This morning at 9 AM, Eastern time, the Wall Street Journal and NBC News released new polling data. Follow the links in the preceding sentence to get their respective reporting and spins on the joint poll. Pollyanna will find much to make her glad in the new numbers, even though they could be better.
Here, I want to harken back to the data set explored in my recent post, So, How’s That Gaslighting Thingy Workin’ Out for Ya, Orange Man? In that post, as you may recall, I talked about how Trump’s approval started going up beginning with the Great Pivot Week in mid-March, and how public opinion made a Uey starting around the beginning of April.
Going forward, I courageously predict that Trump’s approval numbers will keep on going down—and the gap between approvers and disapprovers will keep on widening—until one of two things happens:
- His numbers descend to his absolute floor level, or
- Something big happens, to turn Trump’s numbers back in the opposite direction.
This fearless prediction raises two questions:
- What is Trump’s absolute floor level of approval? and
- Applying logic and common sense to the relevant facts, what, if anything, might cause his numbers to start rising again before he reaches his floor?
Today’s poll provides, I believe, some clues.
Trump’s Floor Approval Level
Using the same data set discussed in my Gaslighting Thingy post, we see that Trump’s approval reached a previous floor one day in December, 2017, when it stood between 36 and 37 percent, and the gap between approvers and disapprovers had risen to about 29 percent.
Question 11 in the new poll read this way: “In general do you trust what (READ ITEM) has said about the coronavirus ur not? If you are not aware of what they have said and have no opinion at this time please just say so.”
In response to this question, 69 percent expressed trust in the CDC, 60 percent trusted Dr. Fauci, 66 percent trusted their own state’s governor, and 36 percent trusted Donald Trump. Fifty-two percent affirmatively distrusted Orange Man, while 12 percent were not sure one way or the other.
These Trump numbers may have something to do with the fact that he appears on television for a long time each evening, telling lie after lie after lie. But, be that as it may, I think I may safely assume that the same 36 percent who place their medical faith in Trump now are the same 36 percent who stood by him at the previous nadir of his approval.
Based on available data, then, 36 percent is the floor.
What Might Turn Orange Man’s Numbers Around?
The only obvious thing I can think of is that large numbers of Americans will become so distressed and pissed off by the need to stay home that they will rebel against scientific guidance, and Trump will get in front of that parade. That is pretty clearly what Trump has in mind. (See my post on Shape-Shifting Schizophrenia.)
Will this happen? Will Trump’s fondest dreams come true? Will he be able to get at the front of the peasants with pitchforks, as they march on the CDC? Well, not if current public opinion continues to prevail:
I found this portion of the NBC reporting to be particularly salient:
The NBC News/WSJ poll also shows how the past month has changed Americans’ attitudes about the coronavirus.
In March, 53 percent of voters said they were worried that someone in their immediate family would catch the disease. Now it’s 73 percent.
Also in March, a combined 26 percent said the coronavirus has changed their day-to-day life in a “very” or “fairly” major way. Now it’s 77 percent.
And in a CNBC poll conducted in early April by the same polling firms, 27 percent said they personally know someone infected by the coronavirus. Now, just more than a week later, it’s 40 percent.
“Socially and economically, we have seen a sea change in attitudes in just a month,” said Democratic pollster Jeff Horwitt of Hart Research Associates.