Donald Trump is more popular than Abraham Lincoln, according to a poll that Donald Trump appears to have made up in his own mind.
In a whirlwind interview with the U.K.’s Sun tabloid, Trump made a series of dubious claims about his popularity both at home and abroad that have sparked viral criticism. As Vice noted, the strangest of these claims is that he’s the best-liked president of all time among Republican voters, beating out even Lincoln, the man considered by many to be the greatest president of all time.
“You know, a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party — 92 percent,” Trump claimed. “Beating Lincoln. I beat our Honest Abe.”
No one could seem to find the poll that Trump is referencing. Vice noted that Trump finished dead last in the Presidents & Executive Politics Presidential Greatness survey, where historians rank all of the U.S. presidents. In a more recent poll asking American adults who they believe to be the greatest president of their lifetime, Barack Obama came out on top.
The Hill similarly couldn’t figure out what poll Trump could possibly be referring to, noting that there is no such poll showing that he’s more popular than Abraham Lincoln. Vice noted that Donald Trump remains very popular among Republican voters — regularly hitting around 90 percent in current polling — but even that would put him nowhere near the top of all time. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, George W. Bush had a 98 percent approval among Republican voters, the report noted.
The strange claim even prompted The Hill, normally more reserved in its criticism of the president, especially when it comes to untruths, to say that Trump’s statement was flatly untrue.
— The Hill (@thehill) July 13, 2018
Many others have mocked Trump’s strange claim, including some who noted that opinion polling didn’t exist until many decades after Abraham Lincoln’s death.
Deep in that Sun interview, Trump brags that his poll numbers with Republicans are even better than Lincoln's were. Lincoln died a decade before the telephone was invented and about eight decades before presidential approval polling began. https://t.co/9I5BOotua4
— Josh Barro (@jbarro) July 12, 2018
Donald Trump appears to be a fan of citing fake polls, making a number of off-the-cuff references to approval ratings that don’t seem to exist. And he’s even tried his hand at creating fake polls, Newsweek noted. Late last year, Trump invited followers to his campaign website to take a poll on his first-year approval rating, but offering no negative answers. Those who took the poll were allowed to pick between “Great,” “Good,” “Okay,” or “Other.” The poll then asked how participants would rate Barack Obama, and let them pick “Poor.”