By Dave Andrusko
Back in February, the Washington Post anointed itself as the keeper of the flame, aka “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” About the same the New York Times chipped in with “The truth is more important now than ever.”
The “darkness” the Post is forever battling is, of course, all-things Donald Trump just as the “truth” that is more important now than ever for the Times is to try to delegitimatize the Trump presidency. Who knows which self-adulation is the most pretentious but the sense of journalist entitlement in both cases is almost comical.
Which is why I found today’s “The myth of the disillusioned Trump voter” by the Post’s Aaron Blake doubly fascinating. First that Blake would gently tell his readers in his lead sentence, “Beware the political anecdote.”
Second, that the political anecdote comes from the New York Times which so eager to announce the impending end of the Trump presidency less than three months into it by conflating unhappiness with Trump in one “quintessential suburban swing district” outside Philadelphia with a tidal wave of rejection by Trump voters.
Blake simply looks at the numbers–from Gallup and Pew–and says, ah, no.
The same day this story came out [Monday], the Pew Research Center released a poll showing very little buyer’s remorse among Trump voters. The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent — five times as many — say he has performed better.
There is a real sense among some that Trump has underperformed. But it’s almost wholly on the Democratic side, where 32 percent say he’s worse than advertised, and just 3 percent say he’s better.
Gallup? According to Blake
Similarly, a Gallup poll was released Monday showing a conspicuous decline in the number of people who say Trump keeps his promises — from 62 percent in early February to 45 percent today. And that poll did show a decline even among Republicans, from 92 percent to 81 percent. But that’s still 8 in 10 who think Trump is a man of his word, and the 45 percent overall and 43 percent of independents who say Trump keeps his promises is very much in line with the vote share he got in November.
And finally, Trump’s overall approval rating stands at 41 percent in Gallup’s polling, which is right about where his favorable rating was upon his election as president (42 percent).
My point is simple. Whether someone likes or loathes President Trump or (more likely) is somewhere in the middle, we live in a time when (with rare exceptions such as Blake’s analysis) the dominant media organizations proudly consider themselves the Opposition–the Resistance.
Which is, of course, a position that is entirely within their right to assume. But for the general public which is trying to get a fair measure of the Trump presidency to date and going forward, it is imperative to remember, “Beware the political anecdote