The Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP) found in a recent poll that President Donald Trump’s approval rating is underwater in Erie County.
According to the poll, 55 percent of voters disapprove of the job he’s doing, and 60 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. Only 32 percent of voters approve of the job Trump is doing, down from 41 percent in February of this year.
Joseph Morris, the director of MCAP, explains that this number has great significance.
“The reason this is significant is because Erie County is a microcosm of the many communities throughout the Midwest that allowed Trump to win the presidency, and if he’s doing poorly in Erie, there’s a case to be made that he’s doing poorly in those other counties,” Morris said.
Morris said that the plan of the MCAP in the future is to track Trump’s approval rating over the next few years.
“Our goal over the next three years is to continue to document the evolution of public opinion as it pertains to Trump and his favorite policies,” Morris said.
While the MCAP does have future plans, it has no plans to do polling for Erie’s local elections this year. Morris said he did consider doing polling for the Erie County executive race and the Erie mayoral race, but he feared the results would’ve come too close to Election Day and would have impacted people’s thinking of the election.
“I was sure that releasing a poll on the eve of the election wouldn’t have benefited the community in any way,” Morris said.
Over the course of the past year, polling has come under fire after the results of the 2016 presidential election seemed to fly in the face of polling. Joseph Morris says that people should be concerned about polling, but not because of the 2016 election.
“A close look at the polls finds that in places like Pennsylvania, the race was within the margin of error,” said Morris. “Unfortunately, people don’t care about the margin of error. They tend to take poll results to show the exact way the population is feeling, but that’s not the way it works.”
Morris believes that people should be concerned about the current evolution of polling.
“The reason people should be concerned about polls is that our methodology is currently evolving rapidly,” said Morris. “It used to be that you wouldn’t accept the validity of a poll with a response rate of less than 50 percent, but now we drop that response rate down to the low double digits, which means there’s a whole lot of people who aren’t responding.”