Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hey, Donnie, We Don't Like You

There has been a spate of new polls released over the past week that show donald trump's support is eroding. The Huffington Post published an article here that aggregates the results of a bunch of different polls, spanning the political spectrum and covering dates from the inauguration until August 15, 2017.

I have taken the raw polling data and crunched it a bunch of different ways (because I'm a data geek and that's what I do), and the results are in. Fewer people approve of the job donald trump is doing as president than disapprove, and the longer we see him in action the less we like him.

I know. I was so shocked as by this.

A couple of notes on methodology, just to show the basis for analysis (I can't speak to the original polling data).
  • Polls cover dates from January 20, 2017 through August 15, 2017.
  • Polls were conducted over periods ranging from one to twelve days each, with the majority (145) being conducted over a two day span.
  • Rounding is to two decimal places for averages.
  • For purposes of this article, any poll with fewer than six instances of being conducted is omitted so as to prevent skewing of averages. So, for example, polls by ABC/Washington post are omitted because they were only conducted twice during the January - August time period.
  • Since these are sampled polls and not complete data sets, there is a margin for error assumed with all polls1.
As we can see from the data2, trump's average approval rating is underwater across the board. However, because these are averages, they only present a 50,000 foot view ... we need to take a closer look at the sources. For example, the Politico/Morning Consult polls had trump's approval ratings at 52% in a poll conducted among 1,983 registered voters from March 9 through March 13, 2017, while that same poll conducted from August 3 through August 6 among 1,992 registered voters pegged his approval rating at 40%.

Another thing we need to consider is that something less than 50% may still represent an overall positive approval picture. Again, using the Politico/Morning Consult polls, we can see that trump had a 46% approval rating in a poll conducted immediately following the inauguration (1/20 through 1/22) among 1,992 registered voters. This represented an overall positive image of him, though, because only 37% disapproved and 17% were undecided. The problem for him is that, of the 335 polls conducted since the inauguration, only 29 show him as having a higher approval rating than disapproval, and of those none were conducted later than April 27.

Moving right along ...

When we start looking at how his approval has tracked over time, we can see -- and this probably comes as a surprise to pretty much nobody -- that his approval has been on a steady decline3. Looking at the data we can see that his approval rating dropped in all but one poll from the earliest to the latest poll, and that one poll had the approval rating holding steady. However, when we dig a little deeper, we can see that trump's disapproval ratings have been climbing with the smallest increase being the SurveyMonkey poll (5%) and the largest being the Quinnipiac poll (17%).

So what does this tell us? Nothing people don't already know: that donald trump is disliked by more people than liked, that his behavior over the past seven months is alienating more people than not, and that he's a giant douche nozzle4.

This is a sad state of affairs for out country. Part of the job of being President is to be the embodiment in the flesh of what we deem to be great about the United States: that we hold every person in equal esteem, regardless of their race, skin color, religion, or any other measure, that we, as a people are above hate and divisiveness, and to exemplify a higher standard to which all of us can aspire. Granted, no President is ever perfect, but when you start walking down the halls of history the difference between donald trump and those who came before him is stark:

“And let us reflect that having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance, as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions.” -- Thomas Jefferson, First Inaugural Address, 3/1/1801

“With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation's wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” -- Abraham Lincoln, Second Inaugural Address, 3/4/1865

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.” -- John F. Kennedy, First Inaugural Address, 1/20/1961

“Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than
in any other place on earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never
been unwilling to pay that price.” -- Ronald Reagan, First Inaugural Address, 1/20/1981

“Let us let our own children know that we will stand against the forces of fear. When there is talk of hatred, let us stand up and talk against it. When there is talk of violence, let us stand up and talk against it. In the face of death, let us honor life.” -- Bill Clinton, speaking after the Oklahoma City bombing, 4/23/1995

“We are in a fight for our principles, and our first responsibility is to live by them. No one should be singled out for unfair treatment or unkind words because of their ethnic background or religious faith.” -- George W. Bush, Address to a Joint Session of Congress, 9/21/2001.

“It would be a refutation of the forgiveness expressed by those families if we merely slipped into old habits, whereby those who disagree with us are not merely wrong but bad; where we shout instead of listen; where we barricade ourselves behind preconceived notions or well-practiced cynicism.” -- Barack Obama, Eulogy for Clementa Pinckney, Charleston, SC, 6/26/2015

Compare this with his own comments:

“You know, it really doesn’t matter what the media write as long as you’ve got a young, and beautiful, piece of ass.” -- Esquire, May 1991, p. 24

“I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.” -- interview with the New York Times, 11/17/1999

“The beauty of me is that I’m very rich.” -- musing about a Presidential run in 2012.

“When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending the best. They’re not sending you, they’re sending people that have lots of problems and they’re bringing those problems with us. They’re bringing drugs. They’re bring crime. They’re rapists… And some, I assume, are good people.” -- announcement of his candidacy for President.

“This American carnage stops right here and stops right now. ... From this moment on, it’s going to be America First.” -- Inaugural Address, 1/20/2017

“I loved my previous life. I had so many things going. This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.” -- speaking to Reuters on his first 100 days.

Clearly this is a man in over his head and supremely unqualified to operate a microwave oven, much less serve as President.

I gotta lie down.

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1This margin for error is generally within the 2%-3% range. Space limitations prevent listing the margin for error for all 335 polls considered in this aggregate. However, these margins for error combined with rounding errors account for individual polls not adding up to 100%.

2Averages for the seven polls with the largest number of instances:
Poll # of polls Approve % Disapprove % Undecided % Span %
Rasmussen 49 46.67 53.16 -- (6.49)
Politico/Morning Consult 30 46.40 47.80 6.07 (1.40)
SurveyMonkey 25 42.96 54.96 2.04 (12.00)
Ipsos/Reuters 28 41.21 53.36 5.61 (12.14)
YouGov/Economist 30 40.03 49.37 10.83 (9.33)
Gallup 68 39.65 54.68 -- (15.03)
Quinnipiac 12 37.42 54.75 7.58 (17.33)
42.05 52.58 4.59 (10.53)

Change in approval rating from the earliest to the latest poll for the seven polls with the largest number of instances.

First poll Last poll Change
Poll First poll Last poll App. Dis. Und. Span App. Dis. Und. Span App. Dis.
Rasmussen 1/22/2017 8/13/2017 57 43 0 14 40 58 0 (18) (17) 15
Politico/Morning Consult 1/20/2017 8/10/2017 46 37 17 9 46 52 5 (6) 0 15
SurveyMonkey 1/30/2017 8/4/2017 46 52 2 (6) 41 57 2 (16) (5) 5
Ipsos/Reuters 1/20/2017 8/11/2017 43 45 13 (2) 35 58 7 (23) (8) 13
YouGov/Economist 1/23/2017 8/13/2017 41 35 24 6 39 51 10 (12) (2) 16
Gallup 1/21/2017 8/13/2017 45 46 0 (1) 36 58 0 (22) (9) 12
Quinnipiac 1/20/2017 7/27/2017 36 44 19 (8) 33 61 5 (28) (3) 17

44.86 43.14 10.71 1.71 38.57 56.43 4.14 (17.86) (6.29) 13.29

4Okay, so maybe this isn't explicitly stated in the poll results. I'm extrapolating. Sure me.

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