John McLaughlin is a pollster for President Trump's re-election campaign. He also has a history of overly optimistic numbers not only for Trump but for other Republican candidates -- to the point that after dismal internal polling leaked in June, the Trump campaign fired most of its pollsters but not McLaughlin.
McLaughlin, along with Jim McLaughlin, also write a column for Newsmax; we last noted them denouncing any criticism of America as anti-American. In their Aug. 13 column, they claim that Trump's poll numbers would be higher than they are if there just wasn't any negative media coverage of him:
It’s a totally amazing political phenomena unique to President Trump. Regardless of what the news or events are, public opinion about the president moves at glacial speeds. If the news is bad and the mainstream media coverage about him is overwhelmingly negative, they can’t reduce his job approval. The president’s base is rock solid and impervious to negative mainstream media coverage. The only one who could reduce the president’s job approval is the president himself. That hasn’t happened, and it’s not likely to happen.
On the other hand, with all the mainstream media’s negative coverage and the unyielding opposition of the Washington political establishment for the past three years, including the phony Russian collusion investigation, they have successfully contained President Trump from breaking above a 50% job approval for any significant sustained period of time. He’s close, but not there yet. And the media and D.C. establishment are going all out to stop him.
Note that the McLaughlins never concede that Trump does anything negative; it's just the media coverage that's negative. Their answer is not telling the truth, but framing things to make Trump look as good as possible -- which they're trying hard to do:
The president is close, but not over the 50% job approval mark yet. So why are his opponents so rabidly negative, throwing slanderous attacks and disrespecting a sitting president as never before — at least not since maybe Abraham Lincoln? They know that they must frame the president’s disruptive personal style as negative, rather than allow him to define himself in a positive light as a successful president based on his record of accomplishment.
In our June 24 national poll one message question that we asked revealed the key to President Trump gaining a 50%+ job approval and winning re-election. This question showed that the president can clearly generate majority approval when his record of accomplishment and unique style are put in proper perspective.
We asked all voters whether they agreed or disagreed with the following statement:
“Politicians have been talking for years about turning the economy around, limiting illegal immigration, and standing up to unfair foreign trade practices, but it took Donald Trump to make it happen. Sometimes he seems like a bull in a china shop and his manners are jarring. It seems he is always fighting with someone, but a nicer, more polite gentleman couldn’t do all that he has done. The powers in charge don’t change unless a guy like Trump comes along to make them change. Trump is too valuable to lose — there is so much more to be done.”
When framed in this way a solid majority of voters, 52%, agreed with this message and only 40% disagreed. Within that majority some voters had actually switched from being unfavorable to the president to now agreeing with this positive framing of the president’s style and record.
Still, the McLaughlins argue, that pesky media keeps getting in the way, reporting their facts instead of being Trump's propaganda arm: "If the mainstream news media is the source of information about the president without the voters seeing and hearing him directly, whether it’s the State of the Union Speech, the president’s June announcement speech, or the president’s July 4 speech, these voters have a negative opinion of the president. However, if they follow the president directly on social media, or if the voters see and hear the president speak directly, the response is overwhelmingly positive."
And, like a loyal pro-Trump propagandist, they smell conspiracy: "From these results it’s very clear that the mainstream news media’s bias and negative coverage of the president is trying to keep a lid on his job approval and just as he has been able to disrupt Washington to get things done, President Trump will have to disrupt the media further to get his message to the voters. "
The McLaughlins never consider the fact that Trump's poll numbers are low because the media report accurately about him.