PBS/NPR Poll Finds Trump's First Year a 'Failure', NPR Exaggerates It

January 19th, 2018 7:30 AM

Your taxpayer-supported news producers at PBS and NPR paid for a new poll pronouncing Trump’s first year flopped with the voters: 53 percent said Year One was a failure, while 45 percent picked Success.  

But break down the numbers by party, and the division is predictable: 87 percent of Democrats pronounced Trump a failure, and 87 percent of Republicans checked the success box. Among independents, it was 50 percent failure, 41 percent success, nine percent unsure. (Typically, the poll's sample was 32 percent Democrat, 25 percent Republican, 43 percent independent/other.)

Sadly, on Thursday's Morning Edition broadcast, NPR didn't do a partisan breakdown as they sounded the Failure alarm. Anchor David Greene and political analyst Domenico Montanaro underlined Bad News. They couldn't even note 45 percent said it was a success: 

DAVID GREENE: We have a report card this morning for President Trump as we approach the one-year anniversary of his inauguration. It comes from a new NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll fresh out this morning, and it is not good news for the president. A majority of Americans, 53 percent, say his first year in office has been a failure....

So we've heard all year that President Trump's approval ratings have been, you know, at record lows. So I guess this isn't too surprising, but can you dig into why exactly Americans have been unhappy with his performance?

DOMENICO MONTANARO: Yeah. If you look at the issues, I mean, look at foreign policy. Fifty-four percent of Americans say American foreign policy has deteriorated in the last year under this president. Most pressing for a lot of people is North Korea. Fifty-eight percent disapprove of this president's handling of North Korea, and more than 70 percent say they're worried about war breaking out with the country.

GREENE: Wow. That's striking that that people would think a war could be happening soon.

MONTANARO: Absolutely. And it's a huge number, and it's why so many people you can see were so scared when that false alarm went out in Hawaii over the weekend. 

Actually, poll respondents were asked if foreign policy had "gotten better" or "gotten worse" under Trump, not if it had "deteriorated," as Montanaro exaggerated it. Montanaro did hint that core Trump supporters were pleased with Trump, that "91 percent say that his year has been a success, but he hasn't played much to the middle." NPR briefly noted the positive results, but quickly returned to Trump being "underwater" on the tax cut: 

GREENE: So if he can look at his base as really being behind him, as one positive, are there any other positives in these numbers that the president could look at?

MONTANARO: Yeah, and they shouldn't be overlooked because they're big things - the economy and his handling of ISIS. You know, they're OK numbers for him. You know, by a margin of 48 to 40, people say that they approve of the way he's handled going after the terrorist organization ISIS. And the economy, most people say, is pretty good. So, you know, those are big things, obviously, especially in an election year. But his signature legislative achievement, the tax bill, still unpopular. And he's going to try to sell that today. He's underwater with that. You know, only 36 percent of the country approves of it, and most people, 6 in 10, think that his policies are aimed at helping the rich. Just a quarter say that he's trying to help the middle class.

Somehow, NPR couldn't find the numbers on the economy: 44 percent say it's better, and only 18 percent say it's worse, while 35 percent said it stayed about the same. A Nexis search of NPR transcripts found there has been no mention of record stock-market highs over the last few days. What Dow 26,000?

Strangely, the PBS NewsHour did not report any of these poll results on Thursday night. Perhaps they are waiting for David Brooks and Mark Shields to "debate" (well, agree) that Trump is in terrible shape.