Polling has become one of the most popular tactics/weapons of modern politics, and polls regarding Donald Trump’s approval rating show it waxing and waning simultaneously, depending on where you go.
The challenge that Americans are finding with regard to polls is the sheer number of conflicting points of view, and many of the polls disagree with each other as to what Donald Trump’s actual approval rating is, whether it be regarding his various executive orders or even his presidency overall so far.
The president has emphasized repeatedly not to believe any polls that report the American people are against his policies.
Any negative polls are fake news, just like the CNN, ABC, NBC polls in the election. Sorry, people want border security and extreme vetting.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 6, 2017
The tweet is probably in reference to a recent series of polls conducted regarding the populace’s view on Donald Trump’s immigration/refugee suspension order. Politico and Rasmussen Reports polls indicate there is strong favor for the ban. Yet CBS, CNN, Gallup, and Quinnipiac University offer contradictory reports to the polls, claiming the majority of Americans disapprove of the ban.
Another series of polls, conducted by Reuters and Rasmussen Reports regarding Trump’s overall approval rating, indicate that despite recent dips in popularity, Trump’s administration now has a higher approval than he has had in some time.
The Reuters poll indicates the following trend.
“The latest update in the daily tracking poll, released on Feb. 6, shows that 50.1 percent approve of Trump and 47.3 percent disapprove. The Feb. 6 polling data shows that Trump’s approval rating is rising. On Jan. 31, his approval rating stood at 48.2 percent and his disapproval rating was 46.6 percent.”
On the other hand, CNN refutes those claims.
“A majority, 53%, disapprove of the way the President is handling his job, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, marking the highest disapproval for a new elected president since polls began tracking those results. Trump is the only President to hold a net-negative rating this early in his tenure.”
So who is right? What is the truth? How can Americans get the right information?
Unfortunately, there is no good answer to these questions. There are several aspects to polling that call into question the accuracy of any poll taken. How the questions are phrased, the method used to contact individuals for responses, and even the political leanings of the organization conducting the poll all play a part in the ultimate results of said poll. Few people will be surprised if CNN has a poll indicating negative support for Donald Trump, and the same goes for any poll Fox News takes that results in support for the president.
Even the polls conducted by organizations less well-known for their affiliated political leanings are suspect. Reuters and Gallup are both highly-respected polling groups, yet when it comes to official data regarding the current political arena, conflicting information comes to light.
More importantly yet is the fact that over the last few months, polls failed to be a reliable factor in predicting political results. Just look at the presidential election. Many, many polls favored Hillary Clinton to defeat Trump by a large margin. Yet, despite winning the popular vote, Hillary lost out to Trump in the electoral college by a fairly slim margin. This upset was not expected by the majority of pollsters, regardless of what Trump may claim.
Worse yet, Americans’ own political views taint how they see polls. The affiliation of the polling organization corrupts the perception of the people, regardless of whether someone is Republican or Democratic. What Democrat trusts Fox News? Which Republicans regard MSNBC as a bastion of integrity?
Ultimately, while polls may be a useful tool in helping figure out leanings of Americans, they should not be relied on heavily as the margin for error, despite what pollsters claim, may end up being high enough to corrupt the results, making them untrustworthy.
What are your thoughts on the poll wars going on in the political arena? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below!
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