Saturday, January 20, 2018

BTRTN SaturData Review: On S---holes and Shutdowns

Tom with the “SaturData Review” which updates key political indicators and highlights other pertinent info from the week. 

Our government is shut down, as Congress failed to agree last night on a spending bill, failed to extend CHIP, and failed to deal with DACA.  To the credit of 48 Democrats (inclusive of the two Independents), and GOP Senators Lindsay Graham and Rand Paul, the “one-month continuing resolution” gambit put forward by the GOP was denied.  There have been three prior games of “kick the can down the road” and the “no” votes decided it was time to come to some resolution now rather than manage the federal government one month at a time ad nauseum.  This means actually dealing with the toughest of issues.

Now we see who wins the blame game – the polls (and common sense) seem to indicate that the GOP will take the brunt of it, since they control the government.  Trump’s video from 2013, in which he holds Obama personally accountable (as the occupant of the Oval Office) for the last shutdown, has been replayed endlessly.  A CNN poll held that roughly half the electorate says the GOP and the President will be blamed, 30% the Democrats, 10% “all of them” (and 10% no answer).  Next week we will see the impacts on the approval ratings and the generic ballot.

As expected, Donald Trump’s “shithole” comments from a week ago Thursday (Jan 11) did little to his approval rating, which dropped merely a single point to 41%.  The outrage over the comments extended almost a full week, as it intermingled with the government shutdown/spending bill/DACA/CHIP phantasmagoria.  GOP Senators David Purdue and Tom Cotton charged Senator Dick Durbin with “grossly overstating” Trump’s comments in that fateful Oval Office meeting, flatly denying he had used the words “shithole” at all.  Apparently their denial hinged entirely on the fact that they heard Trump say “shit house” instead of “shithole,” as if this distinction actually meant something.  Absolutely incredible.  We have not heard parsing like this since Bill Clinton debated the meaning of the word “is.”

One thing we confirmed this week was that Donald Trump is neither the master of the art of the deal nor of the rudiments of the legislative process.  His views on immigration and his “guidance” zig-zagged like a world class slalom skier, frustrating GOP leadership more than anyone.  No one had (or has) any idea whether he truly wanted to help the dreamers, truly wanted a large wall, or truly understood one iota of what was in the spending package.  Trump’s “must haves” – a “must know” in any negotiation – ranged from hard to soft, clearly reflecting the person who last had his ear. 

(A note on methodology: BTRTN calculates our weekly approval ratings using an average of the four pollsters who conduct daily or weekly approval rating polls: Gallup Rasmussen, Reuters/Ipsos and You Gov/Economist. This provides consistent and accurate trending information and does not muddy the waters by including infrequent pollsters.  The outcome tends to mirror the RCP average but, we believe, our method gives more precise trending.)

The “generic ballot” narrowed a bit from last week, from a Dem lead of +8 to +6 points, but all bets are off with the shutdown.   The Democrats are risking this big lead by taking a stand on DACA, but the GOP is perhaps risking even more with the shutdown.

SaturData Review
Jan 2017   Post-Inaug.
Wk ending   Jan 13
Wk ending   Jan 20
Change vs. Last Wk
Change vs. Jan 2017
Trump Approval
-1 pp
-7 pp
Trump Disapproval
0 pp
+11 pp
Trump Net Approval
+4 pp
-13 pp
-14 pp
-1 pp
-18 pp

Generic Ballot Dem - Rep
D + 6
D + 8
D + 6
-2 pp
+2 pp

0 pp
Unemployment Rate
Consumer Confidence
Price of Gas
Most recent GDP

The economy hummed along with the Dow roaring past the 26,000 barrier.  This positive impact on the Trumpometer was offset by rising gas prices, and the Obamameter remains at +19.

(The Trumpometer aggregates a set of economic indicators and compares the resulting index to that same set of aggregated indicators at the time of the Trump Inaugural on January 20, 2017. The basic idea is to demonstrate whether the country is better off economically now versus when Trump took office.  The data are: the unemployment rate, the Dow-Jones Industrial Average, the Consumer Confidence Index, the price of gasoline, and the GDP.  The +19 means these indicators are, on average, 19% higher than they were at the time of Trump's Inauguration.)


A new Gallup poll shows exactly how the world views Donald Trump.  The poll was among a cross-section of global citizens, 1,000 people from 130+ countries.  This “world poll” has been conducted annually since 2007. 

The percentage of world citizens who approved of the United States’ “leadership” under President Obama tacked between 41% and 48%, and reached the 48% level in 2016.  One year into the Trump Administration, it has dropped a full 18 percentage points, to 30%.  (In George W. Bush’s last year, it was 34%.) 

The United States fell below Germany (41%) and…wait for it…China (31%).  So much for America First.

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