If there’s anything you can count the media to do, it’s sell what they want you to buy. A good example of this kind of dishonesty can be found in President Trump’s Job Approval numbers.
If you simply look at RealClearPolitics’s average, you might believe that Trump has 43.3% approval.
But a more diligent look at the numbers tells a different story. For example, if we look at the sources used by RCP, eleven different polls report JA numbers. But only seven polls have numbers from within the past week; if we only look at those, Trumps’ approval now is 43.0%, about the same as the aggregate reported by RCP. However, of the eleven, three polls only ask “adults”, they don’t even ask for Registered Voters. If we exclude non-voters, 44.0% approve of Trump. If we use RV or LV from the last week, Trump gets 45.3% support. Only one poll depends on “likely voters”, and that poll gives Trump 48%. So the closer we get to now and focusing more on actual voters, Trump’s support grows beyond what the media reports.
It’s also important to look at the political breakdown of the polls. As a baseline, in the 2016 election the party participation of the total vote was 37% Democrat, 33% Republican, 31% Independent.
In prior years, polls would report the political orientation of respondents, but more and more today, polls refuse to reveal that detail, even though it directly reflects bias. IBD, Gallup, The Economist, CNN, Monmouth and Rasmussen Reports hid their demographics behind a pay wall or simply refused to provide the data at all. The other polls also were off the mark in matching actual election demographics:
CBS used 30.1% Democrats, 25.3% Republicans, and 44.5% Independents
[undercounted Democrats, severely undercounted Republicans]
Pew used 48% Democrats, 43% Republicans, and 9% independents
[severely overcounted Democrats, severely undercounted Independents]
Harvard-Harris used 32% Democrats, 37% Republicans, and 29% Independents
[undercounted Democrats and Independents]
FOX news used 46% Democrats, 37% Republicans, and 17% Independents
[overcounted Democrats, undercounted Independents]
Reuters-Ipsos used 42% Democrats, 46% Republicans, and 12% Independents
[overcounted Democrats and Republicans, severely undercounted Independents]
I should also mention that gender representation was off to some degree in almost all polls, and almost all were biased on age and rural/suburban/urban breakdowns.
It’s impossible to work with the garbage put out by these poll groups with any confidence it accurately reflects Trump’s real approval ratings. However, it is useful to note how Trump’s ratings are changing over time.
CNN has shown Trump gain 5 points since February;
The Economist shows Trump has gained 3 points since the start of April;
Gallup shows Trump has gained 3 points since April;
IBP shows Trump has gained 3 points since January;
Monmouth shows Trump gaining 5 points since March;
Rasmussen shows Trump has gained 4 points since March;
Reuters shows Trump has gained 6 points since April
In summary, we can make two reasonable conclusions regarding the media and Trump’s Job Approval:
1. Trump is gaining support across the board
2. The media is doing everything they can to hide that fact, again across the board