The daily Rasmussen poll, which has been the friendliest poll toward Donald Trump over the first month of his presidency, on Tuesday showed half of Americans saying they disapprove of Trump’s job performance — for the first time. The highest previous disapproval rating for Trump in the Rasmussen poll was 49 percent, recorded on Monday of this week.
The Rasmussen poll has been what statisticians refer to as an “outlier” in the field of daily Trump job approval polls, consistently showing more than 50 percent of American likely voters giving the thumbs-up to Trump in the early days of his term. As recently as Friday, February 17, the Rasmussen poll put Trump’s approve rating at a healthy 55 percent. But Trump lost five points — a full nine percent of his support — just over the holiday weekend, according to Rasmussen.
The Rasmussen poll released Tuesday, despite giving Trump his highest disapproval rating so far, stood in stark contrast to two other polls made public on the same day.
A Gallup daily tracking poll on Tuesday showed 53 percent of Americans disapproving of Trump’s performance on the job, while only 41 percent approved of the job Trump has done so far.
Rasmussen showed 50 percent approval as well as 50 percent disapproval, an even split.
Also on Tuesday, an American Research Group poll placed Trump at 51 percent disapproval and 43 percent approval — results in line with the Gallup findings.
In the major polling averages, Trump’s approval also lagged far behind the Trump-friendly Rasmussen results. The Huffington Post Pollster.com average of all polls put Trump at 51 percent disapproval and 43.5 percent approval.
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The Real Clear Politics average shows similar results, with 50.4 percent disapproval for Trump compared to 45.1 percent who give the okay to his presidency just over one month in.
Rasmussen, despite showing generally favorable results for Trump, also found more than 50 percent of Americans saying that they believe Trump to be under the influence of Russia in his policy decision-making.
Why do the results vary widely between Rasmussen and most other Trump job approval polls? According to polling analyst Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, the answer may lie in the methods used by Rasmussen to conduct its polling, compare to other pollsters.
“Trump’s approval ratings are systematically higher in polls of voters — either registered voters or likely voters — than they are in polls of all adults. And they’re systematically higher in polls conducted online or by automated script than they are in polls conducted by live-telephone interviewers.”
Rasmussen does not base its polls on live interviews but describes itself as “a pioneer in the use of automated telephone polling techniques, but many other firms still utilize their own operator-assisted technology.”
Rasmussen also includes only “likely voters” in its surveys, while other pollsters such as Gallup poll a representative sample of all American adults, without filtering out non-voters or those unlikely to vote.
But even with its methodology that has given Trump his highest approval ratings of a poll, the dramatic drop in approval according to the latest Rasmussen poll will likely give Trump reason to be concerned.
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