Polls show Trump doing well, despite media's narrative

Recent polling numbers bode well for President Trump, despite the media's narrative.

Shame of it is, you likely haven't heard or read much about them as media coverage ignores any positive news as it pertains to this president.

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"The default narrative is always negative, and it’s demoralizing,” Sean Spicer said." "When we’re right, say we’re right. When we’re wrong, say we’re wrong."

 

“But it’s not always wrong and negative.”

Some mocked Spicer and the administration for being too thin-skinned and therefore not able to take criticism. But does Spicer have a point? Are positive stories about the Trump administration falling victim to the bias of omission?

The perfect opportunity to make an objective analysis around Spicer's question came on Sunday, when NBC News and the Wall Street Journal released a wide-ranging poll on the president's job performance after five weeks on the job.

Some mocked Spicer and the administration for being too thin-skinned and therefore not able to take criticism. But does Spicer have a point? Are positive stories about the Trump administration falling victim to the bias of omission?

An analysis by international, independent media research firm Media Tenor found that just 3 percent of the reports between Jan. 20 and Feb. 17 about Trump that aired on NBC and CBS were deemed positive while 43 percent were deemed negative and 54 percent deemed neutral. Yup, just 3 percent.

The bad news for Trump is his overall approval rating, which sits at 44 percent in this poll, the lowest of any new president on record.

Media far and wide ran with the number and dubious distinction on Sunday and Monday to reinforce an oft-heard theme: The administration is in chaos, the American people are already ready to fire Trump, and what does this mean for Democratic prospects in 2020?

Trump polling at 44 percent got big headlines and play on cable news, but is it really that newsworthy? After all, we're talking about a presidential candidate that won with less than 46 percent of the popular vote in November. His favorability ratings have always been relatively low. He's arguably the most polarizing figure of our lifetime.

Forty-four percent approve?

Sounds about right and certainly nothing surprising.

But major polls from big news organizations like this never end at just one question. In this case, there are several compelling results that deserved equal ink and airtime as well.

Example #1: "All in all, do you think things in the nation are generally headed in the right direction, or do you fell they're on the wrong track?" the poll asked.

Forty percent said the country is now on the right track. This is significant because that number was just 18 percent in July in the same NBC/WSJ poll.

From a news perspective, more than doubling a right track number in that short a period of time is noteworthy, is it not? And when factoring in all the negative news around Trump throughout the transition and into his presidency, doesn't it make that 22-point jump from July even more compelling from a news consumption perspective?

Example #2 involves the economy, and this is important considering it's always the top issue people vote on, 41 percent think it was get better under Trump while 21 percent say it will get worse. Overall, 77 percent say the economy will get better or stay the same.

Trump won in formerly "Blue Wall" states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan largely because he had a clear economic message and his opponent did not: Keep jobs and factories here, get rid of bad trade deals (like TPP), and cut down on regulation and taxes to open up better job opportunities. Agree or disagree, it resonated in the places that mattered

And that's what makes Trump getting good marks on the economy so important to note. The 2016 election taught us that enough people were willing to overlook Trump's personal flaws because they felt he could get the economy moving again. And in the end, the wallet always wins.

Example #3 comes in the form of overall optimism about the future moving forward. In this department, 60 percent of Americans are optimistic about the future, up six points from August.

So overall, when digging into the numbers, some key fundamentals don't look so bad for Trump despite the perpetually-negative media narrative, despite all the anger seemingly out there.

But in reviewing all of the Sunday morning political programs and evening newscasts that evening, these three results in the poll weren't broached at all. Almost all traditional media outlets online – outside of this publication – wouldn't share the aforementioned data, either

Presenting the bad and the good instead of a reflex to the negative is Journalism 101 stuff.

The Trump administration doesn't think that's happening due to so many in the press acting like the opposition party, as the White House has pointed out. And in looking at recent events, it seems like the White House is making a very valid point.

Joe Concha is a media reporter for The Hill.


The views expressed by contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.