Two interesting polls caught my eye over the past couple of days.
The first, and the one everyone is talking about: Trump's approval ratings just days before the inauguration. According to an ABC poll, here's how respondents said they approve or disapprove of Trump's transition.
What's more, only 44% said they thought Trump was even qualified to serve as president! On both the approval and the qualified question, his affirmative numbers are LOWER than his popular vote percentage, all before he even takes office!
The obvious question: Why are they so low?
Some may argue that this is due to him courting controversy post election. Common sense, right? Twitter rants against John Lewis and Alec Baldwin show a lack of focus on the importance of the job at hand. Not only that, but as the New York Times reports, his cabinet nominees have stumbled.
All makes sense, EXCEPT the post-election Trump is not some sort of crazy-different version of the Donald Trump we had in the campaign. Those of us who didn't vote for him are getting EXACTLY what we expected from him. Surely, approval ratings lower than his vote percentage aren't from people all of the sudden being surprised by his behavior. So, what could it be?
It all starts to make sense when you look at it through the lens of his opponent, Hillary Clinton.
It seems completely plausible that there are a sizable number of people who voted for Donald Trump who did so despite not liking him. They had misgivings about him, and still have them today. If that's the case, that would mean that they simply had more misgivings either about his opponent, or perhaps the Obama legacy in general.
So, which is it? Obama, or Hillary? A-ha! Here's another poll! According to a CNN/ORC poll, he leaves office with his approval rating at 60%!
Nostalgia? Perhaps. But that's a 20 percent difference between Obama's approval rating and Trump's. If you take these polls at face value, isn't a poor Hillary candidacy the most logical explanation?
It was Bernie Sanders, himself, who pointed out a year ago that polling showed him to be the much stronger candidate against Trump. Say what you want about Donald, but let's not forget that Hillary Clinton had a lot (I mean a LOT) of baggage herself. Maybe Russia did hack the DNC, but they didn't cause the email scandal, or cause the appearance of pay-to-play. More than anything they exposed that the Hillary-supporting DNC helped rig the election against Bernie Sanders, quite possibly the stronger opponent.
All this is good news, Democrats. Yes, the incoming Trump Administration and all of its cronies will in all likelihood be terrible for the country. But perhaps the caricature (that I, too, am guilty of creating in my mind) of Trump's win being from the groundswell of alt-right idiots isn't exactly true.
Maybe Hillary was just a terrible candidate, and Trump really did win as the "lesser of two evils" candidate. He wasn't the one I cast my vote for in that regard, but can I really say I would be approving of Hillary's transition and her appointees if she had one?
The hope for Democrats is that the vast majority of people already see this thing for the joke that it is. Give people a better candidate in 2020, and you really do have a chance to win this thing back in 4 years.
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