NOT FAKE NEWS
It started during the presidential campaign. Candidate Donald Trump fostered the notion that the television networks and most cable outlets produced fake news. The idea caught on, and Trump supporters believe it to be true. All media outlets except one. Trump is an avid watcher of Fox News and considers it the only true news channel. Go figure. As president, Trump has continued to berate the news media at every opportunity.
But now comes a poll from Fox News, which we know, according to President Trump, has to be true. It is not good news for the president. In fact, Fox News downplayed the poll, and it was hard to find any mention of it on its website. There are many startling revelations in the poll, not the least of which is the finding that 56 percent of Americans feel that Trump is tearing the country apart. Only 33 percent say he is drawing the country together.
Sixty-eight percent of Republicans believe he is drawing the country together, while 15 percent say he is tearing the country apart. But overwhelmingly Democrats, 93 percent, say he is tearing the country apart as well as 59 percent of Independents.
There was not good news on the job approval front for President Trump. Fox News says it has gotten the worst job approval rating since the president took office. A record, for Fox polling, of 55 percent of voters disapprove of the job he is doing as president, while only 41 percent approve. That’s a net negative of 14 points. In April, around the 100- day mark of his administration, he had a net negative of three (45 to 48 percent). Trump’s first job rating by the Fox News poll back in February had him in positive territory, 48 percent approval to 47 percent disapproval.
Where has the president lost ground?
Since that February poll, his support has dropped seven points among conservatives, nine points among Republican men, and nine points among whites without a college degree. Trump gets his best ratings on handling the economy (49 percent approval to 43 percent disapproval), on terrorism (47 to 45 percent) and Hurricane Harvey (44 to 26 percent). He receives negative ratings on North Korea (43 to 50 percent), taxes (37 to 45 percent), immigration (43 to 54 percent), Russia (35 to 56 percent), the environment (36 to 56 percent) and health care (34 to 60 percent).
His worst mark is on race relations, where disapproval outweighs approval by 28 points, 33 to 61 percent. Here’s why. Over half of those polled, 56 percent, don’t think Trump respects racial minorities, and only 35 percent approve of his response to events in Charlottesville, where conflicts between neo-Nazi protesters and counterprotesters led to deadly violence. Those events led Trump to condemn neo-Nazis and white supremacists, while adding, “I think there is blame on both sides.” The Fox News poll shows that 52 percent blame white supremacists, only 17 percent blame counter-protesters, and 19 percent blame both sides.
Getting back to Trump’s dislike of the media, by a margin of 70 to 13 percent, voters think Trump dislikes the media more than white supremacists. To show how his criticisms of the media has stuck with some people, 40 percent say the media poses a greater threat to the United States, compared with 47 percent who say white supremacists. Not surprisingly, 75 percent of Trump voters say the news media are the biggest threat, while 80 percent of Hillary Clinton backers say white supremacists.
On North Korea, 42 percent of voters think Trump has not been tough enough. But that’s an improvement over the last poll, when 56 percent felt that way. Similarly, concern over the North Korean situation is down. In the last poll, 68 percent were extremely or very worried.
That has dropped to 59 percent in the most recent poll.
There were some other aspects of the wide-ranging poll. With all the controversy over Confederate monuments, the poll found that 61 percent believe the monuments should stay in place, while only 29 percent said remove them. By 43 to 23 percent, voters think whites are favored over minorities in the United States today. Twenty-four percent said neither. Whites feel they are favored by a 36 to 28 percent margin. But nonwhites feel whites are favored by 54 points, 64 to 10 percent.
By a 58 to 34 percent margin, voters think Trump will finish his term as president. Among Trump voters, 92 percent think so, but only 29 percent of Clinton voters think Trump will finish his term. And 58 percent of Clinton voters say they’re losing sleep since Trump took office. On the other hand, 62 percent of Trump voters say they are sleeping better.
The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voter nationwide and was conducted from Aug. 27-29 under the joint direction of Democratic Anderson Robbins Research and Republican Shaw & Company Research. It has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.
Lou Gehrig Burnett, an award-winning journalist, has been involved with politics for 44 years and was a congressional aide in Washington, D.C., for 27 years. He also served as executive assistant to former Shreveport Mayor “Bo” Williams. Burnett is the publisher of the weekly “FaxNet Update” and can be reached at 861-0552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.