Recently we posted the July 30 results for our monthly national poll
of 1,000 likely voters. However, with the tragic events in El Paso and Dayton over a week ago, we paused on the political analysis. At present, it seems that compared to a month ago, there has not been much change in similar polls that track with our own results.
It’s a totally amazing political phenomena unique to President Trump. Regardless of what the news or events are, public opinion about the president moves at glacial speeds. If the news is bad and the mainstream media coverage about him is overwhelmingly negative, they can’t reduce his job approval. The president’s base is rock solid and impervious to negative mainstream media coverage. The only one who could reduce the president’s job approval is the president himself. That hasn’t happened, and it’s not likely to happen.
On the other hand, with all the mainstream media’s negative coverage and the unyielding opposition of the Washington political establishment for the past three years, including the phony Russian collusion investigation, they have successfully contained President Trump from breaking above a 50% job approval for any significant sustained period of time. He’s close, but not there yet. And the media and D.C. establishment are going all out to stop him.
Why is this important? Since 9/11 the two presidents who have been re-elected both had a 51% job approval on Election Day, and both were re-elected with 51% of the vote. Today studies have shown that the most significant determinant for a vote for President Trump is his job approval. For every point of job approval, President Trump adds a point to his vote total.
Likely voter polls over the past month cited results at times where the president’s job approval had ticked up to the 50% level, but it wasn’t sustained. Our last monthly poll found the president’s overall job approval at about the same as the previous month at 46% approval.
The president is close, but not over the 50% job approval mark yet. So why are his opponents so rabidly negative, throwing slanderous attacks and disrespecting a sitting president as never before — at least not since maybe Abraham Lincoln? They know that they must frame the president’s disruptive personal style as negative, rather than allow him to define himself in a positive light as a successful president based on his record of accomplishment.
In our June 24 national poll one message question that we asked revealed the key to President Trump gaining a 50%+ job approval and winning re-election. This question showed that the president can clearly generate majority approval when his record of accomplishment and unique style are put in proper perspective.
We asked all voters whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement:
“Politicians have been talking for years about turning the economy around, limiting illegal immigration, and standing up to unfair foreign trade practices, but it took Donald Trump to make it happen. Sometimes he seems like a bull in a china shop and his manners are jarring. It seems he is always fighting with someone, but a nicer, more polite gentleman couldn’t do all that he has done. The powers in charge don’t change unless a guy like Trump comes along to make them change. Trump is too valuable to lose — there is so much more to be done.”
When framed in this way a solid majority of voters, 52%, agreed with this message and only 40% disagreed. Within that majority some voters had actually switched from being unfavorable to the president to now agreeing with this positive framing of the president’s style and record.
Key voter segments agreed with this message including 18% of those voters who are unfavorable to President Trump; 17% of 2016 Clinton voters; 22% of Democrats and 49% of independents; 30% of liberals and 39% of moderates; 54% of Hispanics and 34% of African Americans; 55% of men and 49% of women.
This is a very dramatic shift for a president whose ratings seem so static.
President Trump’s Democratic opponents understand the power of this message. His opponents in the mainstream media understand the potential as well. That’s why they are trying to frame President Trump’s strength in such personally negative terms that there’s no credit given for President Trump’s style or record. Recently Dick Morris framed this same message in his Dick Morris Reports. (It was Dick Morris who recommended us to President Trump back in 2011.)
In this regard, our July national poll showed that the majority still wants President Trump to bring change. When we asked: “President Trump was elected on a pledge to bring change to Washington. Should President Trump continue to fight to change Washington?” By a majority of 51% to 38% the voters said yes. This includes 21% among Democrats; 47%-39% among independents; 47% among Hispanics and 17% among African Americans.
It’s very clear that the majority actually thinks President Trump is “too valuable to lose” to bring about change.
So why is the president’s overall job approval stuck in this upper 40’s band and unable to permanently break above 50% job approval? It’s very simple. The mainstream media has the president in an information cul-de-sac where most voters do not get to see or hear the president directly.
Nevertheless, the president has an excited and loyal Republican and conservative base, from whom he receives maximum support. However, he needs to win more support from independents and moderates. Republicans and conservatives approve the job the president is doing 87%-12% and 82%-17%, respectively. However, among moderates only 28% approve of the job the president is doing, while 69% disapprove. Among independents only 39% approve, while 58% disapprove. Clearly the votes the president needs can be found among independents and moderates.
With so many accomplishments including a growing economy that’s created almost 6 million new jobs and a stronger America abroad, why isn’t the president’s support broader?
A series of questions that we asked voters about where they get their information about the president, whether directly from him or only from the news media, reveals the problem. The problem is the information gatekeepers — the mainstream news media.
If the mainstream news media is the source of information about the president without the voters seeing and hearing him directly, whether it’s the State of the Union Speech, the president’s June announcement speech, or the president’s July 4 speech, these voters have a negative opinion of the president. However, if they follow the president directly on social media, or if the voters see and hear the president speak directly, the response is overwhelmingly positive.
Right after the State of the Union Speech media polls reported a very favorable reaction from those who watched the president. In a February survey of battleground state swing voters, if they directly heard or watched the president’s speech for themselves, his job approval among these swing voters was net positive 51%-47%. However, if the voters saw only filtered news reports about the speech, his job approval was only 36% and his disapproval 58%. Fortunately, tens of millions of Americans actually watched the State of the Union and saw the president speak directly to them. Seeing this big of a difference between watching the speech or only seeing news about it, you had to wonder if there were two different State of the Union speeches?
In our June national poll, when we asked if they watched the president’s announcement speech at his rally in Orlando, 26% of all voters said yes. Among all voters 15% saw it on cable news. Only Fox News and Newsmax broadcast the speech. Not CNN. No networks. Another 6% watched it on YouTube and 4% on Facebook. There was a dramatic difference between those who watched President Trump directly vs. those who only saw or heard news reports. Among those who watched the announcement speech on Fox News, Newsmax, Facebook, or YouTube, the president’s job approval was 75% approve and 25% disapprove.
Among the 39% of voters who only saw the mainstream media’s news reports about the announcement, only 40% approved of the job the president is doing, 59% disapproved.
In our July national poll we saw the same impact for the president’s July 4 speech. Among the 30% of all voters who said they watched the president’s 4th of July speech (16% of all voters saw it on cable; 8% on local TV; 4% YouTube; and 3% Facebook) the president’s job approval was 68% approve and 32% disapprove. If they only saw news reports about the speech, only 40% approved and 59% disapproved.
In the same July poll, 26% of all voters say they currently follow the president on social media: Twitter 17%, Facebook 13%, and Instagram 11%. Many follow him on more than one platform. Once again we saw the same pattern. Among the voters who follow the president directly on social media his job approval is 79% approve and only 21% disapprove. However, among the rest of the voters his approval is only 34% and 64% disapprove.
From these results it’s very clear that the mainstream news media’s bias and negative coverage of the president is trying to keep a lid on his job approval and just as he has been able to disrupt Washington to get things done, President Trump will have to disrupt the media further to get his message to the voters.
Among other major findings from our July 30 monthly national poll were:
— 42% of all voters said that the country was headed in the right direction. 53% said wrong track.
— Only 35% of all voters are favorable to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. 51% were unfavorable.
— The Democrats regained the lead on the generic ballot for Congress 47%-43%.
— The majority prefers free market capitalism over big government socialism 60%-14%.
— The majority says the economy is getting better 52% to only 38% who say getting worse.
— The number of voters who say they prefer smaller government with fewer services dropped to 46%, while those who favor larger government with many services has risen to 38%. The Democratic primary could be having an impact on the voters.
— President Trump maintained a solid lead in the Republican primary with 81% of the vote; Mark Sanford received 4% and William Weld 2%.
— In the Democratic primary among the leaders, Joe Biden fell to 28%. Sanders received 15%, Harris 10%, and Warren 9%. Among the majority of Democrats who call themselves liberals: Biden 23%, Sanders 21%, Warren 12% and Harris 11%. It was among African Americans where Biden still held a large 47% to 12% lead over Harris.
John McLaughlin has worked professionally as a strategic consultant and pollster for over 35 years. During this time he has earned a reputation for helping some of America’s most successful corporations and winning some of the toughest elections in the nation. His political clients have included former Presidential candidates Steve Forbes and Fred Thompson, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, former Georgia Governor Nathan Deal and 22 current and former U.S. Senators and 18 current Republican members of Congress. Internationally John has worked for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, and former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. In 2016, John worked as an advisor and pollster for Donald Trump from the primaries through Election Day.
Jim McLaughlin is a nationally recognized public opinion expert, strategic consultant and political strategist who has helped to elect a U.S. President, Prime Ministers, a Senate Majority Leader, and a Speaker of the House. Jim has worked for over 70 members of Congress, 14 U.S. Senators, 10 governors, numerous mayors and scores of other elected officials. He also serves as a consultant and market research strategist to Fortune 500 companies. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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