President Donald Trump kick-started a media firestorm once again by claiming to have the “highest Poll Numbers in the history of the Republican Party.”
“Wow, highest Poll Numbers in the history of the Republican Party. That includes Honest Abe Lincoln and Ronald Reagan. There must be something wrong, please recheck that poll!,” the POTUS tweeted.
It remains unclear what poll Trump is citing. According to The Hill, the president could be referencing a recently published Gallup poll, which showed his approval rating slipping back to 41 percent: 87 percent among Republicans, five percent among Democrats.
Trump’s recent tweet echoes what he told The Sun while visiting England.
“You know, a poll just came out that I am the most popular person in the history of the Republican Party. Beating Lincoln. I beat our Honest Abe,” he told the British news outlet.
What the president failed to take into consideration, however, is the fact that Gallup’s presidential polling only goes back to the Truman administration, The Hill noted, meaning: Even if the POTUS is right, he has no data to back up his claims. Apart from that, former President George W. Bush had a higher approval rating among Republicans shortly after the September 11 attacks.
In February this year, to honor of Presidents’ Day, the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and the pollster Ipsos tested the popularity of the last 12 American presidents. Participants were asked to rate the presidents on a scale of one to 10. John F. Kennedy came in first, Ronald Reagan second, and Donald Trump tenth, beating only Johnson and Nixon.
Among Republicans, Reagan – and Trump claims to be more popular than him – was given an average of 8.03.
In an NBC News column, Kathryn Cramer Brownell, assistant professor of history at Purdue University, compared Donald Trump to other U.S. presidents, in the context of fame. Unlike others, Donald Trump is, Brownell argues, obsessed with his own celebrity.
“In the Oval Office, however, Trump is still preoccupied with himself. He talks often about his ratings, his brand and his crowd size. Unlike his media-savvy predecessors, Trump has yet to translate his persuasive showbiz campaign style into an effective leadership strategy.”
For him, publicity is the end goal and not merely a tool, Brownell added, concluding that Trump – if he decides to focus on remaining the world’s biggest celebrity – risks ending up at the bottom of presidential ranking lists.
Others, as well, have criticized Donald Trump’s alleged obsession with self-image and his own celebrity. In August 2017, Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, told ABC News that Trump was still struggling to make the transition from reality television star to the President of the United States.
“This is who he is. This is a guy obsessed with his own self-image; how his numbers are doing, whether everything is playing to a narrative he has developed in his own head,” Steele concluded.