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Is it National Leftwing Hair on Fire Month?

Is it National Leftwing Hair on Fire Month?

I posed the hypothetical headline question after seeing a headline in a Bloomberg News article that read, “Trump’s Favorability Rating Reaches the Highest Since 2022.”

The story was about the results of the latest RealClearPolitics polling average.  It shows that 42 percent of voters have a favorable opinion of President Trump – from a low of 36 percent in December of 2022 – compared to 40 percent for Biden.

But this was not an outlier or a single poll. And it is not just about favorability ratings.

In a head-to-head contest, the recent Harvard CAPS-Harris poll shows Trump with a 6-point lead – 48 to 42 percent.  Even if convicted in the Fulton County case, Trump still wins 52 to 48 percent.  And amazingly, if he is convicted in the January 6th case, Trump extends his lead to 8-points – 54 to 46 percent.

(You can see how such news would have the hair of leftwingers ablaze in traumatic disbelief.)

The widest spread in favorability rating for Biden –according to RealClearPolitics — was in 2021 when Trump fell to 36 percent, and Biden reached an all-time high of 54 percent favorability.  Biden dropped precipitously in 2021.  Many attribute the sharp decline in Biden’s favorability rating to the bungled handling of the surrender in Afghanistan. If not causal, it was coincidental?  And if not Afghanistan, then what?

For most of 2024, Trump has enjoyed better favorability ratings than Biden – by increasingly wider margins.  While the 2-point margin favoring Trump in the RealClearPolitics is still fairly close – and within the margins of errors of the various polls computed in the RealClearPolitics average – it is remarkable since it comes at a time when Trump is deeply burdened by a series of legal cases – civil and criminal. 

And he has already lost a couple.

He was ordered to pay E. Jean Carroll more than $80 million for defaming her a second time.  That came on top of the $5 million he had to pay after being held libel in the earlier battery/defamation case. In the New York fraud case, Trump was ordered to pay $450 million (accruing interest at $114,000 a day) – and to cease doing business in New York for three years.  The New York attorney general who brought the case has threatened to immediately start seizing Trump’s properties to satisfy the judgment.  Trump is appealing the case.

Still in process are the criminal RICO case being pursued in Fulton County, Georgia … the campaign finance case in New York City … the documents and the January 6th cases being handled by Special Counsel Jack Smith … and a few sundry civil cases.

Despite all that, Trump has been improving his favorability numbers over Biden – and beating Biden in most head-to-head polling.  Even worse for Biden is that he is losing to Trump in all the key battleground states with the exception of Wisconsin.

Over the past year, it seems the worse news that descends on Trump, the better he does.  He has not only survived what would have traditionally been mortal political wounds, he has flourished under them.  It seems that each new bit of “bad” news results in an uptick in Trump’s overall ratings – and an improvement in those head-to-head contest questions.

The New York corporate fraud verdict and penalty is a case-in-point.  Trump has been ordered to pay by far the biggest fine in history compared to similar cases.  And that may be why Trump has shot up in the standings again.

Many legal analysts, – even some Trump critics – believe that Judge Arthur Engoron was biased in his decisions and extremely vicious in his imposition of fines – not to mention closing the Trump business in New York.    Only an avid Trump-hater without respect for a concept of equal justice would have seen Engoron’s penalty as fair and just.  In fact, a lot of folks think the entire case was based on persecution rather than prosecution.

Consequently, Trump gains some measure of public sympathy – and that appears to translate into improved favorability ratings.

This is neither a unique nor undocumented opinion.  In June of 2023, the Quinnipiac University Poll showed that 62 percent of Americans believe that the Documents Case against Trump is politically motivated.  About the same time, a Reuters/Ipsos Poll indicated that 50 percent of Americans believe the legal cases against Trump are generally politically motivated.  Interestingly, Black, Hispanic, and younger voters tend to believe the charges against Trump are politically motivated.

I do not make note of the relationship between bad news and Trump gains because I support him.  I have consistently indicated my preference for a different GOP standard bearer.   However, I see the situation as a newsworthy topic.  I can understand the frustration and angst of those on the left over Trump’s ability to rise like a Phoenix out of the ashes of controversy.   While I am as amazed as the next person, it just does not set my hair on fire. 

The real issue is how much of Biden’s problem is due to his performance and policies, and how much is the issue of age and mental acuity.  The latter is of growing concern among Democrats – who are mounting pressure on Biden to withdraw from the race.  More about that in a future commentary.

It is too early to know how this will play out in November.  There will undoubtedly be a lot more bumps on this particularly bumpy road to Election Day 2024.

So, there ‘tis.

About The Author

Larry Horist

So,there‘tis… The opinions, perspectives and analyses of Larry Horist Larry Horist is a businessman, conservative writer and political strategist with an extensive background in economics and public policy. Clients of his consulting firm have included such conservative icons as Steve Forbes and Milton Friedman. He has served as a consultant to the Nixon White House and travelled the country as a spokesman for President Reagan’s economic reforms. He has testified as an expert witness before numerous legislative bodies, including the U. S. Congress. Horist has lectured and taught courses at numerous colleges and universities, including Harvard, Northwestern, DePaul universities, Hope College and his alma mater, Knox College. He has been a guest on hundreds of public affairs talk shows, and hosted his own program, “Chicago In Sight,” on WIND radio. Horist was a one-time candidate for mayor of Chicago and served as Executive Director of the City Club of Chicago, where he led a successful two-year campaign to save the historic Chicago Theatre from the wrecking ball. An award-winning debater, his insightful and sometimes controversial commentaries appear frequently on the editorial pages of newspapers across the nation. He is praised by readers for his style, substance and sense of humor. According to one reader, Horist is the “new Charles Krauthammer.” He is actively semi-retired in Boca Raton, Florida where he devotes his time to writing. So, there ‘tis is Horist’s signature sign off.


  1. frank stetson

    Pretty good story although I do have a few issues with some of the asides, or toss-a-ways like “The New York attorney general who brought the case has threatened to immediately start seizing Trump’s properties to satisfy the judgment.” The AG is just following the law; there is no threat here, nothing extra over the law as written and followed. The law says Trump must pay before the appeal. Period. I really tire of people treating Trump as the perpetual victim, as Horist is prone to do. Trump is anything but the a victim of his own greed. He did this. He got caught. He was tried and the EVIDENCE proved him guilty, guilty, guilty according to either a jury of his peers or a judge at Trump’s request for a bench trial. You can argue the amount, but not the facts of what happened. And with no remorse from Trump, why not throw the book at him?

    “Trump has been ordered to pay by far the biggest fine in history compared to similar cases.” I have not found substantiation of this in the news so far. I did find a WSJ story titled: “Trump’s $355 Million Fine Fits With New York Law” with subtitle: “The verdict feels proper, but will we come to regret stretching Executive Law 63 (12)?” It’s an op ed written by an ex SDNY attorney.

    Trump is appealing the NY case, the appeal by definition will focus on points of law with the goal being to reduce the fine. It does not stop, by law, immediate payment of fines, penalities, and interest, with or without an appeal lodged. Trump’s saying he’s too poor to pay sort of smells. For the appeal, like going to traffic court, there are high odds of the fine being reduced, but not erased and he will not be absolved except by the deluded. We should quit giving Trump mulligans for things we would put people in the public relations pillory for. He cheats on his wife. He cheats and steals in his businesses. He even steals from his students and his own charity foundation.

    So, yeah, some of us have hair-on-fire over the polling results.

    But polling is only part of it. Read on McDuff……. Coming soon……

  2. frank stetson

    Horist was recently tested for mental acuity; the doctor said he was in the stable area.

    He who calls himself Hoirst reports on a number of polls, identifies them and then forgets the dates for the data. Spin tactic. But that aside, yes, a number of people question what’s going on in light of the evidence. However, polls are polls and earlier I posted the exit polls from South Carolina as follows:

    “We live in a world where a meaningful portion of America, both sides, cannot face reality and believe in things not true. Overs 62% of SC Republicans in the exit polls said Trump should be President even when convicted of crimes. 62% of SC voters beleive that Joe Biden did not win the 2020 election, 87% of Trump voters think so. 60% were evangelicals, so godly disbelief in reality, 73% did not have college degrees, so you can see the schism between college and not demographics forming sides. And 80% want a national abortion ban, with 50% downright angry about life in America. This is not the average American voter, nor the average American and their grasp on reality is tenuous in a number of areas where Trump has continually and consistently lied through his teeth, sometimes for years. And they still believe.”

    So yes, many just cannot fathom what’s going on. Based on the evidence.

    I also said upon Biden’s crushing win in 2020 that he would never hold the young. I didn’t expect the migration of black voters, but they young should have been anticipated. Like Horist, they held there noses and voted, pretty much knowing they would be disappointed in the results, and they are.

    It’s pretty easy math though. If people turn up, we will win. If not, we lose. And there’s still plenty of time to see the truth for both sides. But there is another side to the polling — follow the money. What do the money “polls” say? 2Where is it? Who has got it? And where is it coming from? Right now, that does not bode well for Trump.

    For those of us who believe “follow the money” often tells you the why’s and wherefores, campaign financing offers a glimmer of the future through the actions of the present. Trump and Biden campaign finances are very different. Biden is creating a large war chest and spending to defend his throne. Trump, the usurper incumbent, has a shrinking war chest and is spending hard to defend himself in court as well as his campaign.
    Biden has about 130M with about 42M coming in the last month alone; his is on a roll. He got 420,000 donations last month, 97% under $200, lots and lots of small donations, each from a voter. He is spending a lot in swing states, but the poll meters don’t seem to be moving in his direction for all that money. He cannot find his voice.
    Trump has about 30M with about 14M coming in last month. In January, he brought in 9M and spend 11M. He paid 5M to defend NH from Haley and 3M to lawyers in January. In the last six months, Haley’s PAC got 10% more donations than Trump’s. That’s gotta hurt his pride and his wallet. Remember when he promised to roll his own campaign, spend his own bucks. Yeah, those days of principle are gone. Now he spends donor dollars for his legal defense as he begs you to buy funny clothes. His loyal, convicted supporters, facing their own huge fines and punishments are left to fend and fund for themselves. Every man for himself. On his own. Trump loyalty. He might throw you a donor breakfast though (because he profits per plate at his hotels…..)
    Biden needs to spend more because he is being hit on age, the borders, the wars, and more and he has clearly not found his message. He is outspending Trump but not yet profiting. He’s getting hit on all sides from conservatives to progressives and many in the middle too. Trump has enthusiastic and committed supporters, they are actually, literally, willing to storm the Capitol in support of his lies. That’s power. Raw charismatic power. And, on the flip side, if you have a different opinion — there is retribution. You will feel pain. Real physical pain. He has been able to raise large sums in a flash, should not be counted out, but the financial endurance of his most loyal donors is wavering or being diverted to Haley and there’s a big question whether the big-money will come back after the primaries. Trump’s massive legal bills being funded by donors is also a drain, both on the money and the donors. And that’s before he pays off the penalties, fines, and interest. One thing though: Trump counts money with more passion than Midas. He counts polls and popularity like his Beauty Show queens. He knows what is happening, it has happened countless times before, and he knows he has always covered the bet. So far.
    So, there tis it, the money. Follow it as it often foretells the end results. If Trump donations stay in the toilet, his legal costs rise, or if Biden’s donation train slows —- they will be in serious trouble. If it stays as is, Biden wins.

    • Tom

      Wow Frank, you were on a roll today! I agree with much of what you wrote. Hey on the issue of Trump in the past saying he will bankroll his own campaign, I listened to an analyst discuss what he did. Basically what Trump did was to “loan” his campaign $250K to get it going. He then had the campaign pay him back. So really, in my view he did not cover his costs on his own like most of us normally do. I think May to September will be very interesting. Also Super Tuesday. He can run the table but I agree with what Haley is saying that she is taking away 40% of his GOP vote and that’s bad for his chances in a general election. And these were strong GOP states where she took 40%! What will he do in purple states and blue states? And while the spread between 60 and 40 percent may be 20, the reality is if only 10 percent more go Haley’s way, Trump and his supporters have a big problem! And those average American contributions will end – I will bet that most will not keep supporting him, especially if he runs the RNC into the ground and manages to get the RNC to pay for his legal bills. That will piss off his down-ticket supporters running for office as well because it will cash starve them to pay Trump legal bills. IMHO, I think the GOP has a mountain of worries on the horizon!

      As an Independent / Unaffiliated voter, Trump’s court losses, his pending cases, and his meddling in the Border Bill make me think Haley is correct when she says Trump is unfit for office. He really is!!!

  3. frank stetson

    Think much will rest on the economy and border this Spring. The economy is still shakey, there is the threat of recession and Spring will either run hot or cold. I am cutting spending so I hope others will pick up the pace. I did mine last year :>). Xmas was good, not gangbuster OOC, but good. All numbers pretty much OK, but market is overheated so there’s always a dark cloud in the vicinity of any good news.

    The border is just up to Republicans to do the right thing and what voters think about what both parties are doing. That story will get much hotter as we move forward into Spring too.

    Plus, frankly, no one is listening to either fellow. For Biden, I’m OK with that, he needs to sharpen his sword anyways and find his message. For Trump, I am ready for folks to listen to his current retribution rift. I think the more they listen, the more they hear, they will become energized. And that’s the point. I think a Trump energized nation will lean Biden because Trump was whacky before, now he’s totally OOC. I mean this stuff is just weird.

    Unless Trump nukes himself, I just see Haley as a cash drain. I can live with that…. :>) He donors are betting on a Trumpian melt-down, but Trump is up against the wall, he must continue now. It’s President or jail.