Eric Trump appears to have inherited his father’s penchant for, um, exaggeration.
In an interview with “Fox and Friends” (of course) on Wednesday morning, the President’s middle son let out this whopper:
“My father is in there, and he’s fighting every single day. And he has to fight against the media. He has to fight against these lunatics. And guys, I’m telling you, 95% of this country is behind him in this message. I mean, people love this nation.”
I get that Eric Trump is taking a bit of creative license here with his boast about how much of the country supports his dad’s message. But like, that’s A LOT of creative license.
The actual numbers for the percentage of people who approve of the job Trump is doing is far lower. In a late June CNN poll, 45% approved while 51% disapproved. That’s broadly consistent with lots — and lots — of other polling on how people view the job Trump is doing. The Real Clear Politics polling average — which aggregates and averages all approval and disapproval numbers for Trump — pegs his approval at 44.6% and his disapproval at 51.9%.
Trump’s numbers are among the lowest ever recorded for a president’s first term. In fact, he has never cracked 50% approval in Gallup’s tracking poll — the first president ever to accomplish that feat since the polling organization began asking the question. (The closest Trump has come is 46%.)
Even the President — he of the cherry-picking of polls — acknowledged Wednesday morning that he’s nowhere near where his son claims him to be. Tweeteth Trump:
“New Poll: The Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in predicting the 2016 Election, has just announced that “Trump” numbers have recently gone up by four points, to 50%. Thank you to the vicious young Socialist Congresswomen. America will never buy your act! #MAGA2020″
(Side note: Rasmussen doesn’t meet CNN’s poll reporting standards.)
If Eric Trump’s specifics are way off, the sentiment he is seeking to express has long been a foundational principle of Trumpism: Lots more people are for the President than are willing to tell a pollster they are for the President. You Washington types — and, I guess, pollsters? — are so out-of-touch with the average person that you drastically underestimate how many people vehemently support Trump on everything from building the wall to telling four Democratic congresswomen to go back to where they came from.
As evidence, they cite the 2016 election in which most polls suggested Trump would lose and he won. Which, sort of? Most national polls said Hillary Clinton would beat Trump by a low single-digits margin. Which, she did — winning the popular vote by almost 3 million. (For MUCH more on the canard that polling somehow missed the 2016 race, read this.)
There is no doubt that there are some chunk of quiet (or silent) Trump supporters who voted for him in 2016 and plan to do so in 2020 but would never tell a stranger conducting a poll over the phone that.
But there is very little evidence that that group is statistically significant in any way — which is the theory that Eric Trump seems to be operating under. And there’s certainly nothing even close to evidence that 95% of the public likes or supports what Donald Trump is doing. On anything.