Over one month after Election Day, Americans are still as divided as ever about President-Elect Donald Trump.
A series of new polls show that a historically-low number of Americans approve of the way that Trump is handling his transition process, and the population doesn’t appear to be coming around to Trump the way they traditionally come around to a new president.
In particular, many have serious concerns over Trump’s cabinet, feeling he is too focused on the needs of the very rich after wining the presidency by appealing to the middle class. Also a concern for some is potential conflicts of interest that may arise depending on how Trump handles his relationship with his business going forward.
In general, though, Trump’s own supporters still feel very good about the new president, not indicating in any polls that they are unsatisfied with his transition into the White House.
Here are some of the most significant recent polls related to President-Elect Donald Trump.
Gallup: 48 Percent of Americans Approve of Transition Process
Less than half of Americans approve of the way that President-Elect Donald Trump is handling his transition process, according to a new Gallup poll released on Wednesday.
The poll finds that 48 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s transition, while the same number, 48 percent, do no approve. This is almost 20 points lower than any recent president-elect. In December 2008, 75 percent of Americans approved of Barack Obama’s transition. In January 2001, 65 percent of Americans approved of George W. Bush’s transition. And in December 1992, 67 percent of Americans approved of Bill Clinton’s transition.
This disparity is primarily due to the fact that Democrats are far more critical of Trump than they were of the most recent Republican president-elect. In January 2001, 46 percent of Democrats said they approved of the way that President-Elect Bush was handling his transition. In contrast, just 17 percent of Democrats say they approve of President-Elect Trump’s transition. Neither Barack Obama nor Bill Clinton had an approval rating that low among members of the opposition party; in 2008, 53 percent of Republicans said they approved of Obama’s transition, and in 1992, 50 percent of Republicans approved of Bill Clinton’s transition.
Trump also has a much lower approval rating among Independents than the four most recent presidents. Republicans are the only group of Americans who seem to be enthusiastically behind Trump, with 86 percent of them approving of the president-elect’s transition. That’s only a slight dip from 2001, when 93 percent of Republicans approved of President-Elect Bush’s transition.
This number may spell trouble for Trump because historically, a president almost always sees the peak of his approval rating during the transition, with that percentage dramatically declining once he actually takes office and begins to make policy decisions. If a 48 percent approval rating is Trump’s ceiling, Americans are in for a very divisive four years, and Trump is in for a tough re-election battle in 2020.
YouGov/Economist: Plurality Say Trump Is Too Focused on the Rich
President-Elect Donald Trump has been criticized for setting up a cabinet that consists of so many millionaires and billionaires, and a new poll from YouGov/Economist shows that many Americans think that Trump has been too focused on the needs of the rich while making these cabinet appointments.
The poll asked how much attention Trump is paying to the needs of specific groups of people in appointing his cabinet. A plurality of Americans, 45 percent, said that the president-elect is devoting too much attention to the needs of rich people throughout his transition process. Twenty-nine percent said he’s devoting the right amount to the rich, while eight percent said he’s devoting too little attention to them and 21 percent weren’t sure.
Meanwhile, a plurality of Americans, 44 percent, said that Trump is paying too little attention to the needs of the middle class. Thirty-three percent said he’s devoting the right amount of time to the middle class’ needs, five percent said he’s devoting too much time to them, and 18 percent weren’t sure.
Finally, nearly half of all Americans, 49 percent, said that Trump is not paying enough attention to the needs of poor people.
But this is not really a feeling shared by those who voted for Donald Trump on November 8th. A plurality of all Trump voters said that the president-elect is devoting the right amount of time to rich people, middle class people, poor people, Wall Street, small businesses, working people, and people like them. The biggest concern among Trump voters was that the president-elect may be devoting too much time to rich people’s needs, but only 15 percent of them identified that as a concern.
Finally, this YouGov/Economist poll found that Trump voters are far more likely to see Russia in a positive light than voters in general. Twenty-one percent of all Americans said that Russia is a friend of the United States, but 28 percent of Trump voters said the same thing. Also, 21 percent of all Americans have a favorable opinion of Vladimir Putin, but 35 percent of Trump voters have a favorable opinion of the Russian president.
Morning Consult/Politico: Majority Say Trump’s Business Will Influence His Decision Making
A poll released this week from Morning Consult/Politico shows that most Americans are concerned about Donald Trump’s business getting in the way of his decision making when he becomes president of the United States.
When asked how much Trump’s business interests will influence his decision making as president, 52 percent of those polled said “a lot” and 29 percent said “some.” Only eight percent said his business won’t influence his decisions at all. However, not all voters necessarily see this as a negative. Forty-four percent of those polled said that Trump being influenced by his business interests is a bad thing, but 39 percent said it’s a good thing.
Meanwhile, 57 percent of voters said it’s very important to them that Trump remove himself from his business before becoming president, while 22 percent said it’s somewhat important, 10 percent said it’s not too important, and 5 percent said it’s not important at all.
This poll also found that almost all Americans have a negative view of where the country is headed, with 70 percent saying the country is off on the wrong track.
Finally, Rex Tillerson, Donald Trump’s pick of secretary of state, has a fresh start with many Americans, who had not heard of him when this poll was taken, from December 8th through the 11th. A plurality of those polled, 31 percent, said they have never heard of Rex Tillerson. Sixteen percent said they’ve heard of him but have no opinion. Of those who did have an opinion, 21 percent said their opinion is very unfavorable, 11 percent said it’s somewhat unfavorable, 13 percent said it’s somewhat favorable and eight percent said it’s very favorable.