The big political story last week were some polls purportedly showing how unpopular Donald Trump has become with those voters who supported him for president last year.
I don’t doubt that he has lost some popularity, as the polls seem to indicate.
But, there are some things that weren’t reported about those polls, assuming their accuracy.
First, there’s the Reuters poll, which was portrayed as a disaster for Trump. If you run the numbers, though, they also show if the election were held today, Trump would win bigger over Hillary Clinton, even taking the popular vote bragging rights away from his opponent.
That’s right. You heard it here first.
Just look at all the numbers.
Hillary Clinton won 66 million total votes.
Donald Trump won 62 million total votes.
The Reuters poll shows, based on what respondents say now, some 12 percent of Trump voters would no longer cast their votes for him, while 88 percent would. His defectors, however, virtually all said they would not have switched their votes to Hillary Clinton.
Meanwhile, 86 percent of Hillary voters said they would vote for her again if the election were a do-over, while 3 percent of that total said they would indeed have switched to Trump.
When you do the calculations, here’s what you get: Hillary with 56.7 million votes and Trump with 57 million – meaning today Trump would win the popular vote against Clinton.
Still there’s more good news for Trump in this latest poll that was widely reported as a catastrophe for him among his own supporters.
This is the second time the poll was conducted among the same group. Last May, the very same individuals showed only 82 percent of Trump voters still favorable to him. This time, two months later, it showed his support among his voters had increased to 88 percent.
It’s not unusual for presidents to lose the enthusiasm of their base of support in their first year in office. Barack Obama did, most notably among his fellow African-Americans. Bill Clinton’s support six months into his first term was at 43 percent. I don’t recall much press about either of those presidencies being on the brink of implosion.
Yes, Trump lost some support among his voters. But he gained the support of some 2 million Hillary supporters. Despite all the negative media focus on Trump over the last six months and no spotlight on Clinton, he lost no support to Hillary.
Do you get the significance here? People who defect in elections from one candidate to another are like a gain of two votes.
Nobody else in the media bothered to make that calculation. Does that surprise you? Of course not.
What does it suggest? Either the media weren’t very enterprising or they wanted to paint the very worst picture of Trump’s overall popularity among voters in the 2016 election.
There was another poll released this month that bears out this theory and, of course, it received less attention than the other.
It shows if the election were held today instead of last November, Trump’s margin of victory would have been even bigger.
That one was conducted by Bloomberg and shows Hillary Clinton far less popular today than Trump.
Trump’s approval rating is at 41 percent, Hillary’s at 39 percent. Trump’s unfavorable rating was at 55 percent, Hillary’s at 58 percent.
After all, it’s all about elections, isn’t it?
Do I need to add that no president in my memory has been beaten up by the media as badly as Trump has been in his first six months? Is there any dispute about that? It’s been a constant drumbeat. Is it surprising that all this fake news about Russian collusion would cause some disaffection?
Yet, at the end of the day, what these polls show is that if the election were held today, Trump would be the popular vote winner – something he did not achieve in 2016. Would the shift have made a difference in Trump’s big win in the Electoral College? Doubtful.
No one, not even in the fake news media, has suggested that.
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