When Polls Collide: A Deep Dive into Trump’s Favorability Ratings

If you’re like me and you regularly – and, okay, maybe a little obsessively – seek out public opinion polls for insight into what Americans think about the current political climate, then you might find yourself wondering from time to time why polls sometimes disagree with one another.

For instance, how many Americans so far approve of the job Donald Trump is doing in the White House? According to a Quinnipiac University poll released on January 25, 2017, Trump’s approval rating stands at a mere 36 percent. However, according to a poll from Rasmussen, which was released a mere four days later on January 29, the percentage of Americans who approve of Trump’s job performance is considerably higher at 53 percent. What gives? Read more “When Polls Collide: A Deep Dive into Trump’s Favorability Ratings”

The Art of Political Persuasion, According to Psychological Science

If you’re among the millions of Americans who have vowed to be more politically active and engaged since the 2016 presidential election, then you might be wondering how best to carry on a conversation with friends, family members, neighbors, and colleagues on the other side of the political aisle.

Perhaps you’ve even wondered how – given the hyper-polarized state of American politics today – you might be able to persuade those at the other end of the political spectrum to come around to your point of view, particularly on hot-button political issues, such as President Trump’s recent crackdown on immigration, the potential repeal of the Affordable Care Act, LGBT rights, and climate change to name just a few. Read more “The Art of Political Persuasion, According to Psychological Science”

Trump’s Crackdown on Immigration Probably Won’t Make America Safer

According to a new poll released earlier this week by the Pew Research Center, roughly three-quarters of Americans (76%) think defending the country against terrorism should be Donald Trump’s top priority as President.

Of course, Trump made terrorism a central issue in his campaign, and this may well be part of the reason he was elected in November. During the campaign, Trump talked tough about immigration and famously called for “a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

And now that he’s taken office, Trump has quickly moved forward with his plan to try to prevent terrorists from entering the country by drastically cracking down on immigration – both legal and otherwise. Read more “Trump’s Crackdown on Immigration Probably Won’t Make America Safer”

Scientists are Organizing to March in Washington

Scientists at the 2014 People’s Climate March in New York. Credit: Joe Brusky/flickr

Following the success of the Women’s March on DC and the Trump administration’s recent move to censor scientists at various federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, a group of researchers and science advocates have begun organizing their own political rally. Read more “Scientists are Organizing to March in Washington”

Actually, Mr. Trump, Most Members of the Public Do Care About Your Taxes

During the campaign last year, Donald Trump stated he would release his personal tax returns as soon as the IRS was finished conducting their “routine audit.”

He went on Fox News and said so as recently as this past September, as noted by CNN:

“Just so you understand I’m under audit. A routine audit. And when the audits complete I’ll release my return,” Trump reiterated Tuesday on Fox News.

But now, President-elect Trump seems to be signaling that he intends to back out of this promise. During this past Wednesday’s press conference, Trump stated he now has no intention of releasing his tax returns because, as he sees it, the only ones who care about his taxes are reporters and members of the (presumably, in his eyes, crooked and dishonest) media.

Read more “Actually, Mr. Trump, Most Members of the Public Do Care About Your Taxes”

Introducing ‘Economic Snapshot’ – Charts Tracking Trump’s Impact on Jobs and the Economy

As part of my evolving effort to do more to encourage others to base votes for elected officials on hard numbers and quantitative evidence rather than subjective and possibly biased perceptions and intuitions (not to mention fake-news), I’ve decided to start collecting various economic data to help readers gauge the potential impact of the Trump administration on the overall health and well-being of the U.S. economy.

This new feature is called “Economic Snapshot,” and you can find a link here and at the top of the blog and in the sidebar.

Read more “Introducing ‘Economic Snapshot’ – Charts Tracking Trump’s Impact on Jobs and the Economy”

Election Polls Underestimated Donald Trump Across Most of the Country

Well, the tallies from the 2016 Presidential Election are now finalized and the results certified. So, it’s official. Despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by approximately 2.9 million votes, Donald Trump will become the 45th President of the United States after securing 304 votes in the Electoral College.

I don’t think this outcome was ever seriously in doubt since the election on November 8th. So, let’s move on to the other reason why it matters that all the votes have now been counted up and certified.

Read more “Election Polls Underestimated Donald Trump Across Most of the Country”

A New Year and A New Mission

There’s no denying Donald Trump beat the odds and defied all expectation when he was elected 45th President of the United States.

But whether you’re looking ahead to the next four years with unbounded enthusiasm or overwhelming dread, there’s one thing we all should be able to agree on now that the presidential race is over. And that’s the need to reaffirm our commitment to intelligent, respectful, and substantive debate. And moreover, to debate grounded in logic, reason, and verifiable fact. Because in a mature democracy, there should be no room or tolerance for hateful rhetoric, rumors, conspiracy theories, and “fake news.” Yet sadly, each of these featured prominently this past election cycle.

Read more “A New Year and A New Mission”

The Problem isn’t that Polling is Unscientific. It’s that Democracy Itself is Unscientific

In the wake of Donald Trump’s surprising victory in the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, there’s been a lot of discussion in the news about what might have gone wrong this year with public opinion polling, which clearly did not foresee this outcome.

Most polls showed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton holding onto a slim but steady lead for most of the election cycle. During the week prior to the election, the Real Clear Politics polling average showed Clinton with roughly a 3 point lead in the national polls. Furthermore, on the morning of the election, most major forecasting sites pegged Clinton’s chances of winning at 85% or higher (My forecast and that of FiveThirtyEight were two exceptions. We each gave Trump slightly better chances, at around 25-30%).

But a Clinton victory was not to be. For whatever reason (and we will likely not have a definitive and satisfying answer to this for months), polls underestimated Trump’s support in several key regions of the country. Specifically, Clinton lost in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, despite the fact that polling averages showed her up in these states by 1.9 points, 3.4 points, and 6.5 points, respectively. Clinton does seem poised to win the popular vote, if that’s any consolation to her supporters. But she’ll become the 5th presidential candidate in history to lose the Electoral College despite winning the popular vote.

Read more “The Problem isn’t that Polling is Unscientific. It’s that Democracy Itself is Unscientific”