After Donald Trump’s surprise victory last year, it became almost gospel with beltway pundits that liberals were living in a bubble. That’s been followed by a never-ending stream of profiles of Trump supporters (aka Real Americans) who — wouldn’t ya know it? — vowed to stick with him no matter what.
Now given the fact that Trump’s win shocked most observers, myself included, it makes sense for analysts to look at what they got wrong and who they ignored. But often times, the course correction is riddled with false or overstated assumptions.
By any standard, Trump’s victory was not a landslide. He lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million — which means the majority of the country wasn’t overcome with #MAGA fever. Trump won the Electoral College by flipping three states — Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — by 80,000 votes, which is roughly the population of Farmington Hills. It’s an impressive strategic win, but a mandate it is not.
For some perspective, consider the fact that Barack Obama’s 2008 win isn’t considered a landslide, even though he won by 7 percentage points, almost 10 million votes and 192 votes in the Electoral College. The Democrats won big majorities in both houses of Congress, achieving a 60-vote supermajority in the Senate.
In 2016, Republicans lost seats in both chambers of Congress in 2016. Democrats picked up six seats in the U.S. House and two seats in the U.S. Senate. That wasn’t enough to gain a majority in either house and fell far short of expectations. But it certainly doesn’t indicate a Trumpian wave crashing over the entire country.
Of course, just pointing out basic facts like this nowadays is enough to get some Trump supporters to shout, “Fake news!” Talk about living in a bubble.
They’ll probably want to close their eyes to new polling from NBC/Marist in the three key Trump states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. The Michigan poll of 795 votes was conducted Aug. 13 to 17 and had a 3.5 percent margin of error.
Here in the Mitten State, 36 percent of voters approved of the president’s job performance, with just 19 percent strongly approving. Meanwhile, 55 percent disapproved, with 40 percent saying they strongly do.
And 64 percent said that Trump’s conduct embarrassed them. Six in 10 voters said the United States’ role on the world stage has been weakened under Trump.
The best numbers for the president were on the question of whether the U.S. economy has been strengthened by his decisions. Voters by a 42 percent-to-39 percent margin gave him props, within the poll’s margin of error.
The Wisconsin and Pennsylvania numbers are very similar — Trump had a 35/54 job approval in Pennsylvania and was at 34/56 in Wisconsin.
Given the fact that Trump’s numbers are so dismal in the three states that propelled him to victory just nine months ago, it would seem that his vastly outnumbered supporters are the ones living in a bubble. Might be something to mention in any future pseudo-sociological studies of Trump voters.