A series of new polls shows that Donald Trump has the lowest approval rating of any president-elect in modern American history, although Trump insists that these polls are “phony” and “rigged.”
On Twitter this morning, Trump said that the newest approval rating polls are rigged just like the polls were during the presidential election. Trump repeatedly said throughout his campaign that the polls were wrong, sometimes implying that pollsters flat out made up the numbers, and he considered his victory to be a validation of that belief. But on a national level, the election polls last year were actually not that far off. Heading into November 8th, Real Clear Politics’ polling average had Clinton ahead of Trump 46.8 percent to 43.6 percent. When the popular votes were tallied, Clinton ended up beating Trump 48.2 percent to 46.1 percent, and so the polls were off by 1.1 percentage points. The polls were less accurate in some of the rust belt states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, but even there, the polling showed a somewhat tight race. Hillary Clinton was expected to win Pennsylvania, for instance, yet before the election, Clinton only lead Trump in the polls there by 2.1 percentage points.
One of the new polls that Trump is angry about comes from CNN/ORC, and it shows that the president-elect has an approval rating of just 40 percent. That means his approval rating is over 40 points lower than Barack Obama’s was at this time in 2009; Obama had an 84 percent approval rating heading into his inauguration. Even George W. Bush, who became president after a highly contentious election where the outcome dragged on for a month, still had a 61 percent approval rating when he became president.
Trump’s approval rating received a significant bump immediately following the election, rising from 36 percent favorable in October to 47 percent favorable in late November. But now it appears that Trump’s favorability is falling back to where it was during the election. His approval rating in this CNN poll is just slightly higher than it was in a poll released last week; his approval rating in a recent Quinnipiac poll was 37 percent.
Most Americans tend to have a honeymoon phase with a new president, but Trump’s did not last long. Over half of Americans – 53 percent – told CNN/ORC that they’re less confident in Trump’s ability to be president based on the way he has handled his transition. For comparison, in December 2000, 54 percent of Americans said they were more confident in George W. Bush’s ability to be president based on his transition, and 53 percent of Americans said that about Bill Clinton in 1992.
When asked to describe how Trump will be as president, 32 percent of those polled said he will be “very poor.” Twenty-four percent said he will be “fairly good,” 24 percent said he will be “very good,” and 16 percent said he will be “fairly poor.” In general, though, Americans are somewhat optimistic about Trump’s ability to handle the economy. A plurality of those polled – 32 percent – said it is “very likely” that Trump will create good paying jobs in economically-challenged areas. However, 57 percent said it’s not likely that he will defeat ISIS, 55 percent said it’s not likely he will build a wall, and 71 percent said it’s not likely he will get Mexico to pay for a border wall.
Americans are split about whether Trump’s policies will take the country in the right or wrong direction. Forty-nine percent said Trump will take the nation in the wrong direction, but 48 percent said he’ll take it in the right direction.
Finally, on the topic of Russia, 32 percent of voters said it’s somewhat likely Russia attempted to influence the election, while 19 percent said it’s very likely and 24 percent said it’s extremely likely. Only 13 percent said it’s not too likely, and 11 percent said it’s not likely at all. However, 58 percent of those polled said that the election result would have been the same regardless of what Russia did.
Another roll released this week comes from ABC News/The Washington Post, and it shows that only 40 percent of Americans see Trump favorably, while 54 percent see him unfavorably. For comparison, Ronald Reagan entered office with only 9 percent of Americans having an unfavorable opinion of him. Forty percentage of voters also said that they approve of the way Trump has handled his transition and that they approve of Trump’s cabinet choices.
Still, the poll showed a fair amount of support for at least a few of Donald Trump’s campaign promises. Seventy-two percent of Americans are in favor of deporting undocumented immigrants who have committed crimes. Also, 57 percent are in favor of renegotiating NAFTA, and 53 percent want Trump to punish companies that move jobs overseas. Americans are more split on Obamacare, with 46 percent saying it should be repealed and 47 percent saying it should not be repealed. In addition, 37 percent favor building a wall along the southern border, 37 favor withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal, and 32 percent want to ban Muslims (who aren’t U.S. citizens) from entering the United States.
The ABC News/Washington Post also found that two-thirds of Americans think Russia was behind the hacking of the Democratic National Committee, and 43 percent say Trump is too friendly towards Russia.