According to a pollster who worked for the Clinton White House, President Donald J. Trump’s approval rating is not a true reflection of how Americans view his individual policies.
Mark Penn — who was also the chief strategist for twice-failed presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaigns — said President Trump’s low poll numbers come from the same polls which failed to predict his victory in the 2016 election.
“The polls that failed to detect the full strength of President Trump on Election Day continue to underestimate the president’s support for the job he is doing, paying way too much attention to the Twitter wars and ignoring the public support for many of the actions [he] is undertaking,” Penn wrote in a piece for The Hill.
He said Americans seemed to approve of former President Barrack Hussein Obama, but more for his speech pattern and leadership style.
“They just opposed many of his policies, so Obama’s numbers gave a false sense of approval,” Penn said.
The same scenario is playing out in reverse with President Trump, according to Penn.
“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,” he wrote. “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.”
He says recent polls show that for individual policies or responses, the president gets good marks.
“The president gets 65 percent approval for hurricane response and 53 percent approval for the economy and fighting terrorism,” Penn states.
The president’s combative nature, as well as other elements of his personality, put people off, he says.
The lowest poll numbers come from his administering of the government, while sixty-eight percent of Americans want Trump to stop tweeting. Penn says even so, when Trump tweets, the media covers it voraciously, and he “usually ends up winning the underlying policy argument.”
Yet as the pollster points out, asking Americans if they dislike him for his behavior may not be an effective way to take the pulse of the average American voter. “Will voters cast ballots on tweets or jobs?” Penn asks.
Penn also questions the methodology behind the polls themselves, noting that they sample “all adults” without any qualification as to citizenship or voting intent.
The Harvard-Harris Poll, which eliminates all undecideds, has the president’s approval rating at 45 percent.
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