Washington Post/ABC Poll. It’s consistent with observations of Americans leanings for a very long time. His 36% approval is still maddening, as is the 30% of the public that doesn’t get the Russian collusion story, but it comes down to about 25% of the country that is strongly behind him. Not to mention that 82% of Republicans are still marching in his parade, although many are somewhat nervous about the tomatoes raining down on them and the few left in the party where a brain and a conscience could be detected are defecting. But it’s the same consistent 25% finding that is strongly behind Trump that has always been iffy on democracy and really into anybody in a red power tie that sounds strong and confident – it does not matter what they’re saying. They’re authoritarians more than conservatives or Republicans.
- 24 percent say that, since taking office, Trump has “acted in a way that’s fitting and proper for a president of the United States.” Seventy percent say Trump has acted in a way that is “unpresidential.”
- 24 percent approve of Trump’s use of Twitter. Just 13 percent strongly approve. Two-thirds disapprove of the president’s use of social media, and 53 percent strongly disapprove.
- Compared with previous presidents, 23 percent think “Trump is doing a better job than most.” While 17 percent say he’s doing a “much better” job, 38 percent think he’s doing “much worse.”
- 3 in 10 believe Trump is “a positive role model for young people.” For perspective, 18 percent said the same of Bill Clinton in a Post/ABC poll conducted the week after the salacious Starr Report was released in 1998.
- The most common answer for why people think Trump is doing a good job was “strong leadership,”
Political pollsters have missed this key component of Trump’s support because they simply don’t include questions about authoritarianism in their polls. In addition to the typical battery of demographic, horse race, thermometer-scale and policy questions, my poll asked a set of four simple survey questions that political scientists have employed since 1992 to measure inclination toward authoritarianism. These questions pertain to child-rearing: whether it is more important for the voter to have a child who is respectful or independent; obedient or self-reliant; well-behaved or considerate; and well-mannered or curious. Respondents who pick the first option in each of these questions are strongly authoritarian.
Of course the conventional pollsters and media don’t even consider the, shall we say “undemocratic” element in the country who have those strangely foreign views of what government should be. It’s so unAmerican that the questions can’t be asked straight up because like with racism, few would outright cop to preferring a monarch or strongman who would just tell them what to do to democratically elected representatives who debate things like the elitists they are.
The apparently dirty secret that even political scientists don’t want to admit is that we have a sizable segment of the population that would vote their own rights away in order to diminish yours. It just makes sense to them that one man (and it’s almost always a man) can cut through the bullshit of government better than numerous talking head representatives and “get things done”. That’s what people who want a CEO president are voting for – a king.
This is one of those times that I like to point out that over 40% of the population of the Colonies were on the side of the King at the time of our sacred and much beloved revolution. Everyone likes to think that they would have been on the side of the sainted Founding Fathers, but logic dictates that self-identified conservatives today, those with an authoritarian streak especially, likely would have been Torys and cursed Washington and his rebels.
They’ve always been with us and likely always will be.