Please take a good, hard look. Look at the initials on the bottom and remember what each one stands for. Look at the title of the chart, which tells us that we are looking at polling data from day 1 through day 479, for each of the 13 presidents of my lifetime, beginning with Truman and ending with Trump.
Then, if aren’t a statistician, please wrap your mind around this “bar and whiskers chart.” The “whiskers”—the horizontal lines at the bottom and top of each president’s range, tell us the upper and lower limits of his polling numbers. The shaded “bars” in the middle show the range of the middle 50 percent of polling results.
Then, of course, compare Trump with each of the others.
Ezra Klein nails it:
One of Trump’s great political talents, if it can be called that, is to behave so bizarrely that the bar is set lower for him than for any president in history. Then he can claim to have defied the doubters when he barely clears the standard he lowered for himself. If another president were polling at 42 percent amid 3.8 percent unemployment, no one in Washington would even consider covering that as a political achievement.
Trump has not managed to become a popular president. In fact, he seems to be squandering an unusually strong run of peace and prosperity. If Trump and his advisers are fooling themselves into believing otherwise, that’s a more interesting fact about the administration’s internal echo chamber than it is a convincing analysis of reality.
And now, boys and girls, let’s all do the Presidential Political Polling Limbo Rock: