Trump’s familiar with this concept in part because his hosting the show during the 2016 presidential primaries resulted in two of his competitors being allowed equal time on NBC. Of course, that was in response to his actually appearing on air, but why let a small detail like that interrupt a good Twitter complaint?
What was particularly noteworthy about his SNL tweets, though, was how they ended.
“Hard to believe I won and am winning,” he wrote. “Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry!”
He’s made reference to these two numbers several times prior: this purported 52 percent approval rating overall and a 93 percent approval rating with Republicans. But where do they come from?
The first is easy to identify. It’s from Rasmussen Reports, which did indeed find that Trump had a 52 percent approval rating overall — on Feb. 11.
It was the highest Trump had been in Rasmussen’s polling since early in his administration, and he’s since polled well below that. But it’s also worth noting that Rasmussen’s polling has consistently been higher than other polls in evaluating approval for Trump. On 99.6 percent of days when there’s both a Rasmussen poll and a RealClearPolitics average of approval polls — an average that includes Rasmussen — the approval number has been higher in Rasmussen.
We’ll also note that Rasmussen’s prediction for the 2018 midterms was pretty far from the mark.
What about the 93 percent support for Trump among Republicans? That doesn’t appear to come from Rasmussen. Instead, the first time Trump used it was on Feb. 24, 2018, when he celebrated getting 93 percent approval — from attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference. In other words: 93 percent approval from fervent conservative activists.
He made reference to this figure again on Jan. 4, when Rasmussen showed his support at only 46 percent, so it’s unlikely that his favorite pollster was the source of this figure. He also mentioned it on Feb. 17, Feb. 24, March 2 and March 5.
The most recent non-Rasmussen poll is from the Economist and YouGov, which gives Trump a 42 percent approval rating, with 89 percent of Republicans approving. But Trump treats polling numbers the way Olympic athletes treat records: Whatever the best number is to emerge is the benchmark he carries with him.
That approach might be ripe for some jokes on “Saturday Night Live.”