Trump tweets inaccurate Fox Business graphic on his approval rating

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WASHINGTON — In a tweet Thursday morning, Trump screenshotted a poll graphic from the Fox Business Network that appeared to show his “soaring approval,” with his overall approval rating — it said — at 55 percent and his approval on the economy at 58 percent.

The problem? The graphic was half wrong.  

The Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service Battleground Poll cited in the graphic did, in fact, find his approval rating on the ECONOMY at 58 percent.

But his overall approval rating in the poll was just 43 percent. His disapproval rating stands at 52 percent.

Fifty-five percent was actually Trump’s UNFAVORABLE rating in a separate question.

You can see the full Georgetown poll here.

** UPDATE: Fox Business Network issued a correction for the erroneous graphic on air after the president’s tweet. 

What was said on air: “It’s been a quite start to the day for President Trump, though he did send out a tweet this morning from the Lou Dobbs show last night on Fox Business. That tweet featured a poll that was not entirely accurate, which Fox Business would like to correct.  According to a poll from Georgetown University, 58 percent of respondents approved of the president’s handling of the economy. That portion of the graphic was right. However, the graphic also showed that 55 percent of the respondents approve of the president, that number is not correct. The 55 percent number was those who have an unfavorable impression of President Trump.”

Here’s the original tweet from Trump that contains the error: 

WASHINGTON — A pair of northeastern senators appeared to leave the strongest impression among union leaders at national conference here today at which nine declared-and-possible presidential candidates appeared.   

Interviews with union leaders from Seattle to New York City showed enthusiasm for most of the Democrats who spoke to the North American Building Trades Unions, but none more so than Senators Cory Booker and Elizabeth Warren.

Union members gave Warren, who received standing ovations for her calls to protect pensions, fight right-to-work laws, and combat the opioid crisis, credit for her longtime solidarity with organized labor.  “She’s been with us for years,” said Dennis Fleming, a sprinkler-fitter from Chicago. “We do recognize all that she’s done and stood behind us.”

Booker’s impassioned remarks, covering everything from trade policy, to his college football days at Stanford drew plaudits.  “Being from the Northeast, I enjoyed hearing Cory Booker,” said Michael Halpin, a national coordinator with the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund. “But all of them were very impressive. It’s really, really early in the game.”

Attendees said they were looking for candidates to specifically focus on prevailing wages, proactive labor agreements, protecting the right to organize, and anything that could advance union density across the country. 

But the slew of Democratic candidates also have challenges in winning back many of these workers who voted for President Trump in the 2016 election after years of loyalty to their party. The crowd at the conference was largely made up of white men, a demographic that has tended more and more away from Democrats, especially in industrial areas.

“It’s going to take a special niche to beat the current president,” said Vance Ayres, who works as the governmental affairs director for the International Union of Elevator Constructors. “He ran on an agenda where he got elected because he wasn’t a career politician and the country is tired of politics and career politicians.”

“You’re going to have to have somebody that’s dynamic enough if they’ve spent some time in politics to get elected to beat the current president,” Ayres added. “You’re going to have to elect a real person.”

Other 2020 Democrats who spoke at the conference include: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, California Sen. Kamala Harris, Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan and  California Eric Swalwell. 

Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren raised $6 million in 2019’s first quarter, her campaign announced Wednesday, helping to ease concerns that her grassroots fundraising capabilities were lagging behind her counterparts in the 2020 field.

The fundraising haul is competitive with her fellow 2020 Democratic hopefuls. But Warren stands out in the field for her decision to forego high-dollar fundraisers and donor dialing, a decision that prompted worries about her ability to fundraise competitively. 

“Grassroots donations are the only reason Elizabeth can keep setting the tone for this race with substance and determination for big structural change,” her campaign manager, Roger Lau, wrote in an email sent Wednesday afternoon.

In that same email from her campaign, Lau cautions looking “at the number of grassroots donors — and donations — other candidates report” — a subtle dig at the rest of the field, and a reminder that Warren is not just talking the talk on forsaking donors or corporate PAC money, but living her principles.

Warren boasted a $28 overall donation average from 135,000 grassroots donors making more than 213,000 donations. According to the campaign, ninety-nine percent of donations were less than $200. She heads into the next phase of the 2020 race with $11.2 million cash on hand, with a large amount of that transferred over from her Senate account. 

That cash-on-hand number suggests she spent more than $5 million this cycle. 

The full accounting of candidates’ first quarter fundraising will be available by April 15, when the campaigns have to file reports with the Federal Election Commission.

WASHINGTON — A dramatic, movie-trailer style Twitter video shared Tuesday by President Trump is the latest example of social media habits that have, at times, backfired for the White House.

The two-minute highlight reel, now disabled due to a claim of copyright infringement, featured Trump prevailing over a montage of his favorite “villains” (including Barack Obama, the Clintons, mainstream media and Hollywood stars), set to the sweeping score from Christopher Nolan’s 2012 film, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Warner Brothers said Tuesday that the use of the score was “unauthorized.”

Neither the re-elect team nor the White House had any hand in making the video, according to two campaign officials. Instead, it was made by one of the president’s most ardent fans. “We like to share content from diehard supporters, and this is just another example of how hard Trump supporters fight for the president,” a campaign aide said.   

It’s not the first time Trump has shared a promotional video made by one of his online admirers. Just last week, the @realDonaldTrump tweeted a doctored video of former Vice President Joe Biden from his explanation video posted after allegations of inappropriate violation of personal space.

That video originated from a Twitter user who creates memes “in support of Donald Trump,” according to his bio. White House Social Media Director Dan Scavino had tweeted and linked to it from his personal account, prior to the president blasting it to nearly 60 million people.

Both the Biden and the 2020 videos lacked any kind of attribution or explanation of provenance when sent from the president’s profile. On other occasions, Trump has retweeted questionable and controversial content that was later linked to largely conspiratorial and white nationalist accounts.

In the hours before Tuesday’s video was disabled by Twitter, it had already been viewed 1.8 million times.

The Trump re-elect team expressed displeasure with the decision to pull the video “made by an every day American in good fun.” Campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted Wednesday morning: “AT&T now owns CNN and is positioning themselves as a weapon of the left.”

Trump’s meetings with Kim Jong Un and Jair Bolsonaro are highlighted in the ad, as well as Justice Brett Kavanaugh and presidential daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump. Cabinet secretaries, like Wilbur Ross and recently departed Kirstjen Nielsen, even make an appearance.

But one person notably missing from the promo previewing the 2020 fight? Vice President Mike Pence. 

WASHINGTON —Joe Biden leads the pack of Democratic White House hopefuls in a new Qunnipiac University poll of California Democrats that puts the former vice president ahead of Oakland-born California Sen. Kamala Harris. 

Biden wins over 26 percent of California Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters in the new poll, with Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders and Harris close behind at 18 and 17 percent respectively. 

Sanders’ lead over Harris is well within the 4.1 percent margin of error. But the poll shows how Biden and Sanders continue to have a decent hold on Democratic voters, even in a state where Harris has strong name ID. 

The new poll is also one of the first major surveys to take the temperature of Democrats responding to allegations Biden has made women uncomfortable by touching them over the years. 

Two thirds of the Democrats and Democratic-leaners say the issue is not serious, and that margin is virtually the same among female registered voters of any party identification. Younger voters or more likely to view the issue as serious, but a majority of those still do not find the issue serious. 

Click here for more on the poll, and read on for more from the 2020 beat. 

  • Sanders is releasing his latest Medicare for All bill in the Senate, with the backing of fellow 2020 Democrats like Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who have co-signed the legislation.
  • Former Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Wednesday at a trade union conference in Washington D.C. that he will make a decision on whether to run for president “in a couple of weeks.” 
  • Warren, who had previously released tax returns from 2008-2017, released her 2018 returns on Wednesday. The documents show that she and her husband had a combined income of about $900,000 and paid an effective tax rate of about 27 percent. 

WASHINGTON — Voters’ attitudes about the economy will be the driving force in the next presidential election, according to the first Georgetown Institute of Politics and Public Service “Battleground Poll” of the 2020 cycle.

The national bipartisan survey of registered voters, released Tuesday, found that 59 percent of voters say they are very or somewhat worried about an economic downturn. 

While President Trump’s overall unfavorable rating has remained steady at 55 percent since he announced his candidacy in 2015, 58 percent of voters approve of the job he has done on the economy.

Democratic pollster Celinda Lake of Lake Research Partners said the Democratic Party will need to focus on the economy or “it will find itself in serious jeopardy for the 2020 election.”

Lake has conducted the “Battleground Poll” since 1991 with Republican pollster Ed Goeas of The Tarrance Group.

In his analysis, Goeas sees the economy as a way for Trump “to win over voters who might be put off by his sometimes abrasive personal style.”

Another key takeaway from the survey is that voters are already highly engaged, with 82 percent saying they are extremely likely to vote. But there is a deep partisan divide when it comes to whether the country is on the right track.

While 57 percent of voters overall say the country is on the wrong track, 74 percent of Republicans think the country is going in the right direction.

That’s compared to 92 percent of Democrats who say the country is on the wrong track.

Gender will play a role in 2020, with men saying they’ll vote Republican by a 9-point margin while women say they’ll vote Democratic by an 18-point margin on a generic Congressional ballot.

This gender gap has been mainly caused by a decline in support for Republicans among married white women and white women overall. On the issue of the economy, however, President Trump still has a 58 percent approval from white women and a 63 percent approval from married white women.

The “Battleground Poll” surveyed 1,000 registered voters considered “likely” to vote in 2020 between March 31 and April 4. The margin of error is 3.1 percent. 

WASHINGTON — Mike Pence’s office and Republicans are pushing back after Democrat Pete Buttigieg starting invoking the vice president on the campaign trail as a bogeyman to call out the GOP for hostility to same-sex marriage and other gay rights policies.

Buttigieg’s condemnation of Pence’s record on gay rights has resonated particularly strongly with Democrats because of their longstanding personal experience working together. Pence was governor of Indiana when Buttigieg came out as gay and then sought and won re-election as mayor of South Bend.

Buttigieg starting ramping up the line of attack on Pence over the weekend, when he said he wishes “the Mike Pences of the world would understand that if you have a problem with who I am, your quarrel is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.” He also said his same-sex marriage “has made me a better man, and yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”

Today, Republicans started hitting back, pointing out that Pence has actually praised Buttigieg in the past — including the day after Buttigieg came out as gay in 2015.

The vice president’s press secretary, Alyssa Farah, tweeted out a link to Pence saying he held the South Bend mayor “in the highest personal regard. I see him as a dedicated public servant and a patriot.” And the Indiana Republican Party blasted out reminders of times when Pence complimented Buttigieg’s work as mayor and deployment to Afghanistan in 2014.

“Now that Buttigieg is spending more time in Washington, D.C., Iowa and New Hampshire and neglecting his day job in South Bend, it seems that some of his recent statements have become detached from reality — especially when it comes to Vice President Mike Pence,” says Kyle Hupfer, the Indiana GOP chairman.

Even the vice president’s wife, Karen Pence, took issue with Buttigieg’s critiques, telling Fox News Radio on Tuesday that Buttigieg was attacking her husband “to get some notoriety.” She said Buttigieg and Pence “really have always had a great relationship.” 

“I think in our country we need to understand you shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are,” Karen Pence said.

Buttigieg pushed back on Twitter today, writing that “People will often be polite to you in person, while advancing policies that harm you and your family. You will be polite to them in turn, but you need not stand for such harms. Instead, you push back, honestly and emphatically.”

In the past, Buttigieg has also described Pence as having “fanatical” views about homosexuality and said that “it chills a lot of us, especially in the LGBTQ community, to see that somebody like that can be in that kind of position of power.”

WASHINGTON — North Carolina Democratic House hopeful Dan McCready says he raised $1.6 million in the first three months of 2019 as he gears up for the special election triggered by allegations of absentee-ballot fraud during his congressional race last year. 

McCready’s haul is significant, particularly for an off-year. And it almost matches the $1.65 million McCready raised in the final fundraising quarter before his 2018 matchup with Republican Mark Harris. 

The Democrat’s campaign added in a statement that it closed the quarter with $1.46 million in cash on hand. A full accounting of McCready’s fundraising in the first fundraising quarter will be filed with the Federal Election Commission by April 15. 

While Harris appeared to have emerged victorious in the 9th District race last November with a narrow, 905 vote lead, state officials never certified the result because of allegations of fraud. 

Further investigation by prosecutors and the state Board of Elections unearthed allegations that an operative working with the Harris’ campaign was involved in a scheme that improperly handled absentee ballots.

The operative, Leslie McCrae Dowless, was indicted for his alleged role in the scheme. And the state board ordered that the district hold another election because the 2018 results had been tainted. 

McCready is expected to win the Democratic primary for the fall’s special election, but there’s more uncertainty on the other side. In 2018, Harris edged out Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger in the GOP primary, but has said he would not run again in the special election, citing health concerns.

MALCOM, IA — Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders promised to release his tax returns “very very shortly,” but did not specify exactly when in an interview with NBC News. 

“April 15th is coming and we’re gonna do our taxes for this year and that will be the tenth year,” Sanders said. In February, the senator promised to release them “sooner than later” during a televised town hall on CNN. 

Asked by NBC why he won’t release what he has so far, he said “We are, [just] not right this minute,” before joking “you think I have them in my back pocket?”

Other Democratic candidates have already released their tax returns, in the hopes of putting pressure on both their intra-party rivals as well as President Trump, who has repeatedly refused to release his returns. 

New York Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Washington Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee have all released their returns for this year. And Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren released 10 years of returns last year. 

There’s far more brewing on the 2020 trail than just this story—read on for a roundup of what you may have missed. 

  • New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker’s campaign announced it raised $5 million in the first fundraising quarter and has $6.1 million on hand. There are still some question marks—including how much the campaign transferred from Booker’s Senate account, how much it spent and how many individual donors gave to the campaign—that will be answered once candidates officially file by April 15. 
  • Politico reports that a top aide to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is moving over to the mayor’s political action committee as de Blasio weighs a run for president. De Blasio was in Nevada this past weekend for an event. 
  • NBC’s Morgan Radford and Aaron Franco profile the “Breakfast Club” radio show, which is turning into an important stop for 2020 Democratic hopefuls looking to reach out to minority listeners. 

WASHINGTON — Utah Republican Sen. Mitt Romney criticized Democrats for challenging President Trump on immigration, arguing the issue only helps Republicans politically. 

Speaking during his first Sunday show interview since 2016, Romney argued that Trump has “tapped into something which the people feel very deeply” and said the Democratic focus is a “huge error.”  

“We can’t have millions upon millions of people flooding into our country without a border that’s secure, without ICE making sure the people that are here illegally are sent back,” he said, referencing the nickname for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

“This is a winning issue I think for Republicans. But more importantly, it’s a winning issue for Americans to say, ‘We have to have the sovereignty of our nation.'”

And he argued that while he disagrees with the Obama-era “DACA” policy that deferred deportations for those brought to America illegally as children, that “we have a responsibility to fulfill what is a presidential pledge and commitment.” 

Hear more from Romney in his full interview below.