Donald Trump Polls: Approval Rating Remains Low, but Inauguration Speech Draws Positive Reactions

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President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House on January 24, 2017. (Getty)

Donald Trump is the least popular new president in modern American history, scoring the lowest post-inauguration approval rating of any president in over 60 years, but a plurality of Americans still had a positive reaction to his inaugural address.

In a new poll from Gallup released this week, 45 percent of Americans approve of the job the new president is doing and 45 percent disapprove. Never in Gallup’s history has a new president ever scored lower than a 50 percent job approval rating during his first week in office.

The percentage of Americans who disapprove of the job Trump is doing is also much higher than usual. In January 1981, for instance, 51 percent of Americans approved of the job President Ronald Reagan was doing, which was a comparatively low number. But only 13 percent of those polled disapproved of the job he was doing; another 36 percent said they simply had no opinion either way. This year, only 10 percent of those polled said they have no opinion.

This all means that Trump’s disapproval rating is 20 points higher than any president going back to Dwight Eisenhower; previously, the president who had the highest disapproval rating coming into office was George W. Bush, as 25 percent of Americans disapproved of the job he was doing in early February 2001.

However, Trump’s inauguration speech actually went over fairly well with Americans. According to a poll released on Wednesday from POLITICO/Morning Consult, 49 percent of respondents said the speech was excellent or good, while 23 percent said it was poor and 16 percent said it was fair. And although the media narrative last week was that the speech was excessively dark, those polled did not agree, with 51 percent describing the speech as optimistic. Forty-six percent of respondents said it was presidential, and 44 percent said it was inspiring.

Gallup found a similar result, with a plurality of those polled – 39 percent – saying they felt more hopeful after listening to the speech than they were before, while 30 percent said they were less hopeful and 30 percent said it made no difference at all. That’s actually a higher number than in 2013, when 37 percent of respondents said they felt more hopeful after President Obama’s inauguration speech. However, it’s much lower than in 2009, when 62 percent felt more hopeful after Obama’s first inaugural address.

That Gallup poll also shows that Democrats had a much more negative reaction to President Trump’s inaugural speech than Republicans had to Barack Obama’s. Fifty-six percent of Democrats said they were less hopeful after listening to Donald Trump’s inaugural address, while only 26 percent of Republicans said that in 2009.

In the days after the election, as hundreds of thousands of women protested President Trump around the world and in Washington, D.C., the Trump administration falsely claimed that the 2017 inauguration was the most well attended in history, and that falsehood seems to have caught on. Though Trump’s team never directly asserted this, 26 percent of those polled by POLITICO/Morning Consult this week said they believed more people attended Trump’s inauguration than the Women’s March on Washington.

Americans’ negative feelings of President Trump do not extend to members of his family, as Melania Trump and Ivanka Trump are relatively popular. The POLITICO/Morning Consult poll showed that 47 percent of voters have a positive opinion of the first lady, while 32 percent have an unfavorable opinion of her. Fifty-one percent of voters said they want Melania to play an active role in the administration. When it comes to the first daughter, 49 percent of Americans have a favorable view of Ivanka Trump, while 30 percent have an unfavorable view.

In Russia, Donald Trump’s approval rating is significantly higher than it is in the United States. According to Fortune, a new survey conducted by a state-backed pollster in Russia shows that 70 percent of Russians think Donald Trump will be a competent head of state; forty percent said they have high expectations of him, and only 4 percent said he will be a bad president.

Another new poll from Gallup shows that Americans are divided about if they will be better or worse off after a Trump presidency, but respondents leaned towards the positive. Forty-eight percent of those polled said that the U.S. will be better off in 2020, while 46 percent said it will be worse off. Almost all Republicans polled – 85 percent – said America will be better off, and almost all Democrats polled – 79 percent – said America will be worse off. The answer to that question isn’t always as partisan as it is this year; in January 2009, a majority of Republicans – 52 percent – said that America would be better off after four years under President Barack Obama.


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