The Poll

You may see a few things written about the latest Quinnipiac poll from partisans of one side or another and I wanted to set the record straight on it. Here are a few of the major findings:

  • Trump maintains his low approval rating.
  • Congress maintains its low approval rating.
  • Congress’s approval rating is lower than Trump’s.
  • More people identify as Democrats than Republicans.
  • More people identify as independents than either Republicans or Democrats and nearly twice as many identify as independents than identify as Republicans.
  • More people have an unfavorable view of the Republican Party than of the Democratic Party but the difference is within the margin of error.
  • More people want the Democratic Party to take control of the Congress than want the Republicans to maintain control, presumably as a counterbalance to Trump.
  • Favorable/unfavorable views of the presidents of the post-war period break down along party lines.
  • A majority of Americans see the economy as being in good shape.
  • A super-majority of Americans see their own financial condition as good.

I’m a bit surprised at how persistent and pervasive propaganda is in the results. By any objective and balanced measure Harry Truman, John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, and GWB were poor presidents; Gerald Ford, Bush Sr., and Bill Clinton were mediocre. Nixon and Johnson are controversial. IMO Barack Obama was a mediocre president; only soft bigotry or partisanship could award him a higher grade.

I think that overall the findings constitute a scathing indictment of the American political system. We’re all losers. The only winners are unpopular incumbents who are re-elected again and again.

Hat tip: RealClearPolitics which notes that the favorability of the Democrats is falling. As the late Mayor Daley once said, however it looks now, somebody will win the election.

5 comments… add one
  • walt moffett Link

    The problem isn’t the system but voters who’ve become complacent. As to how to change that, a major disaster with food riots will get them off the dime.

  • The problem isn’t the system but voters who’ve become complacent.

    I don’t think it’s complacency but something more like despair. At least here in Illinois the system is rigged for the major parties and both major parties can always get establishment candidates elected.

    From here on the ground in Illinois it looks as though the establishment of both parties is actually changing, becoming even more distant from the views of ordinary Illinoisans. Among Democrats most Illinois Democrats aren’t progressives, at least not as the term is understood on the coasts.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    When I was a student, I was assigned to debate that Truman’s decision to drop the atomic bomb was right. My recollection from the books I read was the consensus that Truman’s administration had a lot of scandals that looked like corruption but in retrospect were overblown. His foreign policy was judged controversial at the time but in hindsight he got all the big decisions right (Marshall plan, containment).

    So why judge Truman poorly; I’m curious because you have a much contemporaneous perspective then I.

  • Let’s list the major events of the Truman presidency in chronological order:

    Dropping the atom bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki
    End of war
    Creation of United Nations
    Nuremberg trials
    Cold War begins
    Berlin airlift
    Truman Doctrine
    Integrate armed forces
    Korean War
    Attempt to nationalize the steel mills

    I don’t credit the end of the war to Truman. It would have ended at about the same time with or without Truman. With respect to dropping the bomb, the available documentation strongly suggests that Truman merely ratified the decision that had already been made for him. IMO with exception of integrating the armed forces and containment, just about every other major decision of his administration has proved to be a blunder.

    With respect to containment it’s unclear just how influential Truman was in its adoption. He didn’t create the policy. It had been outlined in the Kennan telegram.

  • CuriousOnlooker Link

    Thanks for the reply. Certainly food for thought.

    I guess I am an example of how historians influence opinion.

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