SHABAZZ: Worried about Trump? Scrutinize the survey numbers

December 12, 2015

For all the consternation about alleged Republican GOP presidential front-runner Donald Trump, I really don’t worry about him all that much.

Yes, he says outrageous things that are usually inconsistent with the facts and reality. And he does get a lot of people worked up, both supporters and opponents. But if you look closely at Trump’s polling, there isn’t a lot to worry about long term.

Trump’s leading in the polls is like being valedictorian in summer school. Here’s why. On any given day, Trump leads the pack with about 22 percent to 27 percent of support from GOP primary voters. For sake of argument, we’ll just say he has 25 percent of the primary vote.

This means 75 percent of GOP voters prefer someone else. Of course, that’s not a big consolation prize for Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio or Ben Carson, but it provides some perspective.

Now let’s break that number down a little further.

Back in 2014, the Pew Research Center did a survey of 25,000 voters, one of the most extensive in polling history. Pew found that 39 percent of those voters identified as independents, 32 percent identified as Democrats, and only 23 percent called themselves Republicans. So using that universe as our backdrop, Trump has 25 percent of the support of 23 percent of the voting electorate. When you put that in perspective, the Trumpster has the support of less than 6 percent of the voting population.

Let that sink in. The man who wants to make “America great again” has the support of less than 6 percent of the general voting public. Has it sunk in? Well, if that’s not enough for you, I decided to look at some polling data to see what is more believable than a Donald Trump presidency: Bigfoot, 19 percent; fortune tellers, 17 percent; astrology, 12 percent; UFOs, 41 percent; haunted houses, 51 percent.

Now some of you Trumpets might think I am being unfair by pointing out that more Americans believe in Sasquatch than in a Donald Trump presidency. Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the fun doesn’t stop there.

A quick Internet check revealed quite a few things more popular than Trump. For example, Congress has an approval rating of about 11 percent. Lawyers, cockroaches, head lice and used-car salesmen all have higher ratings.

And to be really annoying, allow me to jump on the “Star Wars” hype by pointing out that the last poll I saw regarding Jar Jar Binks, the worst character ever invented in the “Star Wars” mythos, had an approval rating of 29 percent. So a fictional character that no one can stand does better than Trump.

Now to be fair, I do get the Trump appeal. People are mad at Washington and politicians. They want someone who will shoot straight and tell it like it is. Unfortunately, Trump is not the guy who will make America great again.

If anything, he appeals to the worst in us. He appeals to our desire for simple answers to very complicated issues. Real life is complicated. Politics is complicated. Tackling issues like the economy, national security and infrastructure is complicated. Trump is a political simpleton and the fact that 94 percent of the voting population realizes this makes me feel much better about America and next year’s elections.•


Shabazz is an attorney, radio talk show host and political commentator, college professor and stand-up comedian. Send comments on this column to ibjedit@ibj.com.


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