of course not. The federal government is incapable of crafting perfect legislation and then creating a perfect law.

It might need some tinkering around the edges.

Indeed, former U.S. House Speaker John Boehner — who sued the president over repeal of the ACA — this week has predicted that repeal of the act won’t happen. Congress will work to refine it, make it better, make it more “affordable” for Americans.

Oh wait! Didn’t Congress do something like this before, such as when it enacted Medicare and Social Security?

My advice to CongressĀ is simple: Pay attention to what Americans are tellingĀ  you.

POTUS sets dubious polling record

Donald “Smart Person” Trump has set a record.

He won’t boast about it, though.

According to a new CNN/ORC public opinion poll, the president’s disapproval rating — at 53 percent — is an all-time record for someone so new in the job.

I mention this only because Trump has made such a big, noisy and overly inflated point about his poll numbers while he campaigned for the Republican Party nomination and then for election to the presidency.

He made the polls an issue. He bragged about ’em. He ridiculed his foes for their dismal poll numbers.


But wouldn’t you know it? Just when the polls sag and public opinion turns against him, he is quite likely to say something about them being “rigged” or questioning the integrity of the polling organization that compiled the results.

Get used to it, Mr. President. This, too, is part of your new job.

No talk of polls these days from POTUS-elect

Polls became something of a linchpin of Donald J. Trump’s successful campaign for the presidency.

He boasted about them continually when they showed him leading his Republican Party primary rivals. He ridiculed other GOP candidates for failing to break the 1 or 2 percent barrier.

Then he got nominated and he started bragging as the general election campaign raced toward the finish line and polls showed him closing the gap with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Polls are up? They’re good. Polls go down? They’re “rigged.”

Well,Ā the president-elect has someĀ more polling data with which to contend. These are the polls that show Trump to be about the least popular president-elect in decades.

Barack Obama became president with an approval rating at nearly 80 percent. George W. Bush took office in 2001 also with soaring public approval ratings.

Trump’s ratings? They’re at 40 percent or less, depending on the polls you see.

Think of this, too: The president-elect hasn’t done anything! He’s made no difficult decisions that are bound to anger millions of Americans.

Transitions historically have been the high-water mark for presidents of the United States. The next president starts at a much lower platform than most of his predecessors.

What about these polls, Mr. President-elect?

Pollsters need a careful revamping of their methods


If it sounds a bit familiar that public opinion pollsters are going back to the drawing boards after missing the call of the 2016 presidential election …

It’s because you’ve heard it before.


Virtually ever “reputable” poll had Hillary Rodham Clinton winning the presidency on Nov. 8. Some had her winning by a fairly comfortable margin. She, of course, didn’t. Donald J. Trump is now preparing to become the next president.

Why is this familiar?

I recall the 2004 election in which President Bush won a second term over Sen. John F. Kerry. The sticking point that year was in Ohio, where exit pollsters had Kerry carrying the Buckeye State. Then the votes started pouring in. Bush won Ohio. He was re-elected. Kerry and his team were stunned. They thought they had Ohio in the bag. Had they won, they would have had just enough electoral votes to defeat the president.

Those dismal exit poll results, along with other misfires around the nation, signaled the end of Voter News Service, the outfit that coordinated all the polling and vote tabulation around the country.

The screw-ups this time were much more severe. Even the once-highly regarded FiveThirtyEight.com poll done by Nate Silver missed by a mile. Silver’s analysis had Clinton with a 71 percent chance of winning on he eve of the election.

Of course, many of the pollsters are trying to cover their backsides. They say they predicted Clinton’s national popular vote percentage, more or less. They missed, though, in several key battleground states where Trump won: Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida — all states won by Barack Obama in 2008, who won all of them again except forĀ North Carolina in 2012.

Polling has come a long way since the infamous “Dewey beats Truman” headline of 1948. However, as weĀ witnessed during this election season, it still has some distance yet to travel.

Right-wrong track polls tell only part of story


One of my social media friends thinks I spend too much time blogging about Donald J. Trump.

I heard him. So I think I’ll shift gears for a moment or two.

Those polls that measure whether Americans think we’re heading on the right or wrong track puzzle me. Take a look at the latest RealClearPolitics average of polls on that subject.


What these averages don’t necessarily say up front is whether Americans want the nation’s directly to veer sharply to the right or sharply to the left.

I generally pay little attention to these polls.

The RCP average says there’s a 30-plus percentage variance, meaning that about one-third more Americans think the country is heading on the “wrong track.”

No one has ever polled me on the subject. If one were to ask me, I’d say we’re doing just fine. I heard the U.S. Labor Department jobs report this morning and learned we added 161,000 non-farm jobs in October; the jobless rate declined to 4.9 percent; wages went up.

Is that a wrong track indicator regarding the economy?

I don’t think so.

Foreign policy issues? Well, we haven’t been hit by a major terror attack since 9/11. We keep killing terrorists around the world. Our alliances seem solid.

Federal budget policy? The deficit has been cut by one-third during the past eight years. Is it still too great? Yes. It’s heading in the “right direction.”

I’m digressing.

Right track-wrong track polls tell only part of the story.

What’s with this ‘national poll’?


More often than not I’m going to look carefully at public opinion poll results.

In this election season, we’re being inundated with them. Republican-leaning polls say one thing; Democratic-leaning polls say another. IĀ prefer to look most closely at polls unaffiliated with either party, or certain ideological think tanks, or media outlets I know to have bias in either direction.

But one recent poll has me wondering: Is this one even relevant to anything?

Hillary Clinton leads Bernie Sanders by 25 percentage points nationally, according to a poll released by NBC News and the Wall Street Journal.

The relevancy issue?

Well, consider a couple of things.

They’re both running for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, which means that they’re not going to face each other in a national election. Therefore, they are battling state by state: Iowa, then New Hampshire, then South Carolina . . . and on it goes.

They’ll get to Texas in early March.

Therefore, whether Clinton beats Sanders by a single percent or a million percent in a national pollĀ doesn’t matter one bit.

How are they faring in each state?

The poll does compare the candidates’ chances against a potential Republican nominee and it shows Clinton faring better against the GOP foe than Sanders.

That’s relevant, I guess.

However, these polls pitting one candidate against the other running in the same party primary simply doesn’t register with me.


Obamacare vs. Affordable Care Act

An interesting new poll has revealed a curious element of the public opinion about the Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”.

When you ask Americans if they favor “Obamacare,” 47 percent of them say they oppose it. When you ask them if their views of the Affordable Care Act, the number drops 36 percent.


“Obamacare” was the name hung on the ACA by its opponents who sought to put a derisive label on the health care reform overhaul approved by Congress in 2010. “Obamacare” has become the pejorative term of choice for those in politics and the media (such as Fox News) to use when discussing the ACA, which hasn’t even been implemented fully.

The Affordable Care Act is the legislation’s official name. It is used by those who support it. Although it’s interesting to me that President Obama occasionally uses the “Obamacare” term to describe it, all the while taking note that “Obamacare” is the critics’ term of choice.

I’m beginning to think, though, that these public opinion surveys are becoming almost as detailed as baseball statistics. You can find a stat for almost any category of hitting, pitching, fielding or base-running performance in the Grand Old Game. The same appears to be happening with public opinion polling.