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LUNCHTIME POLITICS: Political Axioms Often False – Changing Attitudes – Tuesday Trivia

Your Daily Polling Update for Tuesday, April 14

TRUMP JOB APPROVAL: AVERAGE 45%

Same as Friday

RON’S COMMENT: Today’s average is based on five polls, ranging from 42% (Reuters) to 49% (Fox News). Without these extremes, the average would still be 45%…. Trump’s disapproval rating averages 53% today (+2 from Friday), which is 7 points higher than his approval rating

TRUMP AND CORONAVIRUS

Among voters and adults nationwide

% = Approve/Disapprove
(ABC News): 44%/55%
(Fox News): 51%/48%
(The Hill): 50%/50%
Average approval: 48.3%
Average disapproval: 51%

RON’S COMMENT: The Hill and Fox polls are based on a sample of registered voters, while the ABC poll is based on a sample of adults…. In the previous ABC poll a week earlier, President Trump’s approval rating on handling the coronavirus was 47%; this newer poll shows his rating has declined 3 points…. The previous Fox News poll taken about two weeks before this one shows his approval has stayed the same, at 51%.

PRESIDENT
Among voters statewide

ARIZONA
Biden over Trump: +9 (52-43)

RON’S COMMENT: This poll is surprisingly good for Biden in a state that Trump carried by almost 4 points in 2016….. One complication: Seven in 10 Trump voters are  “extremely enthusiastic” about voting in the election, compared to 3 in 5 Biden supporters.

CONNECTICUT
Biden over Trump: +13 (47-34)

RON’S COMMENT: Biden gets 81% of Democrats, 40% of independents and 13% of Republicans…. Hillary Clinton beat Trump in Connecticut by almost 14 points…. This poll also finds the job approval of Gov. Ned Lamont (D) is 41% approve/31% disapprove, which is better than he was in December or March.

COVID-19: PUBLIC ATTITUDES

By Lydia Saad, Gallup

Excerpts from Gallup polling:

  • Americans are increasingly perceiving that the country has already entered a recession or worse, although a sizeable minority of Republicans continue to see the economy in less grave terms.
  • The percentage of Americans being significantly affected by nationwide social-distancing rules and guidelines has leveled off since late March, but at a very high level.
  • The vast majority of investors (those with $10,000 or more in the market) are either sitting tight or looking at the stock market downturn as a buying opportunity rather than a time to sell. Nevertheless, they are becoming less optimistic that the market will bounce back quickly.
  • After 65% of parents reported in late March that their child was receiving online distance learning from their school, that figure has swelled but is still not 100%. Whether some schools are still getting their online programs up and running or will leave parents to find their own means of engaging students remains to be seen.

For more, go to READ HERE

TUESDAY TRIVIA

In addition to the two major party vice-presidential nominees––Mike Pence and Tim Kaine––three sitting U.S. senators received Electoral College votes for vice president in the 2016 election. Name them.

(See answers below)

BEWARE OF POLITICAL AXIOMS

by Ron Faucheux

Politics is filled with truisms that aren’t true. Let’s look at some of them.

“All politics are local.”  That hasn’t been the case since Speaker Tip O’Neill popularized the notion in the 1980s. A good bit of state and local politics now turn on national personalities and issues. Remember Republican gubernatorial candidates last year embracing Donald Trump? How about Democrats in 2018 running district campaigns against the president?

“The only poll that matters is the one on Election Day.”  If that’s so, why did Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Julian Castro and Cory Booker withdraw from the presidential race before one vote was cast?

“National polls were wrong in 2016.”  Not exactly. Of the 13 final polls conducted the week before the election, only one had Trump ahead and 12 put Hillary Clinton on top. But, keep in mind that national polls measure popular votes, not electoral votes. Clinton did, in fact, win the popular vote by 2.1 points. The average of the 13 final national polls had her ahead by 3.1 points, which was only a point off the actual result. Ironically, the 12 polls that had Clinton ahead turned out to be closer to the actual outcome than the one poll that put Trump first.

“The candidate who spends the most money wins.”  Think again. Michael Bloomberg dropped nearly a billion dollars on his presidential bid and withdrew the day after the first round of primaries. In 2016, Donald Trump’s campaign spent $531 million and won. Hillary Clinton spent $969 million and lost. In the 2018 Texas Senate race, loser Beto O’Rourke outspent winner Ted Cruz $79 million to $46 million.

“It doesn’t matter what they say about you as long as they spell your name right.”  Ask candidates who lost elections after being bombarded with attack ads if they agree with this nonsense.

“Donald Trump was elected because his base turned out in record numbers.”  Actually, not. Trump was elected by people who disliked him. Polls showed that only 38 percent of voters in 2016 liked Trump––which was not enough to carry him to victory. Trump found the extra votes he needed among the 18 percent of the electorate that disliked both him and Hillary Clinton. In the end, Trump beat Clinton by double-digits among these voters, none of whom were fans of his.

“Debates don’t matter.”  Ask Elizabeth Warren and Michael Bloomberg about this one. Warren built her early presidential campaign momentum on strong performances in the first two Democratic debates. But when she couldn’t explain how she’d pay for Medicare-for-All in later debates, she nosedived. Bloomberg was doing well for a while, gaining endorsements and improving his poll numbers. But his first debate appearance wiped him out.

“Presidential nominees always carry their home states.”  Nope. The last two Republican presidential nominees lost their home states: Donald Trump lost New York and Mitt Romney lost Massachusetts. On the Democratic side, both Al Gore and George McGovern failed to carry their home states; Adlai Stevenson lost his twice.

“Nobody cares about the deficit.”  With passage of the $2 trillion coronavirus recovery package, expect this year’s federal budget deficit to rise like a rocket. Political strategists say it doesn’t matter; they believe voters don’t lose sleep over such technicalities. Polls, however, indicate otherwise. A Gallup survey reveals that 95% of Americans worry about the federal budget deficit, including 50 percent who worry a “great deal.” A Pew poll finds that 91% of Americans think the deficit is a big problem.

Political axioms are like used cars. Before you buy one, check under the hood.

TRIVIA ANSWER

Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Susan Collins (R-ME) and Maria Cantwell (D-WA) each received an electoral vote for vice-president in 2016, even though they weren’t nominated by their parties.

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SOURCES
Presidential job rating average based on recent nationwide polls.
TRUMP AND CORONAVIRUS: ABC News, April 8-9; Fox News, April 4-7
ARIZONA: OH Predictive Insights, April 4-7
CONNECTICUT: Hartford Courant/Sacred Heart, March 24-April 3

 

Lunchtime Politics is owned and published by Ron Faucheux, Chief Analyst at Certus Insights. For interviews or speeches about polling and political trends, contact Dr. Faucheux at rfaucheux@certusinsights.com.

The publisher of this report cannot attest to the reliability or methodology of surveys that it does not conduct.

Copyright 2020 Ronald A. Faucheux

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About Us
Ron Faucheux
rfaucheux@certusinsights.com

Dr. Faucheux is a nationally respected public opinion analyst with a unique background in public policy and legislative research, public communications and message strategies. He combines professional competence with pragmatic problem solving skills.