This isn’t the article I planned to write.
What I had wanted to do was to see if Donald Trump’s use of exclamation points bore any relationship to how he might be faring in the polls. That was prompted by a tweet from my colleague Chris Ingraham, who separately is breaking out Trump’s enthusiasm in that regard. As it turns out, there isn’t a correlation: no correlation to his primary polling, his general polling, his favorability polling or his approval polling. Or, for that matter the relative lead or deficit in that polling or net favorability or approval.
To check that, though, I ended up pulling all of that data. And, as it turns out, the data by itself is interesting.
For example, here is the actual primary and general polling average, the daily average favorability ratings and the daily Gallup rating Trump has seen since he announced his candidacy in June 2015.
You’ll notice that at no point, save for a few individual days of favorability ratings, has Trump been above 50 percent. Trump’s favorability ratings ticked up after the election, but even so remained under 50 percent. His polling average in the primary was never above 50 percent, nor was it ever above 50 percent in the general. Trump was also the only candidate in the modern era of presidential primaries to win despite earning less than 50 percent of the vote in both the primary and the general.
If we look at those relative values, the picture is slightly different. This shows Trump’s lead in the primary average, deficits in the general and net favorability or job approval over time.
During the general election, he almost always trailed. His favorability was almost always underwater, often significantly. His Gallup approval rating started about even and then trended down.
The primary, though, was a different story. The Republican presidential primary has been the apex of Trump’s political strength so far, with a consistent national lead that powered him through the those contests (although often only narrowly). Put another way: Trump has only being doing well when the pool of people being considered consists only of Republicans.
In Gallup’s weekly averages since inauguration, it’s Republicans that have kept his approval ratings as high as they are.
Only a third of independents approve of how he’s doing. Only 8 percent of Democrats agree.
It’s enough to make anyone tweet angrily.