Friday, August 18, 2017


Hi, I'm back. Thank you again, Yastreblyansky, Crank, and Tom.

The Washington Post's Robert Costa and David Nakamura are describing President Trump's defense of Confederate statues as an effort to rally his base:
President Trump on Thursday assumed the role of leading spokesman for the racially charged cause of preserving Confederate statues on public grounds, couching his defense in historical terms that thrilled his core supporters....

[Some] in Trump’s orbit ... believ[e] there is a potential strategy in decrying identity politics and political correctness — a message that resonates with his base. But even within Trump’s circle, there are those who wonder whether Trump has gone too far and risks alienating some of the swing voters who voted for him last year with hope for change, not racial division.
But the argument about the statues, regrettably, resonates with people outside Trump's base as well, as an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll notes:
... when asked whether Confederate statues should remain as a historical symbol or be removed because they're offensive to some people, 62 percent say they should remain; just 27 percent said they should go.

African-Americans are divided on the question — but a plurality agree they should stay, 44 percent to 40 percent. Two-thirds of whites and Latinos believe the statues should remain as well.

The only groups in which a plurality said the statues should be removed are Democrats, especially those identifying as "strong Democrats," those identifying as "very liberal" and those who disapprove of the president.
A Harris poll finds similar results:
... when asked “Do you think city officials should honor monuments that celebrate The Civil War?” 49 percent agreed.... And 26 percent of Americans remain unsure, suggesting Trump’s slippery slope theory of 'who's next, Jefferson or Washington?' was an effective argument.
Another Trump argument has some support, according to Harris:
... people do not blame only white nationalists for Saturday's violence. Nearly half of all Americans (46 percent) believe both sides are to the blame for violence in Charlottesville (vs. 39 percent who blame the white nationalists alone), lending credence to President Trump’s assertions this week.
The numbers on that question are worse in a CBS poll:

In the CBS poll, Trumps get bad numbers overall for his handling of Charlottesville (34% approval, 55% disapproval). But that poll suggests that Trump is successfully shoring up the base -- or, rather, that the base is with him no matter what. Some of the interviews for the CBS poll took place before Trump's Tuesday press conference, some after -- and Republicans simply stuck with him:
Republicans interviewed prior to Tuesday's press conference were at 68% approval of President Trump's overall handling of the response to Charlottesville and 66% following it — ending up at 67% approval.
So it's no surprise that Trump's numbers in Gallup's daily tracking poll really aren't changing very much. Here's a three-month graph:

You can see the daily numbers as a list here. There was a big dip a few days ago, but the numbers have bounced back. The base doesn't seem "rallied" because the base never really loses faith in Trump. And the rest of the country, while disapproving, seems to believe he's not entirely wrong.

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