On Sunday morning, Donald Trump’s Twitter time included a post about “Fake Polls,” which he asserted the “Fake Media” shows in an attempt to cover how big and strong his base is. Recent polls have cast his presidency in a certain negative light. However, a poll released by the GOP and emailed to Republican voters has raised concerns about leading questions and biased options.
Politico reported last week that new polls had shown Trump’s approval rating at an historic low, with a CNN poll returning 35 percent approval, and RealClearPolitics reporting 38 percent approval. Other recent polls show, specifically, public disapproval of the tax bill Trump signed before leaving the White House to spend Christmas at Mar-A-Lago, and of his handling of taxes in general.
While voters shared these concerns, the GOP crafted a new opinion poll, releasing it on the Republican party website and via email to supporters. The poll is described as an Inaugural Year Approval Poll for Donald Trump. However, some recipients of the email were quick to call out the pollsters for setting up Obama and Trump’s approval levels with different options.
First, respondents are asked to rate Donald Trump’s first year in office, and are given four options, as follows.
The second question asks poll respondents to rate Obama’s first year in office, but adds a fifth option: ‘Poor.’
Social media users called out the pollsters, with some expressing shock or surprise at the disparate options.
The third question on the poll invites feedback on news coverage of Donald Trump’s approval ratings, but sets up the answer by labeling the media as “fake.”
“Do you believe the Fake News Media will fairly cover President Trump’s first year approval rating?”
Completion of the form leads a voter to a donation page on Trump’s own website, credited to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee, and designated for the 2020 election, primary and general, with a smaller portion funding the Republican National Committee’s operating costs.
Results of the poll comparing Trump and Obama approval ratings have not been made public at this time.
However, on the morning of Christmas Eve, two days after the Inaugural Approval Poll was released, and one day after Newsweek labeled him “the least popular President ever,” Donald Trump tweeted about misleading or false polling and results, referring again to “fake news” and “fake polls.”
Donald Trump has previously expressed his opinion of what constitutes a “fake poll,” and it isn’t determined by language, leading questions, or disparate answer options. According to the President, a fake poll can be defined by the results.
“Any negative polls are fake news…”
Since polls predicting Donald Trump’s loss to Hillary Clinton in the 2016 general election proved inaccurate predictors of the actual result, assertions of ‘fake polls,’ as well as analysis of the accuracy and fallibility of polls, have been a widespread matter of discussion in politics. Sample groups selection, leading questions, and poorly designed answer selections are all matters of concern in poll accuracy.