Establishment media reports on President Donald Trump’s low approval ratings signaling midterm election success for Democrats are misguided, according to a report Wednesday in Politico.
“…Democrats are naive if they believe Trump’s historically low approval numbers mean a landslide is coming,” writes Edward-Isaac Dovere for Politico. “Data from a range of focus groups and internal polls in swing states paint a difficult picture for the Democratic Party heading into the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential election”
“One (Very) Early Sign Looks Good For Democrats In 2018” read a Vox headline in August. The article cited a CNN poll that shows “Democrats are within striking distance” of taking back the House from the GOP. The “generic ballot” merely pits one party against another, with no regard for the individual running. On average, generic ballots have overestimated Democratic performance in elections by 3.4 points.
A CNN report in May, declared that 2018 looks like it may be a “Very Good Year For Democrats” in its headline. The current pro-Democratic — or, more accurately, anti-Trump — environment helps on that front…,” according to Chris Cillizza, editor at large for CNN. Cillizza speculates anti-Tump sentiment in the media and reflected in polling will help Democrats become more competitive in midterm elections, “and serves as the tipping point for Republicans” contemplating retirement.
“[N]o single Democratic attack on the president is sticking,” reports Dovere, referencing research and data collected by private firms and Democratic campaign arms. “[N]ot on his temperament his lack of accomplishments or the deals he’s touted that have turned out to be less than advertised.” Participants in focus groups give him credit for a bump in economic progress and are still impressed with Trump’s business credentials.
Reports from The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The Los Angeles Times chronicling “Trump’s lies” have fallen on deaf ears, according to Politico. “Voters are also generally unimpressed by claims that Trump exaggerates or lies…” Their skepticism of media reports doesn’t end there. Despite breathless and often hysterical reporting by the establishment media on the Russian collusion charges, voters “don’t see the ongoing Russia investigation adding up to much.”
One of the more emotionally fraught issues, Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville,
“was not as much of a political problem as his opponents want to believe” Democratic operatives told Politico. The quick shift to a debate on the removal of Confederate monuments worked in Trump’s favor. Polls indicate that a majority of Americans oppose their removal.
The data also indicates that voters are aligned with Trump on immigration and trade and see the economy moving in the right direction and “Democrats attacking its progress.”
“Many of the proposals Democrats are pushing fall flat in focus groups and polling” according to Dovere. The movement for free college smacks of elitism, and voters are skeptical of Bernie Sanders recent medicare-for-all proposal. “The challenge is that most voters in focus groups believe it’s a pipe dream — they ask who will pay for it and suspect it will lead to a government takeover of health care…”
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