Media, Trump and Presidential Approval/ Disapprove Ratings


The journalistic term 4th Estate of Government was attributed to British Parliamentary statesman Edmund Burke around 1841 as the King, Clergy and Commoners represented 3 estates but the Reporters gallery was “far more important to all”. Founding Father James Madison in Federalist Paper 51 envisioned the role of the press as a means to constrain government, to prevent anarchy, oppression and government tyranny. Ambition must counteract ambition and ambition’s control is to prevent abuses. This assumes the press correctly transmits government information. Further, if men were angels, no government would be necessary.

Fast forward to modern day public opinion polls to reveal the press/ government balance disintegrated as public trust of the press and government as well as approval/ disapproval ratings sit at first ever lows and dead bottoms. Yet nothing new to report as disapproval ratings began the drop in the late 1950’s.

Possible attribution to current disapproval lows is Eisenhower’s 1961 Farewell address as Military Industrial Complex power grab warning, Kennedy assassination, Democrats 1960’s Congressional super majorities, presidencies and civil rights, 1970’s Vietnam and Nixon, Reagan in the 1980’s then the phenomenon of Obummer and Trump.

From the public’s perspective and based on the University of California’s database polls, the public trusts government Sometimes at 80% and 20% Most Times from 1958 to 2012. Pew Research Center reports trust in government Almost Always and Most of the Time in 1958 achieved 75% and today at 20% yet never surpassed 30% since 2007.

Interest in Public Affairs ranged from 16% to 29% from 1960 to 2008 and remains in the middle 20% point today. Pew reports 74% of registered voters viewed the 2016 elections as important to who wins, up from 63% in 2012 and 2018 yet 67% in 2004. Roughly 85% followed election news closely or fairly close, up from 72% in 2012 and 81% in 2008.

A 20% interest in public affairs equates to 40 million persons while 74% of registered voters equates to 148 million as National voter registrations based on Politico reporting skyrocketed to 200 million in preparation for the 2016 election, up from 146 million in 2008 and 127 million under Clinton. New voters, 50 million accounted for 48% Democrats and 29% Republicans or 24 million Democrats Vs 14 million Republicans.

Pew in 2013 reported 28% said Journalists contribute “alot” to societal well being and down from 38% in 2008. Gallup reports currently 62% of the public says media favors Democrats and the largest divide since 1995 yet viewed from charts, the divide began its largest separation in 2003.

As a Trust in Media issue, Republicans trust media 14%, and 86% distrust while Democrats trust media 51% and 33% Independents. About 50% of Democrats say Media favors the Democrat Party. From 1998 to current day, 36% said News Media “gets the facts straight”, down from 54% in 1990 yet the highs were 55% in 1986.

Media bias is interesting as the 2001 terrorists attacks under Bush revealed 65% of respondents reported News Media were often inaccurate and the inaccurate rate remained at 58% to 55% from 2001 to current day.

From 1998 to 2001 under Clinton to 9/11 terrorists attacks and 2000 election, the inaccurate rate jumped to its highest from 45% to 65%. Under the first George H.W Bush Administration from 1988 to 1992, the inaccurate rate spiked again from 41% to 52%. Leading to the 1988 Bush election, the inaccurate rate bounced from 34% to 54%.

Not only does the inaccurate rate jump under Republicans but accurate / inaccurate rates are based on reported stories. Questions remain to government tactics, practices and policies in unreported stories. Government is thought in terms of Congress, Presidency and Courts but vast majority of government action and movements is performed inside the bureaucracy. Most important is does the news media contain a natural predilection to left wing politics on its own or is collusion with the Democrat Party the order of operations. Democrat Hillary Clinton was favored to win the 2016 election by most polls but the polls were biased as Pollsters over sampled Democrats to reveal partisanship.

While 80% to 90% of respondents in the Marist/ NPR/PBS poll disagree with the beliefs of White Supremacists, KKK, White Nationalists and Alt- Right, Black Lives Matter and Antifa are quite different stories. Black Lives Matter is the group who marched on American cities chanting Kill Police. Police died, many randomly.

Roughly 76% of Democrats agree to Black Lives Matter beliefs, 64% Republicans disagree and 54% Independents disagree. Black Lives Matter as a name on the surface sounds appealing, harmless and good cause yet a destructive organization. Words and word choices matter.

Antifa is an anti – Fascist, far left anarchist movement with origins in Europe and the United States in the 1920’s and 1930’s. Homeland Security reports Torch Antifa is the network and members oppose anti racism, anti sexism and anti semitism. Members wear black masks as a show of solidarity yet possibly to hide identities to avoid arrest. The destruction in April on the Berkeley campus is an example of the destructive forces of Antifa. Charlottesville is the second and Boston the third.
The news media states protests between White Supremacists and Antifa in Charlottesville and Boston are free speech rallies while in actuality two extreme ideological forces meet head to head against core principles of violence. Boston is the largest location by area and the crowds were much bigger than Charlottesville.

Roughly 53% of Republicans and 53% Democrats are unsure if they agree or disagree in the beliefs of Antifa. 46% of Independents are unsure. About 34% of Republicans mostly disagree while 19% of Democrats and 19% Independents mostly disagree. Antifa not only formed and jumped into action immediately but the public failed to understand or know Antifa’s principles, core beliefs, issues and overall foundation.

Madison’s two most powerful societal ambitions in news media v government equilibrium failed in its balance dating to the middle 1980’s data. One must ask exactly where and when the balance separated. Instead of the news media to report unbiased facts, accurate, timely and useful information, they chose sides and aligned to left wing politics and the Democrat Party by either design or osmosis. Design is apparent as replication remained over 32 years and reporting now enters deeply idealistic stages as in free speech rally Vs impending civil war.

Madison warned to unbalance as government oppression, abuse and tyranny is allowed to operate freely as no prevention exists to constrain or control actions. The masses suffer and become hostages as a forced conscription to government power. Polls appear meaningless and designed to strategize against Republicans from decrease in government domination.

Real Clear Politics reports Congressional Approval at current 15.3% and 73.3% Disapprove. Based on Gallup, From 1975 to 1997, Congressional Approval ranged from 30% to 40%, rose 40% to 60% from 1997 to 2000 then skyrocketed to 84% under Bush in 2001. Approval ratings then dropped to 17% by 2009 and hovered at 15% to 20% since.

At 73% Disapproval, old political thought was Congress lacks ability to function yet under the ability to operate freely assumption without journalistic reports, Congress is shielded from public view.

On National Wrong Track, 59.9% stated the nation is on the wrong track and 31.8% approve of current direction. The 75.8% highs in Wrong Track was seen in October 2011 and lows at 45.8% wrong track in June 2009. The range from February 2009 to current day was 45.8% to 75.8%.

Historically from 1981 to 2017, Satisfaction with national direction hit highs at 70% in 1981, 1991 and 2002. The lowest of lows was seen in 2008 at 7%. From the 2002 Satisfaction highs at 70%, dissatisfaction began a long downward slide to 7% in 2008 then a bounce to current 30%. Satisfaction/ Dissatisfaction appears to coincide to economic cycles as the 1981 recession was in last stages and Reagan’s tax cuts were in the Congressional passage development while 2003 to 2006 experienced an economic boom time. The 2008 lows at 7% was the result of the 2008 market crash.

Trump’s Approval rating is currently 39% and 55.1% Disapprove. January to current day, Approval ratings ranged from 46% highs to 34% lows. Based on the American Presidency Project, Presidential Approval Ratings normally begin high then drift although Franklin Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan were exceptions.

F Roosevelt began from 1941 to 1943 at 65% Approval and rose to 83%. Reagan began at 68%, dipped to 35% in 1983 then bounced to 71% by 1986 and left the presidency at 63%.

Truman began at 91% Approval then dropped to 22% and left the presidency at 27%. Eisenhower began at 77% dropped to 47% and left the presidency at 60%. Kennedy began at 72%, rose to 83% then dropped to 36%.

Johnson began at 77%, rose to 79% then began a long slide to 34% and presidential end at 36%. Nixon began at 59%, saw 66% highs then the slide to 22% lows and left the presidency at 24%. Ford began at 70% then slid to 36% and left the presidency at 53%. Carter began at 68% then the downward slide to 28% and left the presidency at 34%.

George H.W. Bush began at 51% rose to 89% then dropped to 29% and left the presidency at 52%. Clinton began at 56%, dropped to 36% then began an upward trajectory to to 69% and left the presidency at 63%.

George W Bush began at 57%, dropped to 50% then rose to 89% and the long down slide commenced to 25% lows and Bush left the presidency at 32%.

Obummer began at 67%, dropped to 38%, rose to 57% then dropped again to 39% lows and left the presidency at 57%.


All presidents Approval ratings averaged together factors from 46% to 34%. Trump currently hovers inside historic ranges 7 months into his presidency.


Brian Twomey