Three days ago the NYT reported on Pennsylvania's moody, 8th congressional swing district. Trump won it by only two-tenths of a point, and his voters there are now "second-guessing [their] November" decision, wrote the Times. The story's upshot was that Trump voters are beginning to crack.
Shortly after the Times piece appeared, the Washington Post's "The Fix" was critical of it, observing: "this district is not an accurate microcosm of Trump supporters more broadly. And it's not close." The Fix explained its reasoning thus:
The same day [the NYT's] story came out, the Pew Research Center released a poll showing very little buyer's remorse among Trump voters. The poll showed just 7 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say Trump has performed worse than they expected him to. Fully 38 percent — five times as many — say he has performed better [emphasis original].
The Fix's criticism of the Times story and its (selective) reliance on Pew are analytically flawed. For starters, that five times as many as the now disillusioned say Trump has performed better is statistically meaningless. It's merely a glutted expression of support — a superfluity, an excess of favorable opinion that is no more electorally potent than saying that Trump's performance is acceptable.
More significant, though, is a number within Pew's findings that The Fix doesn't cite. Take a look:
See it? There in the lower left? A sizable 31 percent of conservative/moderate Democrats and Democratic leaners nationwide say Trump has done worse than expected. Doubtless, many of these moderate-to-conservative Democrats are precisely those former Obama voters who jumped to Trump and provided his winning margins. Already — not even 100 days into this president's one, only, and probably abbreviated term — they're seeing Trump for what he is: a loser.
That's huge. The Times would have been wrong to suggest otherwise, and The Fix was wrong in doing so.