Why anyone would believe anything Donald Trump says is beyond me. I mean, it has been proved that the president has lied at least 3,000 times since he took office.
But the spin—and the media’s consistent repeating of it—doesn’t stop.
Recently, Trump bragged about his support “doubling” among African Americans, but many of us, including writer Jamilah Lemieux, remained dubious.
As we should have.
Reuters, the poll being cited by Trump in his claim, says its data is being misconstrued. In fact, CNN’s Brian Stelter reports that the Reuters/Ipsos tracking poll Trump used wouldn’t even be cited by the network “because [it] does not meet CNN’s standards for reporting.” According to the report:
On May 2, the Daily Caller published a story titled “Black Male Approval for Trump Doubles in One Week.” This was two days before Trump brought up the subject at the [National Rifle Association’s] annual convention.
The Daily Caller cited Reuters/Ipsos polling. On April 22, the weekly tracking poll had “Trump’s approval rating among black men at 11 percent, while the same poll on April 29, 2018, pegged the approval rating at 22 percent.”
The story pointed out that “Reuters only sampled slightly under 200 black males each week.” But it didn’t explain why that would matter when interpreting the results. And in any case, that nuance was quickly lost as the headline was shared tens of thousands of times on social media.
Worse than the fuzzy math, though, is the fact that Trump’s minions began saying this surge was because of rapper Kanye West, who starting sharing his love for the president on social media that week.
A day after One America News network’s Liz Wheeler talked about the “Kanye effect,” the president doubled down on that narrative, thanking West in a speech before the NRA.
“Kanye West must have some power,” he said, “because you probably saw I doubled my African-American poll numbers. We went from 11 to 22 in one week. Thank you, Kanye. Thank you.”
And even there, there was a lie within the lie. Trump’s numbers allegedly only “doubled” with African-American men—you know black women weren’t a part of that bullshit.
CNN’s director of polling and election analytics, Jennifer Agiesta, explains that Trump’s poll is doo-doo because “it was conducted using a non-probability online sample, meaning that those who participated signed up to take the poll rather than being randomly selected.”
Bottom line: This means “there could be bias in the sample.”
Also, according to CNN, “the credibility interval [in the poll Trump cited] was more than +/- 9 percentage points for each measurement, which leaves open the possibility that his approval also could have dropped in this time frame” (emphasis mine).
The three polls that do meet CNN’s standards—Gallup, the Pew Research Center and Quinnipiac University—all show Trump’s approval rating for African Americans at about 13-14 percent. Which means that about 85 percent of us disapprove—Kanye West be damned.