The GOP’s Presidential Performance Poll Feels Like Something out of a Dictatorship

In some ways, what we’re seeing today feels like politics as normal. Fighting over healthcare, fighting over the budget, fighting over taxes—isn’t this the same thing Congress has been doing for the past decade? There are some things, though, that stand as stark reminders that something is very much not normal. This is one of them:

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This is a poll on the GOP website. “How would you rate President Trump’s job performance so far?” it asks. It gives four options: great, good, okay, and other. It then offers an optional text box for further explanation. And that’s it. There are only the two questions, followed by a form for poll takers to enter their contact information.

I’ve done some digging, and I can’t find anything like this on the DNC website or Barack Obama’s website using the wayback machine. I can’t find anything like this on the GOP website from the Bush days either. This does not appear to be normal. At all.

Furthermore, the poll is labeled “Official Presidential Job Performance Poll.” In what way is this poll “official”? Is it being conducted by the U.S. government? Is that not generally what “official” means in this context? No, the poll is being conducted by the GOP. If it’s perhaps the official GOP poll it should be labeled as such.

There are other problems to labeling the poll “official” as well. Namely, it does not use a nationally representative sample—and as polls go, it is terribly designed. It does not give respondents any option for disapproving of the president’s performance. Your options are approve, or other. For all practical purposes, the poll actually measures respondents’ degree of approval.

We live in a democratic republic. This sort of poll, with its deceptively limited options and its laser-focus on praise for the chief officer of our country, feels out of place. This is not a poll asking for genuine, honest feedback. It’s not about improving the president’s agenda or giving him an honest way to assess his performance. It’s a poll designed to feed an ego.

And this, apparently, is where the Republican Party now is, because this isn’t a poll on Donald Trump’s personal website, or his campaign website. It’s on the GOP website.

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