[guest post by Dana]
And guess who he blames for the discouraging numbers???
Once a solid, reliable ally willing to spin just about anything to make the president look good, Fox News is not spinning its latest polling data, and the discouraging numbers are making Trump unhappy with… Fox News:
President Donald Trump on Sunday slammed his preferred news network over recent unfavorable poll results, saying: “There’s something going on at Fox [News], I’ll tell you right now. And I’m not happy with it.”
Trump’s comments to reporters in New Jersey were in response to a question about the network’s recently released survey showing the president losing head-to-head match-ups against four of the top Democratic presidential primary candidates.
Trump said he didn’t “believe” the poll that was published, adding: “Fox has changed. My worst polls have always been from Fox.”
Here is a breakdown of the head-to-head match-up numbers:
The poll found Trump with 39 percent support among registered voters in head-to-head matchups against Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The poll found Sanders beating Trump with 48 percent, Warren winning over Trump with 45 percent and Harris winning with 46 percent support.
Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, beat Trump in the theoretical matchup with 50 percent support among those surveyed, compared to Trump’s 38 percent.
Additionally, polling also shows that Trump’s disapproval rating has increased:
President Trump’s disapproval rating has jumped to 56 percent in a Fox News survey released Wednesday…
The survey found a 5 percentage point increase in Trump’s disapproval from last month. The only time his disapproval rating was higher, according to Fox News, was when it reached 57 percent in October 2017.
Forty-three percent of respondents said they approve of Trump’s job performance, down from 46 percent last month. The record low for Trump approval in Fox News’s polling is 38 percent, also from October of 2017.
This really isn’t surprising given that the president’s median approval rating, while remaining consistent, has been the lowest of almost all of the modern presidents:
If there’s one thing that’s been consistent about President Trump’s time in office, it’s his approval rating… his average approval has hovered between 36 percent and 45 percent, a fluctuation of 9 points, over practically the entire course of his presidency… But that’s a really narrow band, especially compared to previous presidents, and it has meant that his median approval rating is low…only President Harry Truman had a lower median rating. Trump’s approval rating has the least variation of any post-World War II president. Granted, Trump hasn’t yet served a full term, but changes in his approval rating have been remarkably small.
This is an interesting analysis of how the Fox News polling numbers may be an indicator of how Trump’s current strategy for 2020 may not be enough for the very different kind of race he faces today than the one he faced in 2016. Trump will remain who he is, and won’t be making any concessions to his campaign advisers who may futilely try and encourage the president to ease up on his incessant tweeting and inflammatory rhetoric. He knows that this is what keeps his loyal base of supporters coming back for more. Nor is there any indication that he will be able to stay focused on the actual issues that might draw in not-so-much Trump supporters but Republicans and Independents who voted for the lesser of two evils in 2016 or the one that most represented their interests, in spite of their dislike for the nominee. Nor is Trump finally going to become more “presidential,” as so many predicted (and hoped) he would. In other words, Trump is not about to change who he is, and for better or worse, he is a known quantity. So with that, we can assume that he will likely stick with what worked for him in 2016. But that just may not be enough this time:
[I]t isn’t hard to see why Trump might think that his presidency can survive on base mobilization alone. Trump’s approval rating may currently sit at a meager 42 percent; but on the day he won the White House, RealClearPolitics’ poll of polls had it at 38.6. So why shouldn’t he deem his current base of support sufficiently broad? After all, last time around, he prevailed with even lower favorability rating, and without the benefits of incumbency.
As far as comforting things Donald Trump likes to tell himself go, this is reasonable enough. But the path Trump took to the White House in 2016 was an awfully narrow one. Trump’s success in winning an Electoral College majority— despite being the most unpopular major-party nominee in recorded history — was contingent on (at least) three related factors:
1) He drew a historically unpopular Democratic opponent.
2) His share of the popular vote was higher than his Election Day approval rating (46.1 percent versus 38.6 percent).
3) And he won voters who disapproved of both candidates by a double-digit margin.
But for Trump, the most alarming takeaway from Fox’s survey may be this: Even if the president does manage to turn the Democratic nominee’s favorability steeply negative, he could still lose in a rout. In 2016, Trump won voters who disapproved of both major-party candidates by 50 to 39 percent margin in national exit polls. Respondents who disliked both Biden and Trump in Fox’s poll favored the Democrat over the president by a whopping 43 to 10 percent margin.
(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)