Friday, January 12, 2018

What's a One Point Dip Among Friends?

Is it just me, or am I rightfully a bit skeeved out by this Erik Loomis post on "which demographic has Trump best held his support"?
Since his inauguration, Trump’s support in every polled demographic has fallen. That includes groups where he had massive support (his own voters, evangelicals) and where he had very low support (Hillary voters, African-Americans). But there is only one group where his approval has fallen by a mere 1 point. What do you think that is? Christians? The wealthy? The South? Nope, nope, and nope.
It’s Jews.
Of course, Trump had low Jewish support initially. But those Jewish voters who care only about an aggressive, expansionist Israel love Donald Trump. If you were Jewish and a Trump supporter in 2016, you are still a Trump supporter. Which says a remarkable amount about a particular type of politics that makes you a stickier Trump supporter than literally every other demographic group in the nation.
And yet, among all religious groups, Jews still have the lowest overall Trump support, at 30 percent, although Trump now has a lower approval rating among atheists/agnostics, which he did not a year ago.
Loomis is drawing from this NYT article detailing how much Trump's approvals have dropped off across various demographic groups between inauguration day and today. These range from a 12 point drop for Democratic men and a 10 point drop amongst Latinos to a 3 point drop amongst Blacks and a 1 point drop with Jews.

One bit of context that is missing is that Jews were one of the few demographic groups that moved left from 2012 to 2016. Obama got 69% of the Jewish vote in 2012, versus 70% for Clinton in 2016. That's not a huge shift, obviously, but given that the country as a whole lurched right (most groups -- including Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and women -- gave Clinton smaller margins than Obama), it stands out. So one way of interpreting this data is that "NeverTrump" GOP or Independent Jews actually walked the walk in 2016 -- they disapproved of Trump and actually voted against Trump when it counted. Put another way, the Jews most likely to have been "soft" Trump supporters were already were turned off on him by election day, whereas other groups' "soft" supporters only turned against him later.

To be clear, there's nothing in Loomis' post that's inaccurate. We could say that writing a whole post on Jewish support for Trump dipping "only" 1 point seems like a weird thing to focus on given the extremely low baseline of support Trump had with Jews to begin with (although, as Loomis notes, some other groups where Trump also began with very low support rates saw those rates dip by much greater amounts). We could also question how much narrative weight should be put upon the difference between a 1 point drop amongst Jews versus a 3 point drop amongst Blacks (if we're comparing groups that began with low baselines of support). Indeed, since the demographic "voted Trump in 2016" also saw only a modest 3 point dip, maybe the real lesson here is "If you were [a Trump voter in 2016], you are probably still a Trump supporter" -- full stop.

But really, my discomfort stems from what to reads as a weirdly triumphant tone, as if Loomis is eager to have proven something particularly diseased about the Jews -- the one group whose Trump flunkies are sticking to Trump more than any other group in the nation.

Maybe I'm reading into it. But Loomis sure sounds excited to put "Jews" and "Trump diehards" in the same conversation, doesn't he?

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