President Trump gave Boston’s Emerson College a shout-out Tuesday afternoon when he tweeted about the findings of a recent “ePoll” by the school.
Trump tweeted that the poll “said that most Americans, especially Hispanics, feel that they are better off under President Trump than they were under President Obama.”
A recent Emerson College ePoll said that most Americans, especially Hispanics, feel that they are better off under President Trump than they were under President Obama.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 10, 2018
But that tweet doesn’t tell the whole story, according to the Emerson professor who helped lead the study.
Although some aspects of the president’s tweet are based in truth, the overall sentiment is an exaggeration that cherry-picks from the poll, said Spencer Kimball, an adviser to Emerson College Polling.
For one, the poll, which came out Monday, specifically asked respondents whether they are “better or worse off financially than you were two years ago.” The question asks about personal financial standing and does not mention Obama.
“We were asking specifically about finances,” Kimball said, “which is a stretch to then say what the president has put out there with the ‘Obama’ because it doesn’t have Obama in the question.”
About 42 percent of the 900 people surveyed nationally said they are better off financially than they were two years ago. This is not “most people,” as the president insinuated.
“There was a plurality of Americans, not a majority,” because the threshold did not hit 50 percent, Kimball said. About 30 percent of respondents said they are doing “about the same” as they were two years ago, while 26 percent said they were “worse off.”
Kimball said Trump was correct in his suggestion about Hispanic and Latino Americans. Emerson’s poll found that about 62 percent of respondents who identified as Hispanic or Latino said they are better off financially, while 25 percent said they are worse off.
Of the 900 people surveyed, 97 were Hispanic or Latino.
Emerson’s “ePoll” was conducted using a mix of online questions through SurveyMonkey and landline telephone polling, according to Kimball.
Trump’s tweet about the question is essentially equivalent to “cherry-picking a poll question,” Kimball said, because the study asked more than a dozen politics-related questions.
For example, about 50 percent of total respondents said they disapprove of Trump’s job as president. And when asked whether they would rather have Trump or Obama as president, half chose Obama.
It’s not the first time Trump has given a shout-out to Emerson. During the 2016 presidential election, he called Emerson a “very important, great college,” when its poll found Trump ahead of Senator Ted Cruz in an Iowa primary race.J.D. Capelouto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @jdcapelouto.