There's perception and there's reality. They often collide creating a distorted view in the eyes of most people. It's human nature. Here's an example. If I say Barack Obama, what comes to mind to you? Now Donald Trump? If your first reaction was a positive or negative thought/response to simply hearing those names you're probably inclined to view news and information through the prism of those advocating positions or ideas. Btw, that makes you normal.
Around twenty years ago when I was studying analytical thought - Harvard research indicated that only around 1.5% of people are truly analytical. It's a natural thing not to be. You have brands that theoretically represent certain expectations. You have political parties, in part, to simplify the process of identifying politicians ideologically. We've seen this play out extensively with the strong feelings most have involving President Trump. For example, the economy is the best it's been in thirteen years. Income growth is the best in 32 years. Unemployment filings are the lowest in over 48 years and yet until now President Trump's ratings on the handling of virtually all aspects of his Presidency were below 50% - until now.
In Gallup's most recent survey (adult only samples) they asked many of the contextual questions regarding President Trump's handling of the country. As a baseline the adult only, survey produced only a 39% overall approval rating for President Trump (this stands in contrast to the 49% approval as of last Friday with likely voters). In that context anything above 39% represents a net strength relative to this overall polling. So, what does that President fare well with?
- Immigration: +2%
- North Korea: +2%
- Taxes: +7%
- Trade: +7%
- Economy: +12%
- Terrorism: +13%
Paints an interesting picture doesn't it? In fact, Trump's rating is over 50% for the economy and terrorism in polling that has him at just a 39% rating overall. What issues weigh on his administration in the eyes of the average person?
- Federal budget: -2%
- Russia: -2%
- Handling of media: -5%
With the volume of noise and political wrangling in the media these days, it's easy to lose perspective on the big picture. The big picture suggests that if you ask the average person about issues rather than about the person specifically, you're likely to obtain a more constructive view of what's real and what isn't. This could serve as a reminder that we would likely be well served by spending more time discussing issues and less time talking about the people behind them.