Hopelessly out of touch poll claim

Polls are often used to claim things that they don’t portray. There is no way of knowing exactly why polls move, and what timeframe cause and effect operates under. Pundits can only guess, or make things up.

In New Zealand media companies who publish polls try to make dramatic stories out of their own polls.

Here a niche blogger makes a ridiculous claim based on a US poll aggregator’s rolling results: Shithole countries comment gets Trump a big bounce in the polls

I had a chat amongst some other political tragics some weeks ago about how big a bounce would Donald Trump get with his shithole countries comments.

Some weeks ago? Trump made those comments just over two weeks ago, reported on 11 January (US date so 12 January NZ date).

It turns out a pretty substantial bump in the polls:

It doesn’t turn out to be anything of the sort. A Real Clear Politics ‘President Trump Job Approval’ chart is displayed – here is the same thing a day later, with the date of the shithole comment shown.

Since the comment there has been a small improvement in the poll average.  All polls cover several days and are obviously published after they are taken. Some of them are rolling polls. There is never a ‘before and event’ poll and an ‘after an event’ poll that can measure a movement on a specific day. So there is no way of knowing when a poll moves and why with any precision.

And different polls come out over time, with some leaning one way or the other, so the timing of the polls in the mix can make a difference, especially coming out of a time when some polls shut down for the holiday period.

RCP polling data shown at the blog:

I don’t know how that can tell anyone why a poll average changed due to one of many events that happened on 11 January, before that and after that. Trump is in the news a lot. A few days prior to his shithole comment Michael Wolff’s book was big news, and that’s likely to have some effect on poll trends.

A single rolling poll (Rasmussen Reports that tends to favour Trump) shows no appreciable change over the shithole period.

Date Approval Index Strongly Approve Strongly Disapprove Total Approve Total Disapprove
26-Jan-18 -12 30% 42% 44% 55%
25-Jan-18 -15 29% 44% 45% 54%
24-Jan-18 -16 29% 45% 44% 55%
23-Jan-18 -18 29% 47% 43% 57%
22-Jan-18 -18 28% 46% 42% 56%
19-Jan-18 -14 30% 44% 45% 54%
18-Jan-18 -16 28% 44% 45% 54%
17-Jan-18 -16 29% 45% 45% 54%
16-Jan-18 -16 29% 45% 45% 54%
15-Jan-18 -13 31% 44% 46% 52%
12-Jan-18 -13 30% 43% 46% 53%
11-Jan-18 -13 29% 42% 45% 53%
10-Jan-18 -14 30% 44% 44% 55%
09-Jan-18 -17 28% 45% 43% 56%
08-Jan-18 -16 30% 46% 42% 56%
05-Jan-18 -15 29% 44% 44% 54%
04-Jan-18 -12 31% 43% 45% 53%
03-Jan-18 -15 29% 44% 44% 54%

To understand what people thought of Trump’s comment requires a targeted poll. Like this one from HuffPost/YouGov:

January 11 – 12, 2018 – 1000 US Adults

According to a recent news report, President Trump asked “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” referring to immigration from African countries and Haiti. Do you agree or disagree with that comment?

  • Agree strongly 12%
  • Agree somewhat 14%
  • Total agree 26%
  • Disagree somewhat 13%
  • Disagree strongly 45%
  • Total disagree 58%
  • Not sure 16%

A comment at WO from ‘no bullswool’ would appear to be bullswool:

Donald Trump is refreshing in that he says what many ordinary people are thinking.

Back to the WO post:

Once again the media are shown to be hopelessly out of touch with ordinary voters.

Those are big changes over the previous months polling and you can clearly see his Approval ratings climbing rapidly off of the back of his shithole comments.

They are not big changes, ratings haven’t climbed rapidly, there is no way of linking minor poll fluctuations to one comment by Trump, and are a fool (or are trying to fool others) claiming you can see clearly what Slater is claiming.

Who is hopelessly out of touch?

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3 Comments

  1. Zedd

     /  January 27, 2018

    they say any media attention is better than none & Mr T is riding high in those stakes.. (good or BAD ?) constantly on TV :/

    • Gezza

       /  January 27, 2018

      The idea that no publicity can do harm is clearly open to question. For someone seeking notoriety and a somewhat scandalous reputation, like Marie Lloyd and Mae West in days gone by, or Paris Hilton in our era, that may be true. The shareholders of BP and Toyota, which have both suffered falls in their market price due to worldwide publicizing of their recent difficulties, may feel differently.

      “There’s no such thing as bad publicity”
      is often associated with Phineas T. Barnum, the 19th century American showman and circus owner. Barnum was a self-publicist of the first order and never missed an opportunity to present his wares to the public. As with many other supposed quotations, there’s no hard evidence to link the ‘bad publicity’ quotation to him.

      The proverbial expression began to be used in the early 20th century. The earliest version that I have found in print is from the US newspaper The Atlanta Constitution, January, 1915:
      “All publicity is good if it is intelligent.”

      The thought behind the proverb had been expressed earlier by Oscar Wilde:
      “The only thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about.”

      Probably the most celebrated adapter of the expression was another great wit from the Dublin literary scene, the Irish Republican and “drinker with a writing problem”, Brendan Behan. Behan’s boisterous lifestyle meant that for him, more than others, there was truth in his opinion that:

      “There’s no such thing as bad publicity except your own obituary.”

      Google.

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