Everybody is having a grand old time mocking Fox News’ Lou Dobbs for committing one of the great on-air polling pratfalls of all time. In case you missed the fun, on Thursday morning President Trump celebrated his soaring approval rating by tweeting out this graphic from Dobbs’ show:
That 58 percent approval on the economy is real -- indeed, your humble blogger previously argued that Democrats should take it seriously -- but unfortunately for Dobbs, the 55 percent number is all wrong. In the Georgetown Politics poll that Dobbs cited here, Trump’s unfavorable rating is 55 percent, and his approval is only a meager 43 percent:
The Fox Business Network has since offered a correction of sorts, allowing that Dobbs’ report “was not entirely accurate.”
It’s worth going back to the original Dobbs report -- video of which was posted by the Daily Beast -- on this poll. In a tone oozing with triumphant smugness, Dobbs claims: “The president’s overall approval is now 55 percent. Let’s hear that -- 55 percent!” Dobbs adds that 55 percent is “pretty robust.”
One thing that’s striking about this whole affair is that it apparently didn’t occur to Dobbs that this number might have seemed hard to believe to begin with. Indeed, it should have immediately come across as completely wrong to anyone intimately familiar with polling by ... Fox News.
Fox News’ most recent poll, in March, puts Trump’s approval at 46 percent. That’s nine points below the finding that Dobbs imagined he saw.
What’s more, according to Fox’s polling database, Trump’s approval rating has been below 50 percent in at least 20 Fox polls throughout Trump’s presidency, mostly bouncing around near the 45 percent mark throughout.
That’s actually better than most other polling: The FiveThirtyEight polling averages, which now have him at 41.9 percent, have steadily hovered at around that point, and often below it, for more than two years straight.
This is a particularly graphic case of the perils of the closed conservative information feedback loop at work. Of course, it’s not clear that Dobbs even sees this as a problem. He will supposedly address this on Thursday night, so I guess we’ll find out.
Meanwhile, Trump has not corrected his initial tweet. Needless to say, he never will.