Media Lies: Biased Sampling in Trump's Approval Ratings Polls
Put simply, the population sampled in ABC's newly released approval ratings poll for President Trump does not reflect the ideological reality of the country. To hear ABC tell it, only 36% of the country approve of the job President Trump is doing, with a whopping 58% saying they disapprove of his performance. In case you weren't aware, that's a lower rating than any other president has had six months into his presidency in almost forty years. The president who's come closest to such low numbers was Gerald Ford, when he scored an approval rating of 39% in 1975.
Now, you don't have to be a mathematician to know those numbers aren't good.
However, after the hilariously wrong 2016 election prediction polls , frankly I've been hesitant to trust any numbers provided by the media regarding Trump and the presidency. And, upon closer examination, these low approval numbers are just another reason why we should never, and I repeat never, take anything major news outlets say at face value.
In this poll, which aims to measure the public's perception of Trump and his efficacy on tackling issues such as health care and the economy, Democrats were sampled at 35%, Republicans at 23%, and Independents at 35%. If those numbers sound fishy to you, well, they should.
According to a poll conducted by Gallup last year, only 29% of the country identifies as Democrat. That's a full 9% less than the 35% sampled in the ABC poll. Additionally, Gallup reports that 26% of voters identify as Republican, not the lesser 23% that ABC sampled. And, perhaps most egregiously, only 35% of ABC's sample identified as independents, when in reality, the number of independents out there is a much higher 42%. What makes this huge independent "sampling error" (or deception, whichever you prefer) so consequential is the fact that independents favored Trump over Hillary 46%-42% in the 2016 election.
So there you have it. In this poll, ABC is oversampling groups known to have voted against Trump in the election, and under-sampling those who did vote for him. At best, ABC's reporting is an incompetent misunderstanding of America's current partisan divisions, and at worst, it's a malicious attempt to delegitimize his presidency by presenting false data. Take your pick.