Has Trump’s approval rating really shot up to 49%? Probably not.
Interesting article on factors influencing poll results--and leaving questions about the reliability of the recent Gallup Poll that gave Trump a 49% approval rating--you know, the poll everybody has been repeating as though it were the Almighty's pronouncement coming down from the mountaintop!
It is NOT.
"More Republicans — and fewer Democrats — are responding to pollsters. That could skew the results.
[. . .]
But is Trump really getting more popular? His recent polling gains have the hallmarks of a specific kind of polling error called differential nonresponse bias.
. . . [D]ifferential nonresponse bias refers to situations in which changes in polling results are caused by shifts in who responds to the polls rather than actual changes in public opinion. It may be that Trump’s approval is going up because Democrats feel demoralized by the apparently hopeless impeachment trial and so don’t feel like talking to pollsters. Or it could be that Republicans feel so moved to support Trump at when he’s under attack that they are more likely to talk to pollsters than usual.
[. . .]
If differential nonresponse is driving these changes in Trump’s job approval, there should be a clear relationship between the ratio of Democrats to Republicans in survey samples and Trump’s approval ratings. At the most basic level, samples in recent polls do indeed skew a little more than 1 percentage point more Republican.
[. . .]
[Note: I can't get the chart to reproduce. See the source link.]
As you can see, as the relative number of Democrats increases, Trump’s approval decreases. With Gallup, it looks like almost all the variation in Trump’s job approval from one poll to the next can be explained just by looking at how many of each party’s supporters are in their sample.
[. . .]
The model also suggests that even after accounting for differential nonresponse, Trump may have gained somewhat in net approval since August, perhaps 2 percentage points (or roughly half the increase detected by FiveThirtyEight’s tracker). But that upward trend goes away when I restrict the analysis to polls that measure partisanship best, by including “leaners” who call themselves independent but later disclose a clear preference for one party over the other.
This means there is reason to believe Trump’s historically stable job approval hasn’t changed much since before the impeachment process began."
There are all sorts of "mysteries" about how polling is done--but this article does a good job in de-mystifying at least certain aspects of the process.
What it does conclude is that Trump's approval ratings are probably still hovering down in the lower 40s. No big jump to nearly 50%. Nope--not at all!
Actually, just browsing over headlines, I also noticed that Gallup's polls just a few weeks ago rated Trump much lower--and I've seen no explanation why that assessment would suddenly stand on its head in the most recent Gallup poll. Certainly, impeachment news seems to have had no effect on Trump's approval rating--yet media all over the place were shouting the "good news" from Gallup.
Er. . . the "false news" from the outlier source (Gallup).