September 25, 2016

The emotional politics around the question whether Trump (and Clinton) are "qualified" to be President.

I'm reading a WaPo piece titled "Poll: Clinton, Trump in virtual dead heat on eve of first debate":
... 53 percent of registered voters say he is not qualified, 58 percent say he lacks the temperament to serve effectively....

Doubts about Trump’s qualifications have softened somewhat since midsummer, when 6 in 10 registered voters said he was not qualified....

Trump has the support of 88 percent of registered voters who say he is qualified, which is a high in Post-ABC polls. Among those who say he is not qualified, just 5 percent support him, no higher than before.
I'm not surprised at that high correspondence between responding yes to the is-he-qualified question and the plan to vote for him. His opponents have framed him as not even qualified, so those who are rejecting him are unusually likely to explain themselves in those terms.

My hypothesis is that people arrive at their connection to Trump through an emotional path, and then they address the question But is he qualified? Since they already want to vote for him, it affects their understanding of what it means to be "qualified" and it biases them toward saying he is.

A funny thing is those 5% of Trump supporters who will say "not qualified." What are those people thinking? Maybe it's something like what William F. Buckley had in mind when he said: "I would rather be governed by the first 2000 people in the Manhattan phone book than the entire faculty of Harvard."

WaPo continues:
On most of those measures, Clinton scores positively, with 57 percent of registered voters saying she is qualified to serve as president; 55 percent saying she has the right temperament....
You know, that's not that good. Clinton is touted as supremely qualified — even the most qualified person ever to run for President. How come only 57% of the respondents will give her the minimal status of "qualified"? Maybe the overuse has changed the meaning of the word, and the effort at excluding Trump from its scope has made it feel more restrictive.

47 comments:

clint said...

"A funny thing is those 5% of Trump supporters who will say "not qualified." What are those people thinking?"

Like Ted Cruz, they think he's at least not quite as bad as Hillary Clinton. And you have to pick one.

Laslo Spatula said...

"How come only 57% of the respondents will give her the minimal status of "qualified"?"

43% think she is guilty of treason.

I am The Replacement Laslo.

tim in vermont said...

A funny thing is those 5% of Trump supporters who will say "not qualified." What are those people thinking?

That he will be opposed at every term by the "deep state," you know, govt employees like those at the FEC who got the Citizens United injunction or used IRS powers against Tea Party donors, and that Hillary will cement in place the apparatus that will bring us one-party rule for decades.... Corruption of the FBI, The Justice Department, the FBI, the FEC. No decision will be made without taking into account the partisan needs of the Democrats. Just sayin'

tim in vermont said...

Not to mention the complete corruption of the press.

Hagar said...

The required "qualifications" are that the candidate be a native born citizen, 35 years or more of age, and that the majority of the electors of the Electoral College vote for him (and his party).

EDH said...

Being qualified by dint of decades of existence at the periphery of government power does not obviate one's simultaneous disqualification for office based on a history incompetence and malevolence.

Ann Althouse said...

"The required "qualifications" are that the candidate be a native born citizen, 35 years or more of age, and that the majority of the electors of the Electoral College vote for him (and his party).

Good point. Makes me want to look up U.S. Term Limits v. Thornton.

Bob Boyd said...

Not every problem can be solved with a modest policy tweak. Sometimes a wrecking ball is needed. Pollsters, in a moment of insight, have lately taken to describing the Trump voter as a compos mentis risk taker open to a high-risk, high-reward gamble.

This seems to get it about right. What kind of president would Mr. Trump make? We have no idea and there may be only one way to find out. But, whatever the case, America has deep problems of bureaucratic corruption, sterility and incompetence that increasingly argue for a wrecking ball. – Holman Jenkins
http://www.wsj.com/articles/if-not-trump-who-will-cure-the-rot-1474668631

Shouting Thomas said...

No.

Politics isn't about this "qualifications" and "facts" stuff. It's about self-interest, as Hillary knows full well. She appeals blatantly and directly to the self-interest of her constituencies... blacks, women and gays.

Trump says he'll support my self-interest, dastardly hetero white male that I am. I'm so awful that I'm even successful, retired and happy.

I'm voting for Trump precisely because he's the first candidate in decades to appeal to me directly in support of my self-interest. When you talk about Trump's assault on PC, what you're really talking about is his direct appeal to the voters no decent candidate is supposed to want... like me.

Sebastian said...

"How come only 57% of the respondents will give her the minimal status of "qualified"?" How come as many as 57% of the respondents will give her the minimal status of "qualified"? FIFY.

She did not faithfully execute the office of SoS; therefore, she will not faithfully execute the office of president.

That's qualification number 1. Knowing how to use a computer is qualification number 2. As Huma told us in the latest email dump, Hill doesn't.

William said...

Donald Trump's profession is that of real estate developer. He has some show biz experience, but at politics he's a complete amateur. I give him some leeway because of that, and I give him some credit for knowing how to address a crowd and how to make executive decisions. All in all, he's an unknown quantity, and you're definitely throwing the dice by voting for him. If, however, you want an experienced candidate with a record of proven, dependable failure, Hillary is the way to go.

bagoh20 said...

If you know a plumber who has been plumbing all his life, and has all the required licenses, but every toilet he worked on leaks like a sieve afterward, is he qualified as a plumber? "Qualified" is not a useful question? Some people answer it technically, which of course leaves them both clearly qualified. Some are answering: "Are they qualified to be a good President?", which is a very different question. How many are answering which question is unknown. I think past performance shows that only Trump has the chance of being a good president, but is only about a 50/50 chance at best. I'm 100% sure that if he wins, it will be a noisy period of unparalleled victimhood performance art, like if you suddenly removed all the toys from a room full of toddlers.

Hagar said...

What can turn this election into a rout, is that something happens somewhere in the world that makes people think the United States has been incompetently managed by the party in power.

Hagar said...

Oe perhaps just feel, rather than "think."

Tommy Duncan said...

People now understand the difference between experience and accomplishment.

Hillary has been running for President so long that everyone now knows how to parse the statements about her being qualified. The delightful videos where Hillary supporters are asked to name some of her accomplishments (and can't name one) drive that point home.

Results matter.

Hagar said...

And perhaps the persons in charge generally, never mind what party if any they are registered with.

Hari said...

Trump (47%) is 10% behind Clinton (57%) the most qualified person ever to run for president.
Margin of error = 5%

Bob Boyd said...

Maybe people who form a connection to Trump do so because they have a different idea of "qualified" to begin with.
Perhaps in their experience, in their world, in their dealings with people, deciding someone is "Qualified" has more to do with trusting their own judgement about a person's character and competence than it does with unrolling a list of credentials and titles.
When you're trying to get something done, as opposed to talking about what somebody else should be doing, people who lead with their titles and credentials often turn out to be more of hindrance than a help.

My hypothesis is that people arrive at their connection to Hillary through an emotional path, and then they address the question But is she disqualified?
Since they already want to vote for Hillary, it affects their understanding of what it means to be "disqualified" and it biases them toward saying she isn't.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hagar said...

Qualified engineers would have known better than to attempt building a canal across Panama.

bagoh20 said...

Just imagine if a President was elected who truely understood the damage done by the unsupportable and stifling breadth, complexity, and dysfunction of the federal government, and that executive immediately did a deep necessity-based culling of the whole bureaucracy - the kind of thing that's done in the business world all the time to turn a failing company around. Yes, many government jobs would be lost, and their would be suffering, but the thing would be saved and shareholders would stop bleeding out as we are. The exiting workers would be forced to find jobs that are prodcutive and valuable to themselves and their fellow Americans, assuming that same executive returned unemployment back to what it was designed for: a stopgap while you find a new job rather than a two-year paid vacation. People would be educating and training themselves to be truely valuable and productive, rather than just trying to jump on the gravy train where you rarely get thrown off for incompetence or even dishonesty. Trump maybe would do some of that, but Hillary will definitely do the opposite. This is my main issue, and I'm almost a single issue voter on it. Who will most likely fight the monster that is the real threat to us and our future? It's not crime, or terrorism - it's sloth, incompetence, corruption and greed within our own ranks which has become it's own self-sustaining industry with a captive, forced customer base.

dreams said...

Hillary's history of failure doesn't make her qualified. In a world without a corrupt liberal media there wouldn't be all these stories about how her being perceived as the more competent.
She is incompetent and has never accomplished anything other than getting elected and that was due to her riding the coattails of Bubba. Flying around the world over and over isn't an accomplishment, its an activity.

Whereas Trump is a very successful builder, a very competent person.

MayBee said...

My hypothesis is that people arrive at their connection to Hillary through an emotional path, and then they address the question But is she disqualified?

I agree with this, except for rather than an emotional path, it's a partisan path. Pretty much all the Democrats I know are voting for her because she's the Democratic nominee. None of them are emotionally connected to her, but to the party.

AllenS said...

Hillary is not qualified to be President. If you don't believe me, let Michelle Obama
tell you why.

MayBee said...

The most qualified to ever run for President line has been so embarrassing. Such an obvious push, but I don't know any normal people who have adopted it.

PB said...

Hillary has disqualified herself and I cannot under any circumstances vote for an individual who will further degrade the rule of law.

mockturtle said...

I guess I'd have to agree with Buckley. And it wouldn't be the first time.

bagoh20 said...

Even with this election offering up such a different set of choices than usual, it looks like it will still end up very close in result to all other recent elections. The electorate has not been clear since Reagan, and when they are, it's usually in favor of the Republican. I like when we are clear, or "unified" if you like.

Cacimbo Cacimbo said...

This is a classic example of how polls are used to shape rather than reflect opinion. As has been pointed out both candidates are "qualified" to be President, the real question is will they be good at the job. Because Trump does not have political experience this question is posed first by pollsters in the hopes it ferments doubt in the minds of the undecideds. Then when asked how they lean - they will respond Hillary. BS questions like this are designed to lead voters where the pollster wants to go. That is why public polls results vary so greatly from private polls that just straight forwardly ask who are you voting for.

Paco Wové said...

"People now understand the difference between experience and accomplishment."

Sorry, I think you've got some wishful thinking going on there.

Darrell said...

Hillary is qualified to stand trial. At least that's what she says.

rhhardin said...

Qualitied women means affirmative action hires. Nobody hears about qualified men.

gilbar said...

"The required "qualifications" are that the candidate be a native born citizen, 35 years or more of age, and that the majority of the electors of the Electoral College vote for him (and his party)."

yes, but: the 25h amendment states that once you are Dead, you are no longer qualified to be president.

Robert Cook said...

Everything depends on how one understands or defines what qualifies one to be President. If one adheres strictly to the requirements stipulated in the Constitution, both qualify. If one also considers matter of character, intellect, temperament, integrity, etc., (which one should), the matter requires more deliberation.

In my view, neither of them is qualified to be President.

Robert Cook said...

"Hillary has disqualified herself and I cannot under any circumstances vote for an individual who will further degrade the rule of law."

Oh, whoever wins will degrade the rule of law.

Unknown said...

It is shocking that we have come so far in our country that only a lifelong professional politician is "qualified" for potus. Trump is imminently qualified by his work and his longtime international relationships.

clint said...

"Hagar said...
What can turn this election into a rout, is that something happens somewhere in the world that makes people think the United States has been incompetently managed by the party in power."

At this point, though, what would it take?

An ambassador killed on foreign soil? A string of bombings and stabbings perpetrated by muslim immigrants and their children? American troops attacked with chemical weapons? Race riots in our streets? An EPA causing more environmental damage than any of the corporations it watches over? Detroit? Chicago? An FBI that won't prosecute the politically well-connected? An IRS that attacks the president's political opponents? A President who spends billions without Congressional authorization but shuts down national parks as a publicity stunt? The creation of ISIS from nothing, on America's watch, in the vacuum left by America and with the weapons *we* sent them?

Seriously -- barring another 9/11 I'd say all of that is already baked in to the numbers.

hombre said...

Ridiculous! It's the mediaswine pushing the notion that only a professional politician is qualified to be POTUS. People here continue to buy the codswollop fed to them by the discredited news media. Pathetic.

Particularly, Hillary was an undistinguished Senator and a spectacularly inept Sec. of State. Trump is apparently a highly effective business executive. So a failed politician is more qualified than a successful businessman?

Small wonder the country is toast.

mikee said...

How do serious and serial failures as a spouse, as a US Senator, and as Secretary of State create qualifications for the Presidency?

Sure, there was that little problem with the assassin, but other than that, wasn't the play at Ford's Theater a pretty darn good night out, Mrs. Lincoln?

Rhythm and Balls said...

Trump says he'll support my self-interest, dastardly hetero white male that I am.

Which is what, exactly?

Let me break the news to you: He's not going to make assholes more likable - no matter how much he acts like one, himself. As powerful as you think he is, he still can't do that.

And I hope that Hillary won't make bitches more likable, either. Although I worry I may be wrong.

Leora said...

I did notice that only 23% of respondents were Republicans compared to 29% of registered voters. I wonder how that happens.

James Pawlak said...

18 U.S. Code § 2071 - Concealment, removal, or mutilation >>>

(a)
Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
(b)
Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 795; Pub. L. 101–510, div. A, title V, § 552(a), Nov. 5, 1990, 104 Stat. 1566; Pub. L. 103–322, title XXXIII, § 330016(1)(I), Sept. 13, 1994,108 Stat. 2147.)

QUESTION: Does the last section noted require “intent”?

Christy said...

I remember Executive experience was much discussed in the last two presidential elections. Obama, laughably, claimed superiority his 1st election because he ran a better campaign. Romney failed to convince voters his executive experience was valuable last time. Do campaign managers discount the entire concept now?

DavidD said...

A lack of experience didn't seem to count for much 8 years ago.

Anonymous said...

The word "qualified" when attached to the word President is completely vacuous. It is only used at all by the MSM to argue for Hillary.

After Obama how does one even measure that? No Democrat can ever argue about being qualified after they voted twice for a zero from Chicago who never had a job in his life and has done nothing but harm to America because he hates America.

That is the only real qualification: Does one love America?

On thta score Trump is eminently qualified and Hillary is the most unqualified.

Period. End of story. The rest is idle chatter meant to distract from the main points.

Lee said...

The whole debate about presidential qualifications is overblown.

The U.S. Constitution says a qualified candidate is 35 years old, an American citizen ("natural born"), and a resident of America for fourteen years.

That's it.

Now, we as voters add other qualifications as we see fit. But those qualifications only count toward who we will vote for, not who may serve. George Washington was a farmer. So was Calvin Coolidge. So was Jimmy Carter. Harry Truman was a shopkeeper. Ronald Reagan was an actor. Woodrow Wilson was an academic. None of them were qualified in the sense that the Hillary claque speaks of when they talk about qualifications.

If you believe a wonkish command of facts and intricate knowledge of the way Washington works is a qualification, then it is one, for you.

Personally, the qualifications I set are as follows: must love this country he plans to help govern; must respect the U.S. Constitution and uphold it to the best of his/her ability; must be someone of unimpeachable character; must possess good judgment; and though he/she must be judicious with the use of power, he/she should never take counsel of their fears.

And to clarify: respect for the U.S. Constitution and its amendments means respect for what the Framers believed it meant and what the states believed they were ratifying. And that, IMO, means I require a conservative. Respect for the Constitution for what it says, not for what it has been twisted to become.

By my qualifications, Trump does not meet all of them, but Hillary doesn't meet any of them. Sometimes you are forced to hire someone who isn't qualified, and hope for the best.

If Hillary can name the president of Kyrghizistan and Trump can't, bully for her. But wonks are a dime a dozen. Hire as many as you need. But not for the top job.

protestmanager said...

I'm guessing the 5% come from people who realize that Hillary is far less qualified than the unqualified Trump.

At least Trump hasn't gotten people killed with an illegal email system that shared classified US data with our foreign enemies.