Kellyanne Conway did a retweet this weekend. In response to a Washington Examiner piece titled “Americans have never felt better,” she replied: "#poll. Plus One.”

The tweet featured an image of President Trump, because apparently he is the reason for this historic amount of happiness. Or, at the very least, Americans being happier than ever is another pro-Trump story the media won't cover.

That point was made even more explicitly by Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Vice President Pence. “America is back and @POTUS @realDonaldTrump is just getting started to #MAGA,” Lotter tweeted. Rush Limbaugh talked about the numbers on his show, too.

The problem is that this poll doesn't show “Americans have never felt better;” it shows Americans haven't felt better in about a decade, which is as long as the question has been asked by Rasmussen Reports, the basis for the Examiner's story. The first 230 years of American history are unaccounted for.

And the 74 percent of Americans who rate life as either “good” or “excellent” isn't all that unusual, even in Rasmussen's polling. In 2014, Rasmussen showed 67 percent rated life that well. It was 61 percent in 2010 and 59 percent in 2009, likely because of the economic recession. And in 2006, the first time this question was asked, it was 68 percent, just a bit shy of where it is now. From that, the Examiner got “Americans have never felt better.”

And indeed, if you look at polls that actually account for more than one-twentieth of our country's history, you will find that the current level of happiness may not be all that remarkable.

Gallup tests satisfaction with one's life every year and has for decades. The 87 percent who say they are satisfied this year is no higher than it was in the early 2000s, late and early 1990s and late 1980s.


The point is that it's a stat that is framed as saying much more than it actually does. Is it great that Americans are happier than they've been since at least 2006? Of course. Does it suggest people aren't terribly worried about their unpopular president? Perhaps. But it doesn't show anything hugely unusual, and it's not unprecedented. And Conway, who is a pollster, knows the difference — or at least she should.

In defense of Conway and the rest, this wasn't even the worst attempt to pump up the Trump administration's accomplishments in recent days. That came from Fox Business Network's Stuart Varney, who said this July 20 while arguing that the media was underselling Trump's accomplishments:

Look at this: since his election win, the Trump rally has added $4.1 trillion to the nation's wealth. Anyone with a 401k, an IRA, college savings, retirement savings, mutual funds. Anyone with a dime in the market has taken a piece of that $4 trillion.

Also, during this presidency, 5 American companies have emerged as global technology leaders. You know their names: Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, Microsoft and Facebook. It’s a technology world, and American companies have seized the future.

The argument here, such as it exists, is that these companies have suddenly became “global technology leaders” in the last six months, and that this is a credit to Trump? I don't even know where to begin with that logic. I seem to remember iPods being around more than a decade ago.

And this is hardly the first time bogus numbers and logic have been used to argue for Trump's successes. See here. And here. And here, at the 100-day mark, when Conway emphasized that no president since 1900 had ever installed a Supreme Court justice in his first 100 days as Trump had. (Never mind that no one had entered office with a vacancy since President Chester A. Arthur in 1881 and few other presidents had one in their first 100 days.)

The point isn't to rag on Trump's people here. Some arguments are better than others, and maybe they didn't look at that Examiner story closely. But if the White House and its defenders think there is a good story to tell about what's been happening over the last six months, they should probably tell that story instead of focusing on inflated numbers and suppositions like this.

Not doing so just makes them look like they don't actually have an argument.