On Monday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted this:
“I’ve been getting really good polls, some over 50%, except for one Fake Poll done by @ABC NEWS, which gives NO INFORMATION about the sample, R or D, or anything else.”
Nothing in that tweet is true.
Let’s dispel the easiest stuff first.
Even a cursory glance at the ABC-Ipsos poll Trump is referring to in the tweet – where his favorable rating sits at just 31% – reveals that Trump’s claim that there is “NO INFORMATION about the sample, R or D, or anything else” is flat wrong. Just scroll to the bottom of this page; there’s all sorts of information about how the poll was conducted and weighted.
Now, for the bigger falsehood in Trump’s tweet – that he has “been getting really good polls, some over 50%.”
While the first part of that claim is purely subjective – I don’t know what Trump considers “really good polls” – the second part is not. In fact, according to CNN polling director Jennifer Agiesta, Trump has never had a favorable rating over 50% in any methodologically sound poll. Ever. As in, when he was a private citizen and since he’s been President. Not. A. Single. One.
The best Trump has ever done? He got to 50% favorable in a 2005 Gallup poll. That was 15 years ago!
All of which is, well, remarkable.
Trump is the first president who has never broken 50% job approval in Gallup polling. The closest he came was in April and May of this year, when 49% of the public approved of the job he was doing, numbers that reflected the rally-round-the-President effect of the early days of the coronavirus. As the public has turned against Trump’s handling of Covid-19 – as the number of cases (more than 6 million) and deaths (more than 183,000) have soared – and the protests against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, the President’s approval ratings have faltered. In Gallup’s most recent poll, conducted earlier this month, just 42% approved of the job he was doing, while 55% disapproved.
Trump’s average approval rating in Gallup data is just 40% – more than 10 points less than the average number (53%) for US presidents since 1938. The only two presidents with lower approval numbers than Trump in July of their fourth year in office since World War II are Jimmy Carter (32% approval) and George H.W. Bush (36% approval). Both men lost their bids for second terms.
It’s also worth noting here that Trump, in his only run for political office, received 46% of the 2016 popular vote – losing that vote by nearly 3 million. (He has claimed repeatedly – and with no actual evidence – that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally for Clinton in 2016.)
Simply put: Donald Trump has never been someone that a majority of the country voted for or thought was doing a good job. It’s why so many Trump allies are, quietly, rooting like hell for rapper Kanye West to qualify for as many state ballots as possible – thereby lowering the win number for the incumbent.
Donald Trump is our first sub-50% president. And if he gets reelected, you can be sure it will be with less than half of the country voting for him.