The Washington Post and ABC News have a new opinion poll as Donald Trump’s presidency approaches the 100-day mark, and it finds what a lot of other polls have found: Trump isn’t exactly a popular guy. But the Post’s write-up about the poll includes what we in the business call a “buried lede”:
“Despite the public’s skepticism of Trump’s first 100 days, the survey finds little evidence voters would render a different verdict from last November, when Trump won key states needed to secure victory in the electoral college despite Clinton winning more votes nationwide.
“The new survey finds 46 percent saying they voted for Clinton and 43 percent for Trump, similar to her two-point national vote margin. Asked how they would vote if the election were held today, 43 say they would support Trump and 40 percent say Clinton.”
These are the 25th and 26th paragraphs of a 27-paragraph story. But for everyone out there raging about Trump, they are the whole story.
If you ever ask yourself how we ended up with a man you personally detest in the White House, remind yourself it’s because Democrats virtually cleared the field* for someone who proved to be the single worst candidate in U.S. presidential history (or double worst candidate, if you include her startling loss to Barack Obama in the 2008 primary). So bad, in fact, was Clinton that even after three months of liberals protesting and marching against Trump, it is she, not he, who appears to have lost support.
Keep that in mind, too, when people fret about things like the potential government shutdown this week. All things being equal, it would be better not to have a shutdown. But it’s also clear that many Americans voted explicitly for change over all other considerations, so perhaps a shutdown won’t dent Trump’s support any more than everything else has. And his supporters, the Post’s poll shows, are still very much with him. From the Post’s story: “When asked if they would vote for him again, 96 percent say they would, which is higher than the 85 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who say they would support her again.”
*Given how little attention Bernie Sanders was given when he announced his candidacy, I think it’s safe to say the Democratic establishment did not take him seriously at the beginning. And while he certainly had his fervent supporters, he also served for many Democratic voters as a protest vote against the deeply flawed Clinton.