The White House has a spelling problem.
From press releases to inauguration posters to tweets from President Donald Trump himself, an alarming number of the White House’s official communications contain typographical errors and spelling mistakes.
While it may sound like the type of thing only pedants and grammar snobs would be concerned with, new polling data reveals that the White House’s bad spelling is hurting its image with voters.
In a SurveyMonkey poll released Sunday, 84% of respondents said they would be less likely to trust the government if its communications contained spelling or grammatical mistakes. Additionally, 74% of respondents said they would be less likely to trust that a politician is doing a good job leading the country if their social media posts contain such errors.
The poll surveyed 1,043 people from across the United States, 34% of whom considered themselves Democrats, 22% Republicans, 35% Independents, and 8% who chose “other.”
Respondents were also asked to evaluate a series of tweets published by Trump, each of which contained a spelling mistake. The results suggested widespread disapproval of his spelling.
An infamous tweet from December in which Trump described an “unpresidented” act by China made 71% of respondents less confident in Trump’s ability to do his job.
That number shot up to 76% when they were shown one of Trump’s tweets accusing Barack Obama of wiretapping his office — Trump spelled it “tapp.”
The least inspiring tweet was one typo-ridden post from January in which Trump misspelled the words “the” and “has.” The tweet made 80% of respondents less confident in Trump’s ability to do his job, including a whopping 92% of Democrats and 68% of Republicans.
A fourth tweet, in which Trump said he was “honered” to serve the American people, fared only marginally better, making 67% of respondents less confident.
Meanwhile, after being shown a White House Snapchat post from April labelling Betsy DeVos the Secretary of “Educatuon,” 81% of respondents said they were less confident the White House “can fulfil its mission.”
Democratic respondents tended to react more negatively to the spelling errors than their Republican counterparts, but not by much — more than 50% of Republicans expressed disapproval in almost every case.
Respondents were also asked an open-ended question: “When you see a typo in official communications, what thoughts come to mind?” Common answers included “incompetent,” “lazy,” “careless,” and “unprofessional.”
The results of the survey demonstrate one possible consequence of Trump’s shoot-from-the-hip style of governing, which has simultaneously endeared him to his supporters and resulted in embarrassing, avoidable errors to the public at large.
Little scientific research has been conducted on how incorrect spelling can damage one’s political approval. But Sunday’s poll suggests that if nothing else, it certainly doesn’t help.
View the full survey results here »
More from Mark Abadi:
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How low has President Obama gone to tapp my phones during the very sacred election process. This is Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 4, 2017
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