It’s always easy to tell when Donald Trump is frightened by the political and legal perils he encounters. His first reaction is predictably to grab his phone and tweet out incoherent rants. They might be about issues he incompetently tries to advance, or about people he perceives as enemies. But often it’s about the media that he despises for doing their job.
Most of the time Trump disparages the free press in a transparent attempt to inoculate himself from criticism. It’s a pathetic spectacle that everyone can see through, but worse, it’s anti-democratic. Sometimes he goes on the attack just to convince himself that he is loved by the American people, despite reality. On Tuesday morning Trump did the latter with a tweet lauding his alleged popularity:
Thank you to Rasmussen for the honest polling. Just hit 50%, which is higher than Cheatin’ Obama at the same time in his Administration.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 3, 2018
Let’s just set aside the baseless and deranged “Cheatin’ Obama” crap (who cheats more than Trump? Ask any of his three wives) and focus on the substance. Rasmussen is one of the most egregiously biased pollsters, well known for skewing their results to favor Republicans and conservatives. So Trump’s numbers in this poll are unreliable and far outside the range of every other pollster. The RealClear Politics average for Trump currently shows an approval of 41.8 percent, disapproval 53.2 percent. That negative 11.4 percent gap averages the latest twelve surveys. Rasmussen is the only pollster who gives Trump a positive (+1) rating. The next closest is Fox News, whose number (-7) is not exactly something to brag about. No poll (except for Rasmussen) gives Trump a rating higher than 45 percent. Gallup has his approval at only 39 percent.
It’s also notable that since Trump posted his tweet, even the Rasmussen numbers have become negative, flipping to 50 disapprove. That’s one of the risks of depending on polls for your self-esteem. They change. Nevertheless, Trump is likely still wallowing in his delusional state of magnificence. However, by tweeting “Thank you to Rasmussen,” he is demonstrating that he doesn’t know what polls are. They are not favors to the subjects of the surveys and it’s peculiar to thank them for their results. Well, maybe Rasmussen is an exception to that as well.
UPDATE: Two days later, Trump dips again in Rasmussen poll. He’s now at 47% approve, 51% disapprove, with 41% strongly disapprove.
Another survey that was released Monday was from Monmouth University and covered the public view of Trump and the media. Like other polls before it, Monmouth found that Americans trust the media more than they do Donald Trump. That’s gotta sting the President who has been striving furiously to turn the nation against the press. The detail shows that 48 percent of Americans trust CNN more than Trump (35% trust Trump more). Forty-five percent trust MSNBC more than Trump (32% for Trump). Even 30 percent trust Fox News more than Trump (20% for Trump). Although the Fox numbers also show that a plurality of 37 percent trust both equally. This affirms that Trump’s base is still immovably stuck in the low thirties.
There are some other interesting results in this survey. Notably the fact that most Americans believe that the media, at least occasionally, reports “fake” news. And many them believe that it is done deliberately “in order to push an agenda.” That’s indicative of the harm done by a leader who has no respect for the free press and seeks to delegitimize journalism generally in order to escape accountability. But it also makes Trump’s trust levels even worse in context. The American people still trust the media more than Trump even though they think that what the media reports is occasionally fake. Which means that they think Trump is even more fake. Let’s see if he tweets anything about that.
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
Available now at Amazon.