With the ongoing partial government shutdown stretching into its fourth week — and with no signs that Democratic leadership is ready to negotiate a compromise to end the standoff over border security funding — a game of “hot potato” is being played by leaders of both parties who are hoping not to take the blame.
Right in the middle of that game is President Donald Trump, whose approval rating is slipping — at least, according to a poll by CNN.
CNN poll: Fake news?
The “Fake News” network CNN recently posted their latest poll on the president, which shows that his disapproval rating had ticked up five points since December, from 52 to 57 percent, while his approval rating had dipped from 39 to 37 percent.
The SSRS poll also claimed that 55 percent of respondents blamed Trump for the current shutdown, while only 32 percent blamed congressional Democrats.
In comparison, the CNN poll noted that former President Barack Obama was only blamed by 34 percent of respondents during the 2013 shutdown over Obamacare, while 52 percent blamed congressional Republicans.
The numbers on the blame game should be viewed as questionable, though, in light of the marked contrast in media coverage of the two shutdowns.
The media always seeks to heap blame on Republicans during shutdowns while exonerating Democrats of responsibility — a trend that almost certainly has had an impact on public opinion.
More questions, more uncertainty
The pollsters also asked respondents a handful of questions about the proposed border wall and whether there was truly a “crisis” or “national emergency” on the southern border.
The results claimed that only 39 percent supported the construction of a border wall, while 56 percent opposed it.
Still, support for the wall has ticked up over the past two years, while opposition had decreased somewhat over the same time frame.
As for whether the situation at the border was a “crisis” or not, some 45 percent said that it was — and of those individuals, a full 69 percent said a wall would help fix that crisis — while 52 percent said there was no crisis at all at the southern border.
But while these poll results don’t look good for the president, it is worth taking a gander at the methodology and sample sizes utilized by the pollsters, as that sheds a bit of light on how these results were obtained — and why they may not be quite as accurate as CNN would prefer you believe.
The poll surveyed only 848 people by phone from Jan. 10-11, and reported a margin of error of 4.1 percentage points, which could cause quite a shift in Trump’s approval and blame numbers, were the errors corrected in his favor.
Furthermore, the pollsters reported that 46 percent of respondents identified as independents, 31 percent identified as Democrats and a mere 23 percent were Republicans, proving once again that these poll samples are biased against the president and Republicans, and thus provide slanted results that would not be achieved with a more balanced ideological sample of the population.
According to this particular poll, President Trump is losing the fight over the shutdown both in terms of his approval rating and support for his proposed border wall.
But this poll’s results run contrary to other polls on the same issue, and it appears to have been slanted against the president from the get-go, so the results should be considered with a few grains of salt, if at all.