- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 12, 2020

The good news continues. Once again, a major pollster cuts to the chase about American life during President Trump’s time in office. Things are good in the Trump era — better than they have been in almost three decades, in fact.

“Sixty-one percent of Americans say they are better off than they were three years ago, a higher percentage than in prior election years when an incumbent president was running. In the 1992, 1996 and 2004 election cycles, exactly half said they were better off. In three separate measures during the 2012 election cycle, an average of 45% said they were better off,” writes Gallup analyst Jeffrey M. Jones in a new report.

“The current results, from a Jan. 16-29 Gallup poll, echo record highs, measured earlier in January, in Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in their personal life and in their assessments of their personal finances. Relatedly, 52% of U.S. adults say it is easier for them to ‘go and buy things in the stores’ than it was three years ago, higher than in the 1992, 1996 and 2004 election cycles, when the figures were closer to 40%,” he says.

The public, meanwhile, is offering credit for these good tidings where credit is due.

“Sixty-two percent give Trump a great deal or fair amount of credit for improvement in the state of the economy in the past few years — more than the 51% giving former President Barack Obama the same level of credit,” Mr. Jones says.



ROMNEY: STAY OR GO?

Republicans have not forgotten about Sen. Mitt Romney’s recent decision to vote in favor of an impeachment count brought against President Trump by House Democrats.

“Many Republicans were furious at Romney, and a sizable number of GOP voters are ready to throw him out of the party,” says a new Rasmussen Reports poll.

It found that nearly two-thirds of all likely GOP voters — 64% — now have an unfavorable view of the Utah lawmaker, up from 47% last fall. Perhaps more significantly, 39% of Republican voters think Mr. Romney should be expelled from the party. Among those who strongly approve of Mr. Trump, 50% say he should leave the GOP fold.

Some of the Republican voters disagree: 43% don’t think an exit is warranted, while 18% are undecided. In the meantime, Mr. Romney’s favorability has rocketed upward in another sector.

“Democrats have a new respect for Romney. Sixty percent now regard him favorably, up from 47% last fall,” the poll said. “Seventy-two percent of self-identified liberals and 53% of moderates view Romney favorably, compared to 31% of conservatives,” the survey said.

The poll of 1,000 likely voters was conducted February 6-9.

U.S. CENSUS TAKES ON FRAUD, SCAMMERS

Those behind the nation’s upcoming population count vow to protect the sanctity of the U.S. Census from the new threats of a high tech age.

“The rise of digital and social media use has exponentially increased the speed of how accurate and inaccurate information can spread,” says Stephen Buckner, assistant director for communications at the federal agency — and he is convinced that the census will be “a likely target” for misinformation and disinformation campaigns plus fake news.

The bureau has established the government’s first ever “Trust & Safety Team” to protect the count, engaging major social media outlets, plus YouTube and Twitter to update policies and terms of service to include “census-specific activities.” The agency plans to root out misinformation and disinformation, and will collaborate with other federal agencies and consumer organizations to protect vulnerable people and “targeted communities” from scammers and fraud.

And here’s their pitch:

“It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure we have an accurate count,” the Census advises in a public outreach.

“Report inaccurate, suspicious or fraudulent information. If you see or hear something, tell us. Report suspicious information and tips to [email protected],” the agency says. “Reach out to us on our verified social media accounts (@USCensusBureau) to ask questions and flag suspicious information. Call the Census Bureau Customer Service Hotline at 1-800-923-8282 to report suspicious activity.”

VIRUS ON THE MENU

Multiple news organizations — including The New York Times — now report that public fears of the deadly COVID-19 are taking a bite out of Chinese restaurants around the nation. Patrons are staying away from noteworthy eateries and business has dropped by 50-70% in several famous neighborhoods, according to The Times.

“Being a business owner in Chinatown I just see it, the streets are empty. It’s a ghost town in Chinatown right now.” Wilson Tang, owner of the 100-year-old Nom Wah Tea Parlor — tells Grub Street, an insider food publication published by Vox Media.

Restaurants in Boston, Seattle and Houston, and in London and Sydney, Australia — are also reporting a drop in patrons.

“In San Francisco, the Chinese Merchants Association spokesperson says foot traffic in the area has dropped by 50% since coronavirus hit local headlines, and traffic at food venues has been particularly hard hit. The outbreak has provoked xenophobic and racist responses about the Chinese people and diaspora, including from those who push age-old and bigoted misperceptions of Chinese culinary habits,” notes The Eater, another Vox Media publication.

POLL DU JOUR

75% of U.S. adults who self-identify as conservative Republicans say “made-up news” targets their party; 18% say it targets both major parties equally, 3% say it targets Democrats.

67% of those who identify as liberal Democrats say the news will target their party; 26% say it targets both major parties, 2% say it targets Republicans.

57% of conservative Republicans say they are “very concerned” the made-up news will influence the 2020 election, 58% of liberal Democrats agree.

31% of conservative Republicans are “somewhat concerned,” 29% of liberal Democrats agree.

9% of conservative Republicans are not concerned made-up news will target their party, 8% of liberal Democrats agree.

Source: A Pew Research Center poll of 12,043 U.S. adults conducted Oct. 29-Nov. 11, 2019 and released Tuesday.

• Kindly follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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