Morning Consult poll: Populist intervention turns out to be popular

Go figure — after an election cycle in which populists dominated one party and came close to dominating the other, a populist intervention in private markets proves … popular. Politico and Morning Consult conducted a survey to test the reaction to the negotiations between Carrier and Donald Trump and Mike Pence, and found majorities in favor of it. That’s not just true in one case, either:

Voters surveyed overwhelmingly view Trump’s negotiations with Carrier — which resulted in about 1,000 manufacturing jobs at the heating, ventilation and air conditioning company remaining in Indiana rather than moving to Mexico — as an appropriate use of presidential prerogative. And a majority of voters say the Carrier deal gives them a more favorable view of Trump, though his overall favorability ratings were virtually unchanged from mid-November.

While some conservatives and conservative groups — including The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board and former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin — have decried the Carrier deal as “crony capitalism,” the Politico/Morning Consult poll shows it’s a political winner for Trump. Sixty percent of voters say Carrier’s decision to keep some manufacturing jobs in Indiana, where Pence is still serving as governor, gives them a more favorable view of Trump. That includes not only 87 percent of self-identified Republicans, but also 54 percent of independents and 40 percent of Democrats.

Only 9 percent say it makes them view Trump less favorably, while 22 percent say it doesn’t have an impact either way.

If one wants to see just how far free-market, non-intervention conservatism has fallen on the Right, this graphic from Morning Consult tells the story:


Check out those looooong red bars. Remember when James Carville said, “It’s the economy, stupid”? We can refine that to “It’s the jobs, stupid” in 2016. Trump understood that better than anyone else in this election cycle, and this certainly vindicates him — even if it is depressing otherwise. After years of complaining about crony capitalism, especially in the Obama administration, suddenly we have wide majorities of both Republicans and independents cheering on government intervention on a case-by-case basis to dole out goodies and/or spankings to companies to keep jobs in the US.

Trump’s benefiting from this in the short run, at least. The Carrier deal has boosted confidence in Trump’s ability to deliver on his other economic promises. The poll shows majorities now expecting Trump to bring back manufacturing jobs from overseas (55/29), keep them from leaving in the first place (58/25), and imposing tariffs on China and Mexico (53/23). Compare that to confidence in building a border wall with Mexico (36/45), a policy on which Trump has to wait until he takes office to impact.

All told, the Carrier deal has given Trump what the election results might not have provided — a honeymoon. He’s coming into office on a wave of goodwill that certainly wouldn’t have come from the bitter and nasty personal war between the two major-party candidates. Even if he never conducts another intervention like Carrier, he’s set the tone and put corporations on notice, and been rewarded for doing so. They’ll be eager to play ball, which will require a large amount of scrutiny and oversight to keep crony capitalism from entrenching itself further into the Washington firmament. Unlike the last eight years, though, fiscal conservatives might end up having the national media as a check on those impulses. Enjoy it while you can, folks.

Rather than leaving readers with that downer, let’s point out the results of another survey noted by the Washington Post’s Aaron Blake. Conventional wisdom has been that Trump won by getting voters to hold their noses and vote against Hillary Clinton. A new GWU Battleground poll shows that Hillary actually got more of the nose-holding vote than Trump did:

The George Washington University Battleground Poll, from bipartisan pollsters the Tarrance Group (R) and Lake Research Partners (D), shows 24 percent of Clinton voters said they were “reluctant” in their vote for Clinton, vs. 20 percent of Trump voters. Three-fourths (75 percent) of Clinton voters said they were “definite” in their decision to vote for her, while 79 percent of Trump supporters said the same.

So at least according to these numbers, more of Clinton’s voters had very real qualms about casting their ballots than Trump’s.

The numbers, of course, are within the margin of error, but the fact that they are even close is notable, given the narrative (which again, I’ve reinforced myself) about Trump’s apparently unprecedented liabilities.

That was the issue in the coverage. Trump’s liabilities were well covered, while the national media did its best to focus on Hillary’s positives, but voters weren’t fooled.