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Politics

Understanding Trump’s Approval Rating – Truth and Implications, No Hype

approval

If you haven’t noticed, President Trump is a high-risk/high-reward president.  This means he selects big challenges, with potentially out sized rewards, but the process takes longer, requires front-end personal and political investment, and losing is entirely possible.   Pollsters, and some Americans, find this hard to understand.  Accordingly, polls are increasingly suspect.

Trump likes big challenges?  Yes, like running for president, passing those Reagan-era tax cuts, rolling back Obama-care mandates and penalties, remaking NAFTA to serve US interests, asking Europe to pay more for their own defense, calling China out for unfair trade (levying tariffs for a deal), and sitting down with North Korea’s Kim Jung Un – to promote historic denuclearization. 

Objectively, President Trump’s track record is solid – although a China deal is probably months away, and North Korean denuclearization years off, if ever.  The US economy continues to post extraordinary growth, unemployment at an all-time low, productivity and wage growth rising, inflation in check.  No one predicted those developments, even polled economists.  

Leading polls also gave little chance for meaningful tax cuts in 2017, but President Trump got them.  His “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” reduced individual tax rates, doubled standard deductions, dropped corporate taxes from 35 to 21 percent, and managed to reduce the drag of Obamacare.

How, you may ask?  In big ways that were hardly reported.  Trump eliminated the “Obamacare Individual Mandate Tax” on eight million Americans, dropped employer tax mandates, ended the Obamacare “medicine cabinet tax” which clipped 20 million Americans with Health Saving Accounts (HSAs), and 30 million with flexible spending accounts.  That’s right.

Additionally, the Trump Tax bill ended $20 billion in taxes on flexible spending accounts, $125 billion in taxes on out-of-pocket medical expenses, and $100 million in taxes that Obama-Pelosi-Schumer had put on Health Saving Account withdrawals. 

Trump ended Obama’s “health insurance tax,” abolished a 3.8 percent surcharge on investment income, nixed Obamacare’s taxes on medical devices, prescription medicines, and –unconscionable – the Obamacare tax on “retiree prescription drug coverage.” Trump ended them.  

You did not read about all that?  Well, it all happened, and we are the beneficiaries.  Never mind why we did not hear about it, how did it happen?  This is a high-risk/high reward president.  He made a promise, held firm.  Same is true on issues from Defense and Homeland Security to State and creating transparency in drug and hospital pricing.   

The real kicker?  Little of this shows up in polls.  Polls reflect prevailing news content, which – no surprise – is overwhelmingly anti-Trump, leading networks producing confusing news with opinion. Consistent partisanship by national media is new, but surprises may hide in Trump’s poll numbers.

First, just as in 2016, there is no way to assess popular disapproval of media partisanship.  Some viewers are influenced to be anti-Trump.  Others strongly resent media partisanship, particularly masquerading as news. Many voters in 2016 held opinions close, closer than pollsters realized – even dodging public discourse, but later cast votes for Trump-Pence. 

Second, actual numbers are interesting.  Conservative outlets worry about President Trump’s March Gallop Poll rating of 39 percent approval, a slip from 43 percent in February.  But context is important.  Context suggests that President Trump is in a better position than many credit. 

Notably, his 39 percent approval comes in the face of a headwind.  The vocal Democrat House has promoted heightened rhetoric on impeachment (not going to happen), partisan congressional oversight investigations, and constant talk of the Mueller Russia inquiry.  Separately, Trump has not yet scored a China accord or new steps with North Korea.  Add media hype over congressional testimony by Michael Cohen, the president’s former lawyer, and you get a real headwind.

But historical comparisons are illuminating.  President Clinton’s lowest approval was 37 percent, President Obama’s 38 percent, and George W. Bush’s (three times) 25 percent.  President Trump’s lowest is 35 percent, and he now oscillates between 43 and 39 percent.  So, in historical context, these numbers may be average, above average, or meaningless.

Net take-away is this:  America and our collective sentiment is no longer readily and accurately assessed by anonymous pollsters.  The country is divided, subdivided again within major political parties.  Polls miss the mark because average Americans trust less in a society where speech is chilled – and political speech often punished. 

Truth is, like him or not, President Trump is authentic – perhaps too loose, candid, and unguarded in thoughts and tweets, but he is what he is.  In a world of mirrors, recrimination, assumed discrimination, and instant outrage; in a time of deliberate misinterpretation, hostile accusation, and a culture of communal victimhood; in a day of disrespect for traditional freedoms like religion, speech, association and reference to history, this president is unmoved. 

Trump’s high-risk/high-reward brand of politics attracts some, infuriates others – but creates a degree of connection, deliberate ambiguity, and success that makes polling a flimsy guide to the future.   Some find this unsettling, incorrigible, and irritating; others find it refreshing, reassuring, and even delightful.  Take your pick.  

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Read more articles by Robert B. Charles

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Drue

I am a results oriented person. As such, I balance the results that President Trump has attained against the cost of getting them. Trump is a businessman. He will step on toes or rub people the wrong way. Do I always agree with his methods? No. But I love the results he has been able to achieve so far.

PaulE

The reason some people don’t understand President Trump’s so called style is because he is NOT your typical double-talking, do nothing professional politician most people have come to not only expect, but actually openly accept as what a standard politician should be. That is a problem of a large percentage of the American public, not of President Trump. President Trump is a tough, get it done or else, self-made multi-billionaire businessman. Think of other highly successful people in the business world. Most were not handed their success and wealth on a silver platter. They had to earn it. I repeat, they had to earn it! That means you have to deliver on your commitments. You have to assess situations, identify issues and potential problems and then find way to solve all those problems and deliver results to achieve the goals of the business. You have to do it over and… Read more »

Tom

President Trump is the best person for the US, who is focused on one overriding issue of what is best for Americans. The democrats simply can’t handle that fact and have been ineffective in stopping the President indoing his job.

Lou

The $25 million that was wasted on the Mueller investigation should have been spent on the wall

PAUL

WELL SAID! GO TRUMP! MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS THE USA & PRESIDENT TRUMP.

JOE

I believe that now that the Mueller probe is over we are going to see China come to the table and make a deal. Also believe NoKs Kim will be calling POTUS for a meeting.

James Rust

One very important item left off this paper is Trump’s positive energy plan to increase production of coal, oil, and natural gas. We are at all time levels of production of oil and natural gas and exporting these fuels. This has added millions of high paying jobs. Praise would take a lot of space.

Susan P

Shortly after Obama’s tax on medical devices was imposed, I found myself working on the campaign of a local running for city council. The young man working with me, knocking on doors, was employed selling medical devices to doctors and hospitals. He complained that due to the 3.8% tax imposed on such devices, his business was falling off sharply. The extra 3.8% tax put the cost of the devices out of reach of most doctors and many hospitals. To me, that meant a lower level of care for patients. Obamacare was never about health care for the people. It was always about exercising more control over the population. God Bless Donald Trump!

Liz Cox

Well said, Robert B. Charles…Thanks!

Bonnie

Someone really should tell the MSM and the poll takers that Trump supporters are usually underground and usually don’t respond to polls. There are many private social media groups solely consisting of Trump supporters. So he has been told whatever the poll number is add 10, but I bet it is much more than that. There was a pro-Trump rally today at Trump Tower in NYC. Did anyone report it? Probably not, but watch the coverage tomorrow when Kirsten Gillibrand holds an anti-Trump rally at the same place tomorrow.

Alene Math

President Trump is a true citizen representative of the people, just like the Founding Fathers envisioned. He is in NO way a career politician but a man that loses money every day just to serve his fellow citizens. He is NOT running his company while in office, he gives away his Presidential salary to other organizations that could use the money. He has done nothing but great things for this country while his political enemies have done nothing but falsely vilify him at every turn. Now the Mueller report is out and like President Trump has maintained all along he has done nothing wrong nor have any of his associates done anything wrong regarding anything having to do with Russia and the 2016 election. He was and is truly the victim of a witch hunt started with false data purchased by the DNC and Hillary Clinton. He is a truly… Read more »

Mary

Well said.

Joe jordan

I like Trump and the way he operates. He talks straight and says what’s on his mind. Prior president for the last 100 years were all politicians and said little.

Neal Thomason

Thank you.

Andrea Bell

We are blessed with a wonderful, brilliant President! I thank the Lord for his wisdom, courage, and strength. He is a gift from God to all of us. May we treasure and stand strong to support him as the gift he is to America!

Gloria P. Sterling

I have never been and am not one to trust in polls. The pollsters know just how to form the questions and to whom they ask.

Sam

I wish he was more ‘housebroken’ than he is, but at least this guy doesn’t just play the mealy-mouthed game REAL politicians play. This guy says things that are not always Politically Correct and he doesn’t always say what the audience wants to hear. That sort of thing drives the Left berserk, and deservedly so.

Cynthia

TRUMP 2020. TRUMP JR. 2024 IVANKA 2032

Jim

People get caught up in Trump’s rhetoric. Apparently they have never dickered in a flea market or haggled for a better price on a car. I tend to ignore what Trump says and focus on what he does. I like the results he is getting. He is proving with actions that he loves this country and is looking out for the best interests of its citizens.

Mike

Imagine if everyone got behind President Trump. We would once again set the standard in the world. Now we the people have been sold out by the liberals and many republicans to the deep state. Greed will continue and the American people will continue to become controlled by those wanting to become the elite in a socialist ruled government. The media and the deep state can only spew hatred for the one that loves America more than money. They know war is inevitable and will stop at nothing to make firearms illegal. We must stay strong and diligent in our fight to save our freedoms, our children deserve that from us. Those that have fought to keep our country free deserve that from us. God deserve that from us.