On Thursday morning, President Trump retweeted a Twitter poll from an account called @ProgressPolls. The “poll,” conducted on August 4 (President Obama’s birthday), asked the question: “Who is a better President of the United States?”
Who is a better President of the United States? #ObamaDay
— ProgressPolls (@ProgressPolls) August 4, 2017
Trump likely retweeted this favorable poll in response to a spate of recent legitimate polling that shows Trump’s approval ratings at historically low levels. A Quinnipiac poll released last week showed a 33% approval rating for Trump, while Gallup puts it at 36%. Both are lower than at any point during Obama’s eight years in office. Trump has yet to reach a 50% approval rating while in office. On Tuesday, Trump marked his 200th day in office with a tweet touting his administration’s achievements while denouncing what he calls the “Fake News Suppression polls.”
After 200 days, rarely has any Administration achieved what we have achieved..not even close! Don't believe the Fake News Suppression Polls!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 8, 2017
ProgressPolls, the account retweeted by Trump, has created similar polls seemingly designed to further Republican Party talking points such as: is the gender pay gap real, and was Seth Rich “murdered by the DNC / Clintons”?
Do you think the wage gap for women is real? #BlackWomensEqualPay
— ProgressPolls (@ProgressPolls) July 31, 2017
Do you think Seth Rich was murdered by the DNC / Clintons?
— ProgressPolls (@ProgressPolls) August 1, 2017
Curiously, the ProgressPolls Twitter account currently says it has 3,900 tweets, but only a handful are currently available for viewing, an anomaly which normally occurs after an account scrubs a large number of previous tweets. The account also displays a creation date of March 2016, but the oldest tweet on their profile is from late last month. A quick search of previous @ProgressPolls tweets reveals that the account recently changed its handle from @Truth_Bombers, a conservative Twitter account posting pro-Trump memes and news not usually associated with credible polling institutions. Archived media posts form the Twitter account reflect the recent change in content.
The selective choice to believe unscientific and illegitimate polls simply because they contain news you want to hear, while casting all negative coverage as “fake” backs a report from Politico earlier in the week that revealed the White House pays a staffer $89,000 to “spot and distribute positive stories ” about the president.