According to the activist media and Swamp politicians, President Trump is a lone figure at the end of an ignominious career. The American people are treated daily to a litany of how the dark days of the last four years are behind them and that the spirit of justice and right is set for a return, but how accurate an assessment is the public being given?
Though much discredited in recent months, polling remains the only way to get a line on what the public really feels. As well as informing policy decisions, surveys also offer insight into how the public views political decisions taken. If the latest polling from Gallup is in any way indicative, members of Congress and the media are about to find the abyss looking straight back at them … and not with a smile.
Gallup’s figures show that for early December – just when dealing with the fallout of the presidential election – Congress’ approval reached the giddy-lows of just 15% and a startling disapproval of 82%. That’s a lot of disapproving. But the Gallup poll is not an outlier; in fact, it demonstrates a trend of low-performing congressional approval that has burdened the public for a very long time.
Since the beginning of the Trump presidency, Congress has averaged (across all major pollsters) a mere 18% approval. By comparison, President Trump himself has enjoyed (again, using data from all major pollsters) around a 40% rating. It would be easy to argue that Congress suffered so badly during the last four years precisely because of the White House occupant, but since the president was impeached for a second time, approval has dropped by two more points.
Media For The Masses?
The masters of the Fourth Estate have spent four years acting as moral arbiters, determining which statements and actions their viewers should deem acceptable. Networks have largely avoided opting for a straight-news presentation in favor of opinion pieces and outrage; it has not served them well.
In a Gallup comparison between 2019 and 2020 to determine how much “trust and confidence” Americans have in the media, those who responded “a great deal” represented just 9% … which is down 4% from last year. Over half of respondents, 60%, answered that they either trusted the media “not very much” or “not at all.”
These figures suggest that the hyperbole and moralizing of the last year have denigrated trust in the institution as a whole. And what is it, or perhaps, who is it, that the legacy media has been targeting?
In early 2020, Pew Research looked into evaluating the partisan nature of news organizations and how that impacted levels of trust. It perhaps comes as little surprise that those who trusted CNN did not trust Breitbart, and the reverse was also true. But what it also demonstrated was that even those who identified with a certain political leaning did not trust the outlets entirely; for example, only 70% of self-described liberal Democrats trusted CNN.
What of Trump?
Why has President Trump’s approval rating remained so steady over such a long period when both Congress and the media have suffered? The answer is perhaps that he hasn’t lost any support. Those who voted for him in 2016 mostly voted again in 2020; his supporters believe he has not let them down.
During the 2020 election cycle, a common refrain from left-leaning politicians and the legacy media was that voters were abandoning Trump in droves. That the president gained more votes in his second election despite the naysaying could be a good starting place to determine why very few people believe a word either of these vaunted institutions utter.
Read more from Mark Angelides.