Trump’s Brand Positioning One Year In

Tom H. C. Anderson
January 29th, 2018

State of The POTUS – Text Analytics Reveals the Reasons Behind Trumps Approval Ratings

Over the past few weeks we’ve heard political pundits on all major news networks chime in on how Trump is doing one year after taking office. Part of the discussion is around what he has and hasn’t done, but an even bigger part continues to be about how he is perceived, both domestically and abroad, and some very grim opinion/approval polling is available. Many polls  have Trump as the President with the lowest approval ratings in history.

Sadly, Political Polling, including approval ratings, tells us absolutely nothing about the underlying causes for the ratings. Therefore, I thought I’d share our findings in this area. Utilizing our text analytics software, OdinText, we have been tracking not just sentiment related to Trump, but more importantly, the positioning of 40+ topics/themes that are important predictors of the sentiment.. In the brief analysis below, I will not have time to go into each of the attributes we have identified as important drivers, I will focus on a few of the areas which have seen the most change for Trump during the past year.

How has the opinion of Trump changed in the minds of the American people?

By looking at Trump’s positioning just before he took office (with all the campaign positioning fresh in the minds of the people), and comparing it to half a year into his office, and again now a full year into office, we can get a good idea about the impact various issues have on approval ratings and even more importantly, positioning.

Let’s start by looking back to just before he was elected. OdinText’s Ai uncovered the 15 most significant changes in perception since just before Trump won the election and now. Trump has fallen on 11 of these attributes and increased on 4.

Trump Pre Election Positioning VS One Year In

If we compare Trump just before the election VS Trump today, we several key differences. More recently four themes have become more important in terms of describing what Trump stands for in the minds of Americans when we include everyone (both those who like and dislike him). These newer positions are “Less Regulation”, “Healthcare Reform”, “Money/Greed”, and “Dishonesty”. Interestingly, text analytics reveals that one of the important issues seems to be changing, Trumps supporters are now more likely to be use the term “Healthcare Reform” rather than the previous “Repeal Obamacare”.

Other than the repeal of Obamacare issue, prior to the election, in the minds of Americans Trump was more likely to be associated with “Gun Rights”, “Honesty”, “Trade Deals”, “Change”, Supporting “Pro Life”, pro and con “Immigration” related issues including “The Wall”, and finally his slogan “MAGA” (Make America Great Again).

The decrease in relevance of many of these issues has to do with pre-election positioning, both by the Trump/Republican Party, as well as the Democrats Counter Positioning of him. After the election seemingly, some of these like ‘Gun Control’ have become less important for various reasons.

Five Months from Record Low

If we look at changes between this past Summer and now, there has been significantly less movement in terms of his positioning in American minds. He has seen a slight but significant bump in overall positive emotional sentiment/Joy, and the MAGA positioning as well as on Taxes, the economy, and The Wall, while also seeing a decrease in “Anger” and “Hate/Racism” which peaked this summer.

His lowest point so far in the minds of Americans was during the August 12th, 2017 White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville. Trump’s positioning as a Hate Monger was almost as high as the weekend before the election, while simultaneously positive emotional sentiment and ‘MAGA’ among his supporters was at an all time low.

Since the August low Trump does appear to have rebounded some, and while one year into office many believe the one thing Trump now stands for is himself, greed and money are a lesser evil in America than hate and racism.

It seems that one year into office, at least for now, the economy and tax cuts are giving Trump a bit of a bump back to pre-election levels in the minds of many Americans.

I’m not sure what the future holds in this case, but I hope you like me found some of the underlying reasons for his approval ratings of interest. These are after all more important than simple ratings, because these reasons are levers that can be changed to affect the final outcomes and positioning of any brand, including that of a POTUS.



[Note: Curious if OdinText’s new Ai can help you understand what drives your brands ratings? Request more info or early access to our brand new release here]

10 thoughts on “Trump’s Brand Positioning One Year In”

  1. Tom,
    There is an overt war going on for public perception; individual battles are waged on the media frontier. What would be interesting to me for a study like this is to understand the top 3 news/information sources that influence or shape respondents’ opinions. As well, the intensity/frequency of viewing/listening of each info source (hours/day).


    Our GREAT Country is over 240 years old and our founders wanted to create a Country for the People by the People. The United States of America is a Democratic Country, where the Freedom of its people is valued greatly.

    The Constitution
    We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common Defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

    We can say, the United States Democracy is not 100% perfect, but it is the absolute BEST of all other Democracies in existence on Planet Earth.

    Presidents of the United States
    The United States had 44 Presidents, before Trump (#45) became President in 2017. One of the 44 Presidents were 100% perfect, but all valued the Office of the President and always put Country before Party, all supported the important Governmental institutions created for maintaining law and order and keeping citizens safe. All of the 44 past Presidents, once in Office tried to be the President of all the People.

    But then came #45 and TRUMP. He claimed he was a businessman and his only focus when President would be to Make America Great Again.

    It can be fairly and honestly said, #45 TRUMP is the absolute worst President in USA history. During the first 365 days in office #45 TRUMP has told over 2025 lies, which translates to 5.6 lies per day. #45 TRUMP is the most illiterate President, the most unsuccessful business man with dozens of bankruptcies, scandalous marriages and a known sexual harasser.

    During the first 265 days on Office of #45 TRUMP, he has ruined the image of the United States of America on the Global Stage. He has through ignorance cancelled global trade agreements, which will diminish the USA standing in the world as the number one Nation and promote China into this position.

    The environmental ignorance displayed by #45 TRUMP, will cause major damage around the world.

    In the USA, because of #45 TRUMP greed, he will destroy our children’s opportunity to admire and value Nature, by diminishing National Parks, permitting drilling for oil in nature reserves and on our Nations coastlines. His greatest ignorance was witnessed by cancelling the clean air act by taking America out of the Paris accords.

    It is a crime, for a USA Citizen to be involved in money laundering with Foreigners. The Independent Counsel Robert Mueller, has already two #45 TRUMP campaign operatives under Indictment for money laundering and other felony charges concerning the TRUMP campaign and the RUSSIANS.

    The last and most worrying actions of #45 TRUMP, is that TRUMP is an illegitimate President, because he only became President with the assistance of the RUSSIAN Government infiltrated our USA Elections, by falsifying facts.

    It is a crime to have a foreign Government interfere with USA Elections. It is TREASON, for an American to collude and assist a foreign Government to interfere with USA Elections.

    It is a crime for a President to obstruct justice and Mueller has sufficient evidence to prove #45 TRUMP is very guilty of obstruction of justice.

    Like ALL Dictators in BANANA REPUBLICS, as soon as they feel the Rule of Law, will prosecute them, they turn on the Governmental institutions with the aim of trashing them. This is what #45 TRUMP is doing now.

    At the same time, #45 TRUMP is mentally unstable, but he is as President of the UNITED STATES of America, still the most powerful person in the world, for at his side are 24/7 the Nuclear codes. So the climax of our human catastrophe on Planet Earth is, #45 TRUMP has been threatening to start a Nuclear War with North Korea. Yes, this is NOT fiction and experts predict, if #45 TRUMP is not controlled, he will start WORLD WAR III before the summer of 2018.

    When asked what is TRUMP’S BRAND POSITIONING ONE YEAR IN? ALL one can say, #45 TRUMP is supposed to be the President of the United States of America.

    Being a President, has nothing to do with being a BRAND of TOILET PAPER.

    The BASE VOTERS for #45 TRUMP are, poor, older white and uneducated Americans, who want a “WHITE” America, where all other ethnic groups are their servants. We ALL know, this will NEVER happen.

    Plus the flip side of a 33% approval rating by uneducated, poor, older white Americans, means that 67% of ALL other Americans HATE #45 TRUMP

  3. Interesting content Tom. It is helpful to see the underlying attributes relating to the overall sentiment. Can you share a summary of key demographics of the respondents – m/f, level of education, political affiliation, etc? Thanks.

  4. @Brad, Thanks, agree that would be interesting. Perhaps a future post…
    @Christian USA is a brand whether we like it or not, as certainly are the Democratic and GOP parties
    @Lesa, this is US Gen Pop

  5. Christian — I think you are on the wrong site to spew your personal opinions about the President.

  6. Tom, I am struck that there is no mention of the economy or Wall street. Is this because they were not originally put on the list, or no one voluntarily mentioned these items. The same on International affairs or the handling of North Korea.

  7. Tom, could you let us know the specific question that was used here? I assume it was the exact same wording for pre- and post-, but I could not find it….maybe I missed it? I just wanted to understand the context in which respondents mentioned the topics the software uncovered. Thanks!

  8. It is sad that the Internet and the consequent relative anonymity of sitting typing on a sterile screen, instead of saying something to another person’s face, frees some people to spew rancor comprehensively and vociferously. Like a person who disagreed with that position would suddenly one day say, “You know, he’s right!” and completely change their mind. There are only two possible responses (that is, after stopping reading in the second sentence): 1) Respond in kind, but from the other side, or 2) Name calling. There is probably a third, shrugging and moving on, but sadly there is no way to know how prevalent that is.

  9. He lost me at ” it is the absolute BEST of all other Democracies in existence on Planet Earth”. I guess I should delete it, as it has nothing to do with the research discussion.

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