Did the Killing of George Floyd and the Immediate Potests Hurt Trump?

June 7, 2020

“Tragedy is a tool for the living to gain wisdom, not a guide by which to live.” -Robert F. Kennedy.

After the horrific killing of George Floyd was broadcast on TV around the world along with the immediate protests throughout the country, I felt sick to my stomach.

But as the days past and I watched as both Black and White Americans mourning together for the first time in my lifetime, I realized that how this tragedy could have planted a seed that could change our nation for the better.

We are in the final months of what will probably become the most historic presidential race in the nation’s history, and I’m wondering what else could happen. My immediate reaction to all of these events, Covid-19, a wrongful death and protests by thousands of citizens standing in the bright light of the White House demanding change, is it will undoubtedly effect the election in November.

That impression starts with what effect the latest events, particularly the murder of George Floyd and the ensuing protests, will have for Donald Trump’s reelection. Specifically, will the fallout from all these events affect his immediate poll ratings.

In this quest, I gathered Trump Job Approval polls prior the death of Mr. Floyd and those polls following his death. My hypothesis is that the his death and the protests that followed will have a negative effect on these later polls. But to be clear, even if there is significant negative effect it doesn’t mean it won’t fade by the time we reach November.

I collected 24 public polls, 12 prior to Mr. Floyd’s death and 12 immediately following the May 25th killing. The dates of the prior surveys are from May 1st through May 23rd and after the killing, May 28th through June 4th.

The average job approval ratings for the prior event polls were 45 approve and 52 disapprove, a negative 7%. The average job approval ratings after Mr. Floyd’s death were 44% approve and 48% disapprove, a 4% difference.

Trump’s disapproval is four percent more and his approval is only one percent less after the killing. To determine if the differences are significant, I used Analysis of the Variance (ANOVA). This a statistical model to determine if two groups are statistically different.

The ANOVA comparison of both polling data prior and after the event is not significant, meaning that Trump’s job approval is statistically the same before and after the death of Mr. Floyd and the ensuing protests.

It is possible that as all of these events sinks in, voters will react more negatively, but for now, in the immediate aftermath of the murder and protests, it has changed no minds about Donald Trump as President.

Since his ratings were negative to begin with, it could have softened the impact of these latest events. In addition, I have found that the Trump’s base is unwavering about his performance regardless of what he does are says.

All of these recent events have made the upcoming election even more important. With or without the Covid virus, this country needs to turnout and cast their vote in November. Don’t complain about who was elected for the next four years, after the votes are cast, if your only participation was watching the vote count on TV. Be safe and vote…

By Jim Kane

Jim Kane is a pollster and media advisor, and was for fifteen years an Adjunct Professor of Political Science at the University of Florida. Kane is founder of the polling firm USAPoll and served as the Director of the Florida Voter Poll. His political clients have included both Republican and Democratic candidates, including the Republican Party of Florida, and both the Sun-Sentinel and Orlando Sentinel newspapers. At the University of Florida, Professor Kane taught graduate level courses in political science on Survey Research, Lobbying and Special Interest Groups in America, Political Campaigning, and Political Behavior. In addition to his professional and academic career, Jim Kane has been actively involved in local and state policy decisions. He was elected to the Broward County Soil and Water Conservation Board (1978-1982) and the Port Everglades Authority (1988-1994). Kane also served as an appointed member of the Broward County Planning Council (1995-2003), Broward County Management Review Committee (Chair, 1990-1991), Broward County Consumer Protection Board (1976-1982), and the Broward County School Board Consultants Review Committee (1986-1990).

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