Anomalies

no tests

I want to return to the most recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, and puzzle through some of the numbers. These number in particular, ranked from lowest to highest:

Percentage of registered voters who are “not at all worried” “that you or someone in your immediate family might catch the coronavirus”: 7.

Percentage of who do not trust Dr. Fauci: 8. (Note that 60 percent trust him, while a whopping 34 percent are not sure, one way or the other.)

Percentage of people who are either “not at all worried” (7, see above) or “not too worried” (18) that “you or someone in your immediate family might catch the coronavirus”: 25.

Percentage who think the “United States will take too long in loosening restrictions and the economic impact will be even worse with more jobs being lost”: 32.

Percentage who say “strongly approve” of Trump’s job as president: 32.

Percentage who are “satisfied” with the federal government’s role in ensuring enough medical supplies and in “ensuring that there is enough testing to determine how far the coronavirus has spread”: 34, to each question. (Those “unsatisfied” were 62 and 64 percent respectively. Significantly, on these particular questions, only very small numbers felt they didn’t have enough information to answer, one way or another.)

Percentage who generally believe what Trump says about the coronavirus: 36.

Percentage who think Trump would be better than Biden at “handling a [generic, unspecified] crisis”: 38. (47 thought Biden would be better than Trump; the remaining 15 percent gave various responses to the generic crisis-handling question.)

Percentage who say their “feelings” about Trump are either “very positive” (31) or “somewhat positive”: 41

Percentage who say they plan to vote for Trump this November: 42.

Percentage who say they approve of Trump’s handling of the coronavirus crisis: 44.

Percentage who say they “strongly” (32) or “somewhat” approve of Trump’s job as president: 46.

Now to do a little interpreting. Here are some of my thoughts. But please feel free to draw your own conclusions. We report, you decide.

The “Liberty” Death Cultist Protesters

Trump is doing a splendid job of appealing to the seven percent of voters who are sure they and their family won’t catch the disease and to voters who are sure that Dr. Fauci doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

And do remember that pretty much all these folks believe that God is an old man in the sky who micromanages the universe, and who is right now, in the month of April, visiting the plague mostly on despised brown-skinned people.

Right now, Trump has those folks’ November vote well and truly nailed down. And, by George, he wants to keep it that way.

The Thirty Percenters

Look at all those numbers ranging between 32 and 38 percent. Here we see the hard core Trump cultists. Not exactly big news, but certainly confirmative of what we already knew.

But here is something interesting: only about a quarter of them are die-hard (pardon the pun) Know Nothings. The remaining three quarters are not sure whether to believe Dr. Fauci or not.

“I Know Trump is Lying About the Coronavirus, But I Support Him Anyway”

Only 36 percent believe Trump is giving reliable medical advice, but, compared with the 36 percent who say they believe him,

  • another six percent plan to vote for him anyway,
  • another eight percent approve of his handling of the coronavirus, and
  • another ten percent approve of his job as president, generally.

Who, pray tell, are these folks who know Trump is lying but support him anyway? This morning, I let my imagination run wild and came up with some wild explanations. But only one makes sense, and that is the speculation I will share with you. I think these are people who approve of Trump’s manful refusal to exercise the federal government’s power to control the supply chain, to ensure that supplies are sufficient to meet the need.

Socialism!

Communism!

Better to let tens of thousands die than to lend support to socialist, communistic actions!

Heaven Forfend! Strong federal action to solve pressing social problems might become a habit!

But, as Pollyanna might say, I suppose we may be grateful that only six percent of our fellow Mericans know Trump is lying but plan to vote for him because he blocked communistic proposals to supply the country with medical supplies.

UPDATE

A new post this afternoon takes a deeper dive into the WSJ/NBC poll than I was about to do—I didn’t have the “crosstabs”—and finds considerable evidence that Trump’s effort to whip up the rubes involves riling up a “truly shriveling minority” of voters. Take a look for yourself.

That conclusion is fully consistent with my instinct and, I think, with common sense. But data are very useful, to confirm intuition and common sense.

Apart from suffering from clinical narcissism and the inability to absorb factual information, Trump is also a riverboat gambler. But he is a piss poor riverboat gambler. He does not know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em, know when to walk away, know when to run.

So I stand by my prediction that he’s going to get back to the Nuremberg rallies, come mid-May or sooner. And my prediction that, “truly shriveling minority” as they may be, they will nevertheless, in their thousands and tens of thousands, come along to the rallies in their Ford trucks, coughing and sneezing all the way.

The New WSJ/NBC Poll

chrystal ball

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:

  1. His numbers descend to his absolute floor level, or
  2. Something big happens, to turn Trump’s numbers back in the opposite direction.

This fearless prediction raises two questions:

  1. What is Trump’s absolute floor level of approval? and
  2. 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:

Screen Shot 2020-04-19 at 12.35.35 PM

I found this portion of the NBC reporting to be particularly salient:

“A sea change” in attitudes about the coronavirus

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.