I was struck by the recent YouGov survey shown above. As dispiriting and frightening as it is that Trump’s popularity constantly hovers around 38-40% and as hopeful as it is that he polls as being disliked by around 46% what struck me about this poll was a third result that makes me wonder just who the Alfred E. Neuman’s are who are so detached from what’s happening in the country that they, the 12% in YouGov’s pol, can be neutral on such a divisive person as Trump.
How can American not have an opinion on Trump?
There’s also a secondary puzzling result: 96% of the respondents said they have heard of Trump. This begs the question as to who make up the 4% of those who ended up getting polled who said they’d never heard of him? YouGov uses the Internet for their polling.
As far as I can tell other polling companies don’t attempt to measure someone’s fame. I think it is more likely that many if not most of those who responded to the YouGov poll by saying they never heard of Trump were being sarcastic. If this is true then I’d put them somewhere in the Trump is “disliked by” group.
Here’s another poll from Redfield and Wilton which had similar results with 9% in the “don’t know” category:
FiveThirtyEight shows summaries from various polling companies. There’s no specific “don’t know” response but you can see none of the results add up to 100%. Below, for example, this is typical with between 4% and over 10% expressing no opinion:
Here’s the FiveThirtyEight report on Trump.
Here’s their summary of polls on Biden.
Pollsters don’t take to the street and ask zoned out junkies for their opinion on Donald Trump. They reach people that are at least somewhat connected to what is happening in the world. My hunch is that among these people are those who don’t vote in elections. The Census Bureau tried to put a good spin on the 2020 election: Despite Pandemic Challenges, 2020 Election Had Largest Increase in Voting Between Presidential Elections on Record. Despite this only 73% of all voting-age citizens were registered to vote and 67% of all citizens age 18 and older reported voting. Even those for whom Republicans try to marginalize didn’t vote at very high levels, for example:
- Hispanics: 54%, compared to 48% in 2016.
- Non-Hispanic Blacks: 63%, compared to 60% in 2016. While voter turnout in this group was higher than in 2016, it did not exceed turnout in 2008 (65%).
These are the countries with the highest voter turnouts with Belgium leading the group with 87%.
What these numbers tell me is that our angst over the Republicans taking control of Congress in the midterms, and Trump being elected again is premature. The obvious answer for the Democrats to assure this doesn’t happen seems, at least to me, be obvious.
They have to counter GOP attempts at voter disenfranchisement.
They have to get out the vote.
They have to convince those people who are among the groups I call Alfred E. Neumans, those who have no opinion or are neutral, to realize that the Democrats running for office best represent their interests.
Related to this is what former Labor Secretary Robert Reich wrote in his blog on May 3rd:
The beginning of May before midterm elections marks the start of primary season and six months of fall campaigning. The conventional view this year is Democrats will be clobbered in November. Why? Because midterms are usually referendums on a president’s performance, and Biden’s approval ratings are in the cellar.
But the conventional view could be wrong because it doesn’t account for the Democrats’ secret sauce, which gives them a fighting chance of keeping one or both chambers: Trump Sauce.
Then he goes on to reference the polling data and then elaborates on areas which he thinks may bode well for Democratic Party victories, for example:
- June’s televised hearings of the House January 6 committee will likely show in detail how Trump and his White House orchestrated the attack on the U.S. Capitol,
- The leaked decision by the Supreme Court to uphold Mississippi’s ban on abortions after fifteen weeks and reverse Roe v. Wade — courtesy of Trump’s three Court nominees — will backfire.
- There is also the possibility of criminal trials over Trump’s business and electoral frauds.
- Meanwhile, Trump will treat America to more rallies, interviews, and barnstorming which will be more help to Democrats.
- Elon Musk is likely to allow Trump back on Twitter which will show how dangerously incendiary Trump and Trumpism continue to be.
- Accompanying all of this will be the ongoing antics of Trump’s whacky surrogates.
- He concludes:
I’m not suggesting Democrats seeking election or reelection center their campaigns around Trump. To the contrary, Democrats need to show voters their continuing commitment to improving voters’ lives. Between now and November, Democrats should enact laws to help Americans afford childcare, cut the costs of prescription drugs, and stop oil companies from price gouging, for example.
But Democrats can also count on Americans’ awakened awareness of the hatefulness and chaos Trump and his Republican enablers have unleashed. And it’s this combination — Democrats scoring some additional victories for average Americans, and Trump and others doing everything possible to recollect his viciousness — that could well reverse conventional wisdom about midterms, and keep Democrats in control.
Let’s hope Robert Reich isn’t engaging in wishful thinking and the Democrats can keep control of the House and not lose any seats in the Senate, and pick up some governorships like in Georgia where Stacey Abrams will probably face off against Brian Kemp or David Perdue who has been endorsed by Trump. Rate your level of optimism in the poll.