WaPo poll: 57% think that, er, Trump is treating the media unfairly

Forget the Democratic number here, as that’s predictable partisanship. The interesting one is the GOP number. Before I saw this, I would have expected near-unanimous GOP support for the alternative in any poll question pitting “X” against the media. “Herpes or the media?” “Why, herpes, of course.” Tweak that question so that it pits the newly-elected Republican president against the media in terms of whether he’s treated them fairly or not and you’ve got to be looking at close to 100 percent GOP support for Trump — or so I would have guessed. It’s a basic fact of political life that, for the right, you can’t treat the media badly enough. There’s no such thing as being “unfair” to them, as they’re the epitome of unfairness themselves.

And yet.

WaPo polled the opposite question too, i.e. whether people think the media is being unfair to Trump, and got the predictable partisan mirror image: Dems split 75/20 in saying they think the media’s been fair, Republicans split 18/79 in saying they think it’s been unfair. The responses on whether Trump has been fair to them aren”t quite mirror images, though, as you can see above. How come?

Don’t blame it all on NeverTrumpers, as there’s no way they make up 26 percent of the party. In fact, when you filter the results by which candidate people voted for last year, Clinton voters split 89/6 in agreeing that Trump has been unfair to the media while Trumpers split 77/17. That is, nearly one in five of his own supporters thinks he’s been unfair. Er, how? Was it the dust-up last week with CNN that did it, with Sean Spicer threatening to throw Jim Acosta out of the next briefing if he interrupts reporters to shout questions at Trump again? Was it the report that Team Trump might boot the press out of the White House briefing room and into the White House Conference Center to accommodate more reporters? It’s hard for someone who works in conservative media to imagine any Republican telling Trump he’s gone too far when it comes to media criticism.

A couple more results from the same WaPo poll. This one obviously is very good for Trump:

It’s just not true as a factual matter that he’s done enough to eliminate his conflicts of interest by handing the business off to his sons, but the public thinks he has, which should be enough to keep Congress off his back. Independents are firmly on his side and even a quarter of Dems are satisfied with the new arrangement. Those numbers are liable to change if the media catches the Trump Organization getting obvious sweetheart deals to curry favor with Eric’s and Donald Jr’s dad, but it’s probably going to take a scandal to put this issue back on the public’s radar.

This result is … not so good:

Don’t ask me why the wall polls badly, but it does. When CNN polled it in September, 58 percent said they disliked the idea. You can chalk it up to unthinking Democratic rejectionism of Trump’s signature proposals if you like, but he’s getting killed here among independents too. Probably doesn’t matter, though: If funding for the wall comes as part of a package involving amnesty for DREAMers, liberals will tolerate it just fine.

One more. This one, I think, is pure status-quo bias:

Democrats strongly favor sticking with Obama’s treaty, of course, while Republicans strongly favor abandoning it, but there’s a bit more reluctance to tear up an extant agreement among Republicans than there is support among Democrats for going back to the drawing board. Among those reluctant Republicans, by the way, is James Mattis, who’s very much an Iran hawk but who told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week that he favors sticking with Obama’s deal for now if only to make sure that western action on Iran remains unified. There’s only so much the U.S. can do unilaterally short of war; just because Trump might be ready to reinstate sanctions doesn’t mean that Germany, France, and the UK will, especially given the early antagonism between Trump and Merkel.

In lieu of an exit question, read Dave Weigel’s smart critique of the polls I cited this morning showing Trump’s job approval in the low 40s. That may be true among the wider population, notes Weigel, but from a practical standpoint, it’s states and districts dominated by whites specifically that Democrats are targeting in 2018 to increase their congressional power. And among white voters, Trump’s job approval right now is 52 percent.

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