Trump Approval Is 21 Points Below Average

President Trump has had problems with his approval rating ever since entering the race for president. After almost a month in office, the situation remains unchanged. In fact, Trump’s approval rating at this point in his administration is lower than that of any other president of the modern era.

Gallup’s daily tracking of the presidential approval rating found that Trump is currently at 40 percent approval. This puts Trump 21 points below the average for presidents since polling began in the Eisenhower era. He is 11 points below the lowest previous mid-February rating, Bill Clinton in 1993 at 51 points. Jimmy Carter had the highest one-month approval at 71 percent.

President Trump is the first president since Eisenhower to start with approval below 50 percent and has already moved further into negative territory. As he was inaugurated, Trump had 45 percent approval, five points above his current level. On average, presidents have gained one percentage point by mid-February, but Presidents Eisenhower, Obama and Clinton also saw their ratings decline. At seven points, President Clinton had the largest decline.

So far, only Bill Clinton has fallen below 40 percent approval in his first year. Trump stands one point away from the dubious distinction of being the second to do so.

Trump’s approval is concentrated within the Republican Party. Eighty-seven percent of Republicans approve of the president while only 35 percent of independents and eight percent of Democrats approve.

At less than a month into his presidency, Trump has plenty of time to win over the American public, but this may require a change of style. Such a change is something that Trump seems very unlikely to do. His approval may also benefit if his policies lead to a dramatic improvement in the economy.

Although it is still much too early to make predictions, the president’s prospects for re-election seem dim unless he can appeal to a broader range of voters. Or unless the Democrats nominate another historically unpopular and incompetent candidate.

 

 

Poll: Americans Want Trump to Work With Congress

There was good news for the president with yesterday’s Morning Consult poll showing that a slim majority of Americans approve of his Executive Orders, including the controversial travel ban, but another new poll shows that Americans may be tiring of the unilateral actions by the president.

A new Rasmussen poll shows that a strong majority of likely voters believe that the federal government should only do what the president and Congress agree on. A total of 56 percent believe that the president and Congress should work together to pass laws while only 32 percent believe that President Trump should act alone.

In 2014, Rasmussen also reported that voters wanted President Obama to work with Congress as well. In that poll, 82 percent of voters wanted the executive and legislative branches of the government to work together.

It is interesting to note that about twice as many respondents feel that it is permissible for President Trump to stand alone (32 percent) than President Obama (13 percent). This is especially true considering that President Trump’s party controls Congress while President Obama had a Congress controlled by the opposition in 2014.

The partisan breakdown of the two polls was not available, but it is likely that many Republicans and Democrats have switched positions on the use of executive actions over the past three years. While most Republicans opposed President Obama’s abuse of his executive authority, the recent Morning Consult poll that 82 percent of Republican voters approved of President Trump’s immigration Executive Order.

While on the campaign trail, Donald Trump said, “I’m going to do a lot of things [with Executive Orders]” and noted, Obama “led the way, to be honest with you.”

Nevertheless, with Republicans in control of both the White House and Congress, it should be relatively easy for President Trump and Republicans in Congress to find agreement on many issues. In practice, the president will still need to win some Democrat support, however. The Republican 52-seat majority is not enough to win cloture votes without some Democratic support.

Congressional action has the added benefit of being harder to reverse than executive actions. Many of President Trump’s Executive Orders reverse orders given by President Obama. President Trump’s orders could likewise be erased by a future president with the stroke of a pen.

More importantly for the country, if President Trump works with Congress, it will give the country a chance to have a (hopefully) rational debate on public policy, rather than merely respond to edicts handed down from on high. This will give Republicans a chance to explain and defend their ideas and maybe even win support for them.

Why Polls Diverge On Trump’s Immigration Ban

There has been much celebrating in Republican circles over the recent poll results showing that slim majorities approve of President Trump’s Executive Orders including the controversial temporary immigration ban. One poll doesn’t represent the full picture, however, and other recent polls show that the waters of public opinion are sufficiently muddy to keep either side from claiming the support of a majority of the public.

The most recent poll, from Morning Consult/Politico, shows public opinion in favor of all of Trump’s Executive Orders. The immigration ban ranks as one of the most popular with 55 percent approval to 38 percent disapproval.

Interestingly, one day earlier, Politico headlined an article about another poll “Majority of U.S. voters oppose Trump immigration actions.” The Politico piece detailed a Quinnipiac poll that showed that voters disapproved of the immigration ban. Quinnipiac broke the Executive Order into parts and found that voters opposed the 90-day ban on immigrants from the seven listed nations by 51 to 46 percent. They also opposed the 120-day suspension of the refugee program by 60-37 percent and the indefinite ban on Syrian refugees by 70-26 percent.

CNN released a poll last week that also showed that public opinion was not on President Trump’s side. The CNN/ORC poll found that 53 percent opposed the travel ban while 47 percent were in favor.

All three polls also give an approval rating for President Trump. Morning Consult puts the president’s approval highest at 47 percent. Quinnipiac rates him lowest at 42 percent. CNN/ORC is in the middle at 44 percent.

So who is right when polls report different results? The tendency for many people is to simply pick the result that we like best, use it reinforce our preconceived ideas about what the rest of the country thinks and move on. President Trump, who recently tweeted that “any negative polls are fake news,” is a prime example of this mentality.

Some indicators of accuracy can be found by looking at the nuts and bolts of the polls. Often, a link to the actual poll can be found in news articles. If not, a web search can sometimes turn up the raw data that is available to journalists. I have linked directly to the raw polling data for the three polls discussed above.

The first indication of accuracy is who was polled. “Likely voters” are the most prized sort of sample group in polls. These are considered to be people engaged and informed enough to vote and who plan to do so. “Registered voters” are next best thing. These are people who probably have some awareness of current events and who have probably voted at some time in the past. From there, poll results get less accurate as we go to “adults” and “Americans.” These samples don’t necessarily screen for the ability to vote or interest in doing so.

Polling data will also give the sample size. Obviously, a larger sample is better and generates a smaller margin of error.

Often, polls will describe how the poll was conducted as well. This could be in person, on the telephone or on the internet. The methodology can affect the results. Politico notes that Trump’s numbers are better in online surveys than in polls conducted by phone. If the poll is a straw poll conducted on the internet by anyone who can get to the website, it is worthless for determining true public opinion.

So how do the samples in our recent polls stack up? The Morning Consult poll was conducted online among 2,070 registered voters. This generated a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points. The Quinnipiac poll used landline and mobile phones to contact 1,155 voters. The smaller sample gives it a margin of error of 2.9 points. Finally, CNN/ORC interviewed 1,002 “adult Americans” by telephone. The margin of error on this poll is three points.

So all of the polls have pros and cons. The Morning Consult poll has the smallest margin of error, but the methodology may have inflated the pro-Trump score. Quinnipiac’s margin of error is larger, but telephone calls are more accurate, especially when mobile phones are included. CNN’s small size and sample that wasn’t restricted to voters is the least accurate.

Additionally, when examining polls, consider the way the question is asked. Is it asked in a misleading or biased way? Are there numerous possible answers or is it a binary choice? How many respondents chose “undecided” if that is an option?

Also consider the reputation of the pollster. Some polling firms are associated with a political party. For example, Public Policy Polling is a Democratic firm and their results may reflect a partisan bias. Rasmussen and Gallup are the gold standard of polling, but most polls that are associated with legitimate news sites are reasonably accurate. Morning Consult, Quinnipiac and CNN are all reputable pollsters.

It is worth noting that Rasmussen’s daily tracking poll shows Trump with 53 percent approval and 57 percent disapproval. Gallup, on the other hand, shows almost a mirror image with Trump’s approval at 43 percent and 52 percent disapproval.

So how should we interpret the varying results of polling on Trump’s Executive Orders? The best solution is to not put our eggs in one basket with any one poll. Consider each poll a snapshot of a landscape that is changing. The real answer is most likely somewhere near the average of the results.

Don’t just look at the raw numbers of the polls, especially if the differences are close, as there are. Instead, look for trends and the general direction of the movement of the numbers. Are things looking better for Trump, or worse? Is his margin increasing or narrowing? Discard outliers, polls that are dramatically different and isolated in their results, unless there is good reason to believe that trends are changing rapidly.

The most important takeaway on the current batch of polls is that the nation is split down the middle on the Executive Orders. Whether there is a slight majority in favor of President Trump’s actions or a slight majority against him, polling definitely shows that the president and the Republicans face opposition from a large segment of the electorate.

Poll Shows Americans Approve Of Trump Executive Orders

We all know that polls matter. A recent poll conducted by Politico and Morning Consult showed that President Trump’s executive orders enjoy majority approval from Americans. Republicans in particular are overjoyed with what Trump has accomplished in a short period of time.

Executive Orders

Topic Approve Disapprove
Immigration ban 55% 38%
Regulation rollback 47% 33%
Keep Obama LGBTQ Protection 77% 13%
Reinstating Mexico City policy 47% 42%

Supreme Court

43 percent agree that the Senate should confirm Neil Gorsuch, 25 percent oppose, and 32 percent don’t know or have no opinion. Most Americans, 59 percent, believe that SCOTUS nominees should require a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate–or at least that the filibuster should not be “nuked” if you interpret it that way.

Democrats Working with Trump

This will surprise many leftists who are looking for hills on which to die (and bringing everyone with them). 58 percent believe that “Democrats in Congress should focus on finding ways to work with President Trump in order to get things done,” while only 30 percent believe that Democrats should “stick to their principles” and go for obstruction.

Obamacare

49 percent agree that Obamacare should be scaled back, with 41 percent wanting to keep things as they are. I would guess those 41 percent have really good health plans from their employers.

Trade, Immigration, Energy

Topic Approve Disapprove
Start building the wall 48% 42%
End funding of sanctuary cities 55% 33%
Withdraw from TPP 47% 33%
Approve Keystone XL 48% 37%
Approve Dakota Access Pipeline 46% 39%

What does this mean?

The poll indicates that most of the American public has accepted Trump as their president, and is ready to move forward. It’s bad news for the fear-mongering outrage machine that’s trying to protest Trump out of office. A cause based on personal hatred of one man can’t sustain.

Even though only 48 percent of poll respondents have a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of Trump, with 47 percent unfavorable, most Americans believe that at least some of Trump’s moves are good for the country.

Perhaps that’s why Senate Democrats are now starting to crack on opposition to Gorsuch. Eventually, the media storm will have to settle down, or people will lose interest. As long as Americans are approving of Trump’s actions, he is going to continue in the direction he began the moment he took the oath of office.

Third of Americans Don’t Know That Obamacare and Affordable Care Act Are the Same Thing

The big discussion in politics over the past eight years has been Obamacare and the Affordable Care Act. The law has been central to four congressional and two presidential elections. It has remade the US health insurance industry and expanded the role of the federal government into the private sector as nothing else has. Now a new poll shows that a third of Americans don’t even realize that the two terms mean the same thing.

The Morning Consult poll of 1,890 adults found that a total of 35 percent of respondents thought that the two terms referred to different laws or did not know if they were different. Seventeen percent thought that the terms were completely different and 18 percent were just totally clueless.

Further, 45 percent did not realize that the ACA would be repealed if Obamacare was repealed. This group includes 32 percent who did not know and 12 percent who thought that the ACA would remain in place if Obamacare was repealed. This would be a neat trick since, as most of us know, the ACA and Obamacare are the same thing.

The Medicaid expansion was particularly confusing. Almost 40 percent were not sure if repealing Obamacare and/or the ACA would affect Medicare. Sixteen percent thought that Medicare would be unaffected and 23 percent admitted that they had no idea.

The official name of the legislation passed by Barack Obama in 2010 is the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” This unwieldy name is often shortened to the “Affordable Care Act” and abbreviated “ACA.” It is even more often assigned the derisive nickname, “Obamacare.”

Part of the ACA was an expansion of Medicaid to Americans between the ages of 18 and 65 who earned less than 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The Supreme Court ruled that states could not be compelled to expand their Medicaid programs and 19 states declined to do so. A repeal of the ACA would mean that states that expanded their Medicaid programs would lose the federal funds that pay for the extra coverage.

Republicans scored best with 72 percent being aware that Obamacare and the ACA were one and the same, but only 47 percent knew about the effect of repeal on Medicaid and private insurance subsidies. Seventy-nine percent of Democrats realized that repeal would close the federal checkbook.

The groups that fared worst were 18-to-29-year-olds and people who earn less than $50,000 annually. This is ironic because outreach to these two groups was the primary goal of a $684 million ad campaign by the Obama Administration.

In particular, the “young invincibles” were needed in large numbers to offset the cost of enrolling large numbers of older and sicker Americans, who would need no encouragement to sign up for federally subsidized health insurance. The failure to convince the healthy 18-to-29-year-olds to pry open their wallets and purchase an expensive health insurance plan was a prime reason for Obamacare’s failure to contain costs and establish profitable marketplaces.

If it isn’t discouraging enough to realize that, after eight years of public debate and federal advertising, people still don’t know what the Affordable Care Act is, then think about this: These same people vote. Not only that, but it is the moderate, uninformed voters that actually decide elections since neither party has a natural majority.

Obamacare Enrollments Decline As Republicans Wonder What Comes Next

Seven years ago next month was the passage of the Affordable Care Act. With President Trump and the Republicans in Congress vowing to repeal President Obama’s trademark legislation, there is some doubt as to whether Obamacare will see its seventh birthday. With signups for the program falling and insurance companies leaving its marketplaces, Obamacare seems to be dying a slow death even without a formal repeal.

According to CNN, federal Obamacare enrollments were down from last year by 400,000. Only 9.2 million people signed up at healthcare.gov which handles Obamacare registrations for 39 states. Last year, 9.6 million people signed up at the site.

Eleven states and the District of Columbia run their own exchanges so figures for the entire country are not yet available. A total of 13.8 million people were expected to sign up nationally. CNN reported last month that 11.5 million people had signed up as of Dec. 24, an increase over the previous year at that point.

Backers of the health law blamed a decision by the Trump Administration to end advertising for the Obamacare enrollment for the uninspiring finish. The Trump Administration placed the blame on a 25 percent premium increase and a 28 percent decrease in the number of participating insurance companies.

Last August, Aetna announced that it was withdrawing from the Obamacare exchanges while Humana and United Healthcare sharply reduced their presence. A Washington Times report found that almost a third of counties would have only one Obamacare insurance company available. The lack of options for many consumers would mean restrictions on networks and choice of doctors. For example, Molina Healthcare excludes Cedars-Sinai Hospital, a prestigious Los Angeles facility, from its networks to cut costs. Only about a quarter of Obamacare insurers were profitable last year.

“Obamacare has failed the American people, with one broken promise after another,” Matt Lloyd, spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, told CNN. “We look forward to providing relief to those who are being harmed by the status quo and pursuing patient-centered solutions that will work for the American people.”

Obamacare has not lived up to its promises. President Obama touted the Affordable Care Act as “universal coverage for all Americans” and said that it would reduce health insurance costs for American families. The law failed on both counts. While the US uninsured rate did decline under Obamacare, it remains at almost 11 percent according to Gallup survey. CNN noted that the average health insurance premium has increased by about 50 percent over the past eight years. Additionally, higher deductibles on current plans mean that consumers pay even more out of pocket.

With the uncertainty of a possible repeal or reform, many large insurers are weighing their options for next year. Politico reports that the Trump Administration is considering proposals to limit enrollment outside the open enrollment period and increase costs for older Americans. A major factor in rising premiums and falling profits has been adverse selection as Obamacare enrollees have turned out to be both older and sicker than predicted.

“We saw very little of the young and healthy,” Sherri Huff, a consultant and former health care coop official, told Modern Healthcare.

Ironically, recent polling has shown an increase in Obamacare’s popularity. A CNN poll from January showed a small lead (49-47 percent) for those who favor the law for the first time since its passage. Even this poll shows that 55 percent would support repeal if a replacement can be enacted simultaneously. Polls by Rasmussen and Fox News confirm that Americans want a replacement for Obamacare before a repeal. The polls agree that majorities don’t want the Affordable Care Act in its current form and they don’t want to go back to the 2009 status quo.

In spite of Obamacare’s flaws, Republicans face two problems with its repeal. First, is the estimated 30 million people who could lose coverage if Obamacare is repealed. Some of these people could find insurance elsewhere in a restructured market, but others are uninsurable and like their Obamacare plans. Public opinion would not allow Republicans to simply eliminate coverage for millions.

President Trump has already promised an expansion of health insurance coverage. “We’re going to have insurance for everybody,” Trump said last month. “There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can’t pay for it, you don’t get it. That’s not going to happen with us.”

Finally, there is the structural problem of 48 Senate Democrats who can filibuster a replacement bill. While Obamacare can be repealed via a majority vote in a budget reconciliation, the same way it was passed, but if it isn’t simultaneously replaced Democrats will have an opportunity to block later legislation that requires 60 votes for cloture. Currently, Republicans have not agreed on a replacement plan.

This double bind means that Republicans run the risk of alienating a large part of the country no matter what they do. Either they anger the conservative base by not acting immediately on a repeal or they act rashly and possibly cause even more problems for the Americans and their health care.

 

Democrats Oblivious to Threat of Radical Islam

A new poll conducted by CBS reveals that the majority (66%) of Democrats do not believe that Islam is more violent than other religions.  Nearly the same percentage (63%) of Republicans believe that Islam is more violent.

This demonstrates either an ignorance or disregard of the facts on the part of Democrats.  Countries dominated by Islam are apt to impose Islamic Sharia law and its oppressive rules and methods of punishment.  Women, in particular, bear the brunt of Islamic oppression; those who have been raped have even been punished for being victims (on the pretext that they had sex outside of marriage).  In addition, as ISIS has spread in Iraq and Syria they have taken women and girls captive as sex slaves.

One irony of all this is that Democrats, who say they value inclusivity and diversity (and support all manner of LGBT causes) view a non-inclusive religion in a positive light.  Thus, at the same time that Middle Eastern countries are executing homosexuals, Democrats are lamenting the fact that people from a subset of those countries are temporarily blocked from entering the United States.

The other irony is that the inclusive nature of the United States grew out of Judeo-Christian values (note that this is different than saying that “America is a Christian nation”).  Certainly, not all Muslims believe in Sharia Law or its oppression, but Islam (“submission”) tends to encourage violence in the name of religion.  Christianity, on the other hand, is a religion of mercy, and those who pursue the faith through violence are considered to be the aberration, not the norm.  Christians have spread grace to those outside the Christian community, even when disagreeing with their practices or beliefs.  As the Left in the United States has drifted from the core Christian values which made the Left even possible, it has forgotten to whom it owes its attitudes of tolerance and inclusivity.

Now the Left’s favored religion is Islam.  However, if Islam were to grab a majority hold in this country it would ultimately destroy the Left’s causes, subduing them under the thumb of Sharia Law.  Democrats would be wise to study the history of the spread of Islam in the Middle East and Europe to see where it leads.  It most certainly does not lead to the Left’s inclusive, diverse utopia.

Poll of Most Conservative States Has HUGE News for Republicans

Gallup has just released a new survey showing the most conservative and liberal states in the nation. Overall, the picture looks just as you’d expect with liberal states concentrated on the West Coast and in the Northeast while the South and upper Rocky Mountains are the most conservative areas.

Contrary to popular belief, neither liberals nor conservatives hold an absolute majority in any state, although conservatives are very close in Wyoming, the most conservative state in the country. Forty-nine percent of Wyomingites self-identify as conservative. This yields a 35-point advantage over the 14 percent of the Wyoming population considered to be liberal.

A number of other states have conservative populations in excess of 40 percent as well. In fact, Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Idaho all have conservative populations of greater than 45 percent.

Vermont tops the list of most liberal states. With 40 percent liberal and only 26 percent conservative, liberals have a 14-point advantage.

Interestingly, far fewer voters identify as liberal in blue states than do conservatives in red states. Many deep blue states are characterized by a difference of only a few points. For example, in Massachusetts, the second most liberal state, liberals only lead conservatives by eight points. In the next two most liberal states, Connecticut and New York, the difference is four and two points respectively. Believe it or not, in deep blue, far left California, conservatives actually outnumber liberals 30-29 percent.

When the state totals are examined, the share of moderate voters remains relatively constant. Moderates make up about a third of the electorate in almost every state. With neither party at a majority anywhere, moderates are the decisive group in most elections.

Even though the poor showing for liberals in blue states may indicate an unwillingness of some liberals to accept the liberal label, the polling results indicate an opening for conservatives in many blue states. If the ideological groups are statistically equal in a state like California, Republicans can win this Democratic stronghold by making inroads to the moderates in the mushy middle of the political spectrum. Splitting the moderate vote could swing the state to the GOP.

Conversely, in the 19 states where Republicans make up more than 40 percent of the electorate, Democrats would need to win virtually all moderate votes to move any of these states to the blue column.

The problem for Republicans is that a Gallup poll from last year showing party identification indicated that almost all of the state’s moderates identified as Democrats.  California’s actual election results showed that, at 32 percent, the Trump vote in California was almost identical to Gallup’s estimates of conservatives and Republicans for the state. Donald Trump lost practically all moderate and independent voters for the state.

The trend is national as well. CNN exit polls show a breakdown of 26 percent liberal, 39 percent moderate and 35 percent conservative in the 2016 election. Trump lost the moderate vote 40-52 percent, but still won the election.

Moderates didn’t flock to Trump, whose share of the group was almost identical to Mitt Romney, but many did abandon Clinton. Trump’s victory was partly due to the eight percent of moderates, the largest ideological demographic, who voted for “someone else.”

Gallup’s survey also showed that the usual swing states all have about a 10-point conservative advantage. Colorado and New Hampshire, both with a 9-point conservative advantage, were the most liberal swing states.

The polling data indicates that winning blue states, as Donald Trump did, is a realistic goal for Republicans. A winning strategy would be to nominate conservative candidates who also have a strong appeal to moderate and independent voters.

Go here to find out how conservative your state is.