Former pollster for the Clinton White House and chief strategist for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns, Mark Penn, disputed President Trump’s low poll numbers Thursday, arguing they do not incorporate approval of his individual policies.
The same polls that failed to create an accurate snapshot of Trump’s support on Election Day pay “way too much attention to the Twitter wars and ignor[e] the public support for many of the actions [he] is undertaking,” wrote Penn for The Hill. “Remember, Americans liked President Obama for his way with words and his calm leadership style. They just opposed many of his policies, so Obama’s numbers gave a false sense of approval.”
Penn makes the argument that the same thing is happening with Trump just in reverse.
“No poll I’ve seen puts his support from Republicans at below 80 percent and we at Harvard-Harris have it at 84 percent, which is remarkable, given his knock-down-drag-out fight with some mainstream Republicans,” wrote Penn. “Trump’s approval ratings may provide a more accurate snapshot of the public’s take on his personality, but leave out the issues that matter to voters come Election Day. The president gets 65 percent approval for hurricane response and 53 percent approval for the economy and fighting terrorism.”
Some Americans, however, are put off by Trump’s bellicosity, contradictions, and divisiveness on his Twitter feed. His lowest numbers are on his administering of the government. He “is a divider when people want a uniter.” Sixty-eight percent of Americans want Trump to stop tweeting. But according to Penn, that’s not an effective measurement of where the public stands on the issues, asking “will voters cast ballots on tweets or jobs?”
Penn pointed out that when Trump dominates the news cycle with strong statements or tweets about his policies he is “savaged as over the top” by the media. But the president usually ends up winning the underlying policy argument.
Further skewing the polling is the methodology that undergirds them, according to Penn. For instance, they poll “‘all adults’ without any qualification as to citizenship or voting intent.” Some of those polled are nonvoters, and dislike politics and politicians altogether. The polls also include illegal immigrants who are not screened out. Accounting for some of these variables gives a much difference picture, according to Penn.
“Another group of polls has Trump’s approval in the low 40s, and Harvard-Harris Poll, which eliminates all undecideds, has it at 45 percent, similar to Rasmussen.”
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