AP FACT CHECK: Trump cites questionable job approval rating

Published 7:25 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is pointing to a 50 percent job approval rating that may not fully comport with reality.

TRUMP: “Thank you to Rasmussen for the honest polling. Just hit 50 percent, which is higher than Cheatin’ Obama at the same time in his Administration.” — tweet Tuesday.

THE FACTS: Trump cites an approval rating that doesn’t jibe with other polls.

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The daily tracking poll from Rasmussen Reports released Monday finds half of likely voters said they approve of Trump’s performance in office. That’s 4 points higher than what President Barack Obama scored on the same poll on April 2, 2010.

But Rasmussen stands alone among frequent pollsters in finding such a high rating for Trump, and its findings are often seen as less reliable because of the automated calling method it uses. It’s against federal law to have computers dial cellphones, so a big chunk of U.S. adults who don’t have landline phones — many of them young people — cannot be reached using the survey’s phone interviews.

Rasmussen says that to reach adults who do not have landline phones, about 20 percent of its interviews are conducted using an online panel. More than half of American adults do not have a landline phone, according to the most recent estimate from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rasmussen did not provide more information about how the panel it uses is recruited.

In contrast, a Gallup poll finds that based on a weekly average, Trump had an approval rating of 39 percent as of Sunday. That figure is lower than Obama’s rating of 49 percent during the comparable time period, according to Gallup.

A new poll last week by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found Trump’s approval rate to be 42 percent, in the ballpark of Gallup’s.

Neither the AP nor Gallup uses automated phone calls to tally its results.