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Did Handling of Disinfectant Comments Cost President His Record High Approval Rating?

It appears that the response to President Donald Trump’s impromptu comments regarding disinfectants may have had a demonstrable negative effect on his polling numbers.

President Donald Trump has seen his share of adversity, and poor or even unfair news coverage. His polls have shown a dynamic movement, though he’s never enjoyed a majority approval of his actions in aggregate polls. However, his highest aggregate polling numbers occurred this year, after the passage of the economic stimulus package with direct payments to Americans.

The comments we are referring to happened during a live press conference on April 23, 2020. The video below is unaltered, and from a FOX news affiliate in Pheonix, Arizona, FOX News 10 Pheonix:

 

What is Aggregate Polling?

Real Clear Politics, a website that aggregates polling data without applying a political spin to them, was founded by a Republican. We found this site to be highly accurate, leading up to the 2016 election. They put out clear information in the form of poll aggregates.

Aggregate simply defined is “sum,” or “whole,” and means that you take many things together to get a whole or total view of the data.

On RealClearPolitics, the data from all polls are collected and averaged out, showing trends much more clearly than taking any single poll into account. It helps remove some of the bias caused by so many polls having politically motivated funding sources — or those that cherry-pick respondents or word questions deceptively to get the answers they want.

How We Determined Our Conclusions

Looking at Trump’s approval/disapproval ratings over the last year, then specifically over the last 30 days, we matched highs and lows with White House events occurring shortly before, or early on the day of, polls used for the aggregate results in the graphs.

The role of mainstream news:

We assumed that many of President Donald Trump’s supporters are likely to get their news exclusively or nearly exclusively from sources that Trump sees as accurate or from him, alone. Further, that people reading or getting their news from sources that are generally considered unacceptable or “Fake News” — like CNN — would likely never claim support or approval of the president, and therefore, those news sources handling of this event likely have little to do with the results here.

Those assumptions were made based in part on Pew Research data stating that Republicans who support the president were more likely to believe journalists lack ethics. Further, on research data that FOX news was the primary source of news for 40 percent of President Trump’s voters in 2016.

We also relied on polls showing that nearly 80 percent of Republicans currently trust the President’s information “moderately” or “a great deal,” above even state and local information about the pandemic.

Because those viewers are most likely to have seen all of the following directly from the White House briefings or news sources presenting the White House’s information directly, we did not find evidence that mainstream reporting was a determining factor here.

The Aggregate Polls in Question

On February 03, 2017, the President earned his highest previous aggregate approval rating, at 47.3 percent. Here is President Trump’s entire term in the White House, to date, in aggregate polling numbers:

full term trump approval real clear politics
Image via Screen Capture of RealClearPolitics.com by Author for Reporting Purposes

Below, the chart has been changed to cover only the last year. The red line on the top is the disapproval numbers, the black line is approval:

graph of Trump's approval and disapproval ratings over the last year
Image via Screen Capture of RealClearPolitics.com by Author for Reporting Purposes

The biggest approval spike, throughout his entire presidency, brought him to nearly 48 percent approval (47.3 percent) on March 30, 2020. The drop following that seems to be impatience with IRS stimulus checks perceived delays. However, around the time they did begin to hit people’s accounts on April 11th, he regains that loss back to around his previous approval numbers.

Specifically, on handling the Coronavirus pandemic, the poll numbers are quite striking and show a marked fall on or around April 23rd, also:

graph coronavirus handling trump approval real clear politics
Image via Screen Capture of RealClearPolitics.com by Author for Reporting Purposes

The spike in overall disapproval shown by a vertical line indicating the exact date, below, happens on April 23, 2020 and continues until it evens out at 44.9 percent on April 29, 2020:

graph april trump approval real clear politics
Image via Screen Capture of RealClearPolitics.com by Author for Reporting Purposes

The second fall in approval before that evening out, after April 23, is April 24, 2020. On that day, Trump referred to his comments in the above video as sarcastic, and directed at reporters, “just to see what would happen.”

Later that day, the White House apparently changed course in their response to the comments. The official commentary appears to move from “sarcasm” to deliberate media manipulation of his original queries, officially stating that his comments were “irresponsibly” taken out of context.

White House spox, Kayleigh McEnany stated:

“President Trump has repeatedly said that Americans should consult with medical doctors regarding coronavirus treatment, a point that he emphasized again during yesterdays’ briefing,” McEnany said in a statement. “Leave it to the media to irresponsibly take President Trump out of context and run with negative headlines.”

While this is not an exhaustive investigation, it does appear that — at least in part — either President Trump’s original comments, or his claim they were sarcastic, or the claim that he was taken out of context, may have contributed to costing him the gains back towards the record approval level earned earlier in the month.

Melania Trump comes in second place as “most admired” woman in America

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A year-end poll conducted by Gallup has revealed that First Lady Melania Trump is the second-most admired woman in the United States. Of the write-in vote, Mrs. Trump totaled 5 percent, coming in behind former First Lady Michelle Obama, who garnered 10 percent of the vote. Although this is Obama’s second consecutive year in the top spot, she has dropped 5 percentage points from the results of the 2018 poll.

Despite coming in second to Obama, the current first lady beat out several other Democratic icons such as Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, and teen climate activist Greta Thunberg, all of whom finished with 3 percent support.

Michelle Obama is no stranger to topping popularity polls. As reported in The Hill, a YouGov poll conducted earlier this year claimed that the former first lady was in fact the most admired woman on the planet, beating out Oprah Winfrey for the top spot.

Gallup’s poll findings prove to be another extension of the success Obama has experienced after leaving the White House. Her 2018 memoir “Becoming” proved to be the best-selling hardback book of the year, according to The Hill, and her current work with the Obama Foundation is aimed at promoting the education of adolescent females worldwide.

Gallup’s poll also produced some interesting data regarding Mrs. Obama’s husband and President Donald Trump. According to the numbers, both men are equally popular, each receiving 18 percent of the vote. Depending on one’s perspective, there are many different ways in which this data could be interpreted. It could be argued that, given the political turmoil surrounding Trump along with the negative press coverage, his popularity is surprisingly high, all things considered. One could also argue that Trump’s popularity could spell trouble for his political future, given that incumbent presidents have typically been regarding as the most admired men in the country.

Although President Trump is tied with his predecessor in terms of popularity, Gallup also notes that his approval rating currently remains strong at 45 percent.

Sources: The Hill, Gallup, YouGov, The Hill

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

Justice Obama? – Biden suggests he would nominate Barack to the Supreme Court

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Former Vice President Joe Biden’s “No Malarkey” presidential campaign took an interesting turn over the weekend, as reported in the Daily Mail. During a campaign event in Washington, Iowa, Biden was asked by a crown member if he would consider nominating former President Barack Obama to the Supreme Court. “If he’d take it, yes,” Biden is said to have responded.

Whether or not Joe Biden is serious or is engaging in political “malarkey” remains to be seen. However, to do so would be a historical rarity, more so even than impeachment.

William Howard Taft is the only person to have ever served as both a United States President and Supreme Court justice. Taft became the 10th chief justice of the Supreme court after being nominated by Warren Harding in 1921. Prior to that, Taft served as president from 1909 to 1913, and would fulfill his duties as chief justice for less than a decade, retiring in February of 1930 as a result of his rapidly declining health.

Biden’s somewhat puzzling remarks come as many questions continue to swirl around his campaign. Although he remains the presumptive front-runner to challenge President Trump in November 2020, Biden’s ability to run an effective national campaign, the role of his son Hunter Biden on the board of a Ukraine energy company, and whether or not Biden himself will be subpoenaed to testify during a senate impeachment trial are all factors that could complicate the presidential hopeful’s aspirations.

Biden has also come under fire for “flip-flopping” from one day to the next as to whether he will comply with a senate subpoena. As noted in the New York Post, Biden told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board over the weekend that he would not comply with a subpoena, before changing his tune the very next day, declaring before a crowd in Fairfield, Iowa: “I would obey any subpoena that was sent to me.”

As the impeachment trial looms in the U.S. Senate, we will soon find out what position Joe Biden will take regarding being subpoenaed.

Sources: Daily Mail, New York Post, New York Post

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

John Lewis asks for prayers following stage IV pancreatic cancer diagnosis

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Georgia Congressman John Lewis revealed in a statement released over the weekend that doctors have diagnosed him with stage IV pancreatic cancer. During a routine medical exam, physicians noticed symptoms of the deadly disease, which were then confirmed by subsequent tests, as reported in the Daily Mail.

The Democratic Party and civil rights icon is vowing to continue to serve his constituents, however, and although he conceded he “may miss a few votes during this period,” he is looking forward to returning to the “front lines” by the grace of God.

“I have been in some kind of fight — for freedom, equality, basic human rights — for nearly my entire life,’’ the 79-year-old Lewis said. “I have never faced a fight quite like the one I have now.’’

While the Democratic congressman is under no illusions regarding the severity of his diagnosis, he is doing his best to remain in high spirits: “While I am clear-eyed about the prognosis, doctors have told me that recent medical advances have made this type of cancer treatable in many cases, that treatment options are no longer as debilitating as they once were, and that I have a fighting chance.”

Lewis went on to describe serving his constituents as “the honor of a lifetime” before asking: “Please keep me in your prayers as I begin this journey.”

The longtime Georgia representative is the sole living member of the “Big Six” civil rights activists, a group once spearheaded by Martin Luther King Jr., and he even addressed the DC crowd prior to King’s “I have a dream” speech.

Lewis’ front-line participation in the civil rights movement drew national and international attention to southern segregation, famously leading protesters in the 1965 Bloody Sunday march in Selma, Alabama, where the then 25-year-old was attacked and beaten by law enforcement.

Sources: Daily Mail, John Lewis Press Release, New York Post

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

Juan Williams says 2020 election is already over “if those polls are right”

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Recent polling data tracking President Trump’s support among black and minority voters has many in the Democratic Party doing a double-take. As noted by Newsday, there are four unique sets of data that could be particularly troubling for Democrats, and, if the numbers hold, could nearly guarantee a re-election for Trump.

Recent polls from Emerson and Marist both measure Trump’s support among non-white voters to be north of 30%, and even CNN has reported black support for the president to be at 26%. RasmussenReports published a higher percentage of black support (34%), a number which InsideSources has dubbed: “The Kanye effect.”

Juan Williams has noted that these polls are an early Christmas present for Trump and his supporters, predicting bluntly: “If those polls are right, the 2020 election is over. Get ready for Trump to stay in the White House until 2025.”

However, Williams is not ready to mourn Trump’s reelection… Not yet, anyway.

“I have my doubts,” Williams wrote in his opinion piece for The Hill. The commentator claimed that the sample sizes of the polls were too small to be of any great significance, and also went on to say that Trump’s approval among black voters typically trends around 10%.

Williams’ main concern, however, is that “depressed” or “suppressed” black voter turnout in 2020 could hand Trump four more years. Without a black Democratic presidential candidate, Williams fears that next year’s election could be a continuation of the 2016 election, where black voter turnout was down 7% as compared with 2012.

It is thus concluded by Williams that since “racial identification” will not be a factor in increasing black turnout, Democrats are going to have to count on dissatisfaction with Trump to be a sufficient motivator in getting out the vote.

Whether or not these figures will swing the 2020 election in Trump’s favor, they are a certainly a public relations victory for the campaign. His team already sought to capitalized on it via an email sent to supporters, which had the following title: “Black Voters Are Raising Their Voices in Support of President Trump. Recent Polls Show Significant Increase in Support from Black Community.”

As Williams points out, low voter turnout among blacks helped Trump to secure the crucial battleground states of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. Given the recent polls, Democrats may have to reevaluate their strategy if they want to turn things around in time for next November.

Sources: CNN, Newsday, The Hill, InsideSources

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

Girl Power: Barack Obama declares world would be much better if run by women

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If there is indeed such a thing as a ‘battle of the sexes,’ it sounds as though women can count on Barack Obama to be in their corner.

During a private leadership conference in Singapore, the former president spoke candidly about the fairer sex, extolling their virtues on both a personal and international level, as reported in the BBC.

In fact, to the contrary, Obama claimed that of all the world’s trials and tribulations, most of them are typically “caused by old people, usually old men, not getting out of the way.”

Speaking to the crowd, the 44th presided of the United states opined that while women “are not perfect,” they are nonetheless “indisputably… better than us [men].” Obama then went on to theorize about what the world would be like under the rule of women: “I’m absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything… living standards and outcomes.”

During the event, Mr. Obama was also asked to comment on his political future, specifically whether or not a role in political leadership could be on the horizon, a prospect which he downplayed. “It is important for political leaders to try and remind themselves that you are there to do a job, but you are not there for life,” the former president responded. “You are not there in order to prop up your own sense of self importance or your own power.”

Since leaving office, the Obamas have dedicated part of their time to establishing “The Obama Foundation,” which, in part, is dedicated to educating girls around the globe and “ensuring young men of color have pathways to opportunity.”

Sources: Daily Mail, BBC, Obama.org

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff.

Reporter confronts Jerry Nadler point-blank: “Haven’t you failed your own test?”

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In what was far from a softball interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week,” House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler alleged that Democrats’ impeachment effort has majority support from the American people. He also insisted that the attempt to remove President Trump from the White House must be done in order to safeguard the integrity of America’s elections.

As reported in The Hill, Nadler made these claims in response to a video clip of an earlier interview between he and the ABC anchor. Stephanopoulos played the March ’19 interview for Nadler in which the top Democrat said: “Before you impeach somebody, you have to persuade the American public that it ought to happen. You have to persuade enough of the opposition party voters, Trump voters… that you’re not just trying to steal–to reverse the results of the last election.”

After playing the clip for Nadler, Stephanopoulos observed that” Republican voters overwhelmingly oppose impeachment right now,” before asking bluntly: “Haven’t you failed your own test?”

H/T @ThisWeekABC

Chairman Nader, however, did not agree with Stephanopoulos’ logic.

“Well, I don’t think so. The polling shows that about 70% of the American people approve of of this,” Nadler responded. At his point, Stephanopoulos interjected that, while a majority of Americans may believe “something’s wrong,” there is no poll indicating that 7 out of 10 Americans want President Trump removed from office. Yet, Congressman Nadler spoke over and ignored Stephanopoulos’ point, proceeding to argue: “This is a continuing threat to the integrity of our elections now. This is not a one-off — impeachment is not a punishment for past behavior.”

The Democratic leader then declared that “we cannot permit” Trump to threaten “our Democratic system” or “national security,” doubling down on his party’s effort to cut President Trump’s first term short.

Sources: The Hill, ABC This Week

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

Defiant Democrat expected to bail on party, switch to GOP over impeachment – Report

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Although Democrats have been largely successful in displaying a united front over the impeachment of President Trump, New Jersey Democrat Jeff Van Drew has been unabashed in voicing his displeasure with the direction of the party. According to a report originally published in the New York Times, it is expected that this displeasure will culminate in a defection from the Democratic Party, much to the joy of President Trump and his supporters:

Has the representative for New Jersey’s 2nd congressional district undergone an ideological transformation, or does an examination of local politics offer a better explanation?

As noted in the New York Post, Van Drew’s district sided with Donald Trump in 2016 by a margin of 5%. More revealing, however, is that recent polling data indicates that only 28% of potential primary voters want Van Drew renominated, while 58% believe it is time for a new candidate, reports Fox News.

While Van Drew, who voted against launching impeachment proceedings in October, may gain favor among Trump and Republicans for his anticipated switch, the likelihood of of his party defection has drawn the ire of Democrats. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy unsparingly vented his frustration by saying in part: “Jeff Van Drew has chosen his political career over our Constitution. Despite knowing full well that the president has abused the powers of his office, Congressman Van Drew is now willing to enable Donald Trump just to try to salvage his own election.”

H/T Fox News

A senior Democrat allegedly took an even more cynical view, reportedly telling The Hill: “This has nothing to do with impeachment and everything to do with a politician who hasn’t delivered for his constituents.”

Van Drew, however, has maintained that Democrats are “disenfranchising” millions of voters in an effort to remove Trump based on accusations that have yet to demonstrate treason or other high crimes.

Whatever Van Drew’s true motivations may be, a prospective switch to the Republican Party would yield a public relations win for Republicans, one which President Trump and his allies will no doubt capitalize upon. The New Jersey Democrat’s likely defection is also a reminder that politics, even when national in their implications, are often driven by local sentiments.

Sources: Fox News, New York Post, New York Times, The Hill, Fox News

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

White House defends Melania over claims she’s hypocritical about Barron’s privacy

Opponents of the Trump administration were furious after the president advised 16-year-old climate activist and Time’s “Person of the Year” recipient Greta Thunberg to “chill” and “work on her anger management problem.” Now, after First Lady Melania Trump has declined to rebuke her husband’s remarks, critics have focused their criticism on her.

The first lady’s critics believe she is guilty of hypocrisy. They argue that, in light of her advocacy for Barron Trump’s privacy after his name was invoked during House Democrats’ impeachment hearings by Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan, and given her “BeBest” anti-bullying platform, Melania ought to defend Thunberg from attacks–particularly those from her husband.

Katie Rogers of the New York Times typified this point of view by beginning her article: “Melania Trump, who last year promoted anti-cyberbulling tips as part of her child-focused kindness campaign called ‘BeBest,’ sidestepped any comment Friday on President Trump’s recent decision to mock Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old climate activist, on Twitter.”

As reported in the Daily Mail, the White House sought to curtail this sort of criticism via administration spokeswoman Stephanie Grisham, who said: “BeBest is the First Lady’s initiative, and she will continue to use it to do all she can to help children. It is no secret that the President and First Lady often communicate differently — as most married couples do. Their son is not an activist who travels the globe giving speeches. He is a 13-year-old who wants and deserves privacy.”

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin remained unpersuaded by Grisham’s statements, and indignantly criticized the White House and first lady for their response. “So, she seems to be saying that, if you’re a minor who stands up for what she believes is right, that’s fair game to be personally attacked.” Baldwin finished her rebuke by doubting the sincerity of Melania Trump’s anti-bullying campaign. “‘BeBest,’ I guess… But only sometimes,” she mocked.

Should President Trump win re-election, Barron Trump will end up spending the majority of his teen years in the White House. As partisan attacks rage on in DC, one can’t help but wonder if the president’s son will continue to be dragged into the political fray.

Sources: Daily Mail, CNN, New York Times

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

New York becomes 13th state to give illegal immigrants access to driver’s licenses

A legal challenge against New York State’s “Green Light Law” has been been dismissed by a judge, which will in effect allow undocumented immigrants to obtain driver’s licenses in the Empire State.

As noted in Fox News, Rensselaer County Clerk Frank Merola’s legal efforts were shot down as a judge determined that Merola lacked standing because he could not reasonably lay claim to “cognizable injury.” The judge emphasized that his ruling was not related to the legality or illegality of the law itself, but was, instead, a procedural decision, acknowledging: “To the dissatisfaction of the parties and public-at-large, courts are at times unable to pass upon the merits of a case for one reason or another.”

Merola’s defeat follows a similar dismissal against Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns in November, who argues the law championed by Governor Andrew Cuomo is both dangerous and in violation of federal law.

As the 13th state to provide illegal immigrants with access to driver’s licenses, New York now joins with California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Illinois, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington in carrying out the controversial policy. The District of Columbia and Puerto Rico likewise do so within their territories, according to City and State.

“You do not need a Social Security card to apply for a license or permit,” reads a portion of New York State’s Department of Motor Vehicles webpage. However, applicants do need to provide documentation that proves the individual’s name, date of birth, and state residency. Among the combination of documents accepted by New York include: a foreign birth certificate, a border crossing card, and even an expired foreign driver’s license–so long as it has not been expired for two years or more.

Despite the multiple legal challenges, Democrats in the state, such as State Sen. Luis Sepúlveda, are hailing the new policy as a political, economic, and humanitarian victory. “This is a major step forward for all New Yorkers as we keep building New York to live up to its full potential of equity, opportunity and justice,” Sepúlveda declared. “We also look forward to the significant economic and safety benefits the law will bring to communities across our state.”

Sources: Fox News, City & State New York, DMV New York

Written by Red Blue Divide editorial staff

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