As End Of First Hundred Days Nears, Trump’s Job Approval Continues To Slump
As he nears the end of his first 100 days in office, President Trump continues to suffer from bad poll numbers.
Heading into the final week of the President’s first 100 days in office, and a week in which Congress will be asked to deal with both trying to avoid a government shutdown on Friday and simultaneously pass a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, two new polls show that President Trump continues to receive poor marks for his Presidency and that his job approval remains at historically low levels for an incoming President.
President Trump nears the 100-day mark of his administration as the least popular chief executive in modern times, a president whose voters remain largely satisfied with his performance, but one whose base of support has not expanded since he took the oath of office, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Trump’s first months in office have produced some tangible successes. Beyond the continued enthusiasm of his most loyal supporters, a small majority of Americans see him as a strong leader. A bigger majority approves of his efforts to pressure U.S. companies to keep jobs in this country. Those who say the economy is getting better outnumber those who say it’s getting worse by the biggest margin in 15 years in Post-ABC polling.
But the president’s balance sheet overall tilts toward the negative. Majorities of Americans say Trump has not accomplished much during his first months as president. Meanwhile, he shows little improvement on his temperament and honesty, and while he’s gained ground on empathy, over 6 in 10 still say he does not understand the problems of people like them.
With a week remaining before his 100th day in office, Trump has yet to achieve a major legislative accomplishment, having been dealt a major setback when Republicans in Congress decided not to proceed with a vote on a health-care bill supported by the White House. His clearest achievement is the successful nomination of Neil M. Gorsuch to the Supreme Court seat previously held by conservative Justice Antonin Scalia.
Executive actions on trade, immigration, climate and government organization have pointed the direction he wants to take the country, though his controversial proposed travel ban that affects a number of Muslim-majority nations remains blocked by the courts. Trump and others in his administration have attacked the courts, accusing them of overreach, but nearly 6 in 10 people see their actions as a legitimate role for the judicial branch.
Overseas, he has demonstrated his willingness to use military force, with targeted strikes in Syria and the use of one of the biggest non-nuclear devices in the U.S. arsenal in Afghanistan. But tensions with North Korea remain high and the administration’s policy in the Middle East remains cloudy.
The president’s approval rating stands at 42 percent, the lowest recorded at this stage of a presidency dating to Dwight Eisenhower. Trump’s 53 percent disapproval rating is 14 percentage points higher than Bill Clinton’s 39 percent disapproval in April 1993, the worst before Trump. Eight years ago, then-president Barack Obama’s approval was 69 percent, his disapproval 26 percent.
The Post-ABC poll finds 43 percent of Americans said they strongly disapprove of Trump’s performance. That’s also the worst by far of any president since George H.W. Bush by more than double. In the spring of 1993, 21 percent said they strongly disapproved of Clinton’s performance.
Americans split at 35 percent apiece on whether Trump is doing a better or worse job than expected, with the rest saying he’s neither above nor below their expectations.
There are no signs of major slippage in support among those who voted for Trump. His approval rating among those who cast ballots for him stands at 94 percent. Among Republicans, it is 84 percent. Asked of those who voted for him whether they regret doing so, 2 percent say they do, while 96 percent say supporting Trump was the right thing to do.When asked if they would vote for him again, 96 percent say they would, which is higher than the 85 percent of Hillary Clinton voters who say they would support her again.
Trump is also satisfying the substantial share of the electorate that voted for him with some reservation. Among Trump voters who say they were “somewhat enthusiastic” or less excited about supporting him, 88 percent approve of his current performance and 79 percent say he understands the problems of people like them.
Bill Clinton also had a rocky start to his presidency, which colored public judgments of his presidency by the 100-day mark. Although just 42 percent say Trump has accomplished either a great deal or a good amount so far, that is slightly higher than the 37 percent who said the same about Clinton in 1993.
Similarly, judgments on whether campaign promises have been kept put Trump on about equal footing with Bill Clinton — 44 percent and 42 percent respectively. Also, Trump’s 53 percent positive rating on strong leadership is almost identical to that of George W. Bush’s at this point in his presidency, but much lower than Obama’s 77 percent rating.
Of those who say Trump has not accomplished much, 47 percent pin the blame on him while about a quarter blame congressional Republicans. Only 7 percent say Democrats are to blame.
One of Trump’s biggest deficiencies compared with other presidents is whether he is honest and trustworthy. Fewer than 4 in 10 (38 percent) say he is. At this point in their presidencies, 74 percent said Obama was honest, 62 percent said George W. Bush was honest and a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll showed 61 percent said Clinton was honest.
Another gap is on the question of whether Trump can be trusted in a crisis. The poll finds that 43 percent — about the same as Trump’s approval rating — say he can be trusted; 73 percent said so for Obama and 65 percent for George W. Bush at this point in their presidencies.
On the specific question of how Trump has dealt with North Korea, 46 percent say he has been about right in his posture, 37 percent say he is too aggressive and just 7 percent say he is too cautious.
On most questions about his performance or characteristics, Trump receives more negative than positive ratings. The most notable exception is his effort to pressure U.S. companies on the issues of keeping jobs at home, where 73 percent of Americans approve, including 54 percent of Democrats.
Trump has net negative ratings on such questions as temperament — just as he did during the campaign — as well as on judgment to serve as president, and on whether he operates from a consistent set of principles. He has said he likes to be unpredictable.
Half disapprove of the major changes he has proposed for government spending, while nearly 6 in 10 say he is out of touch with the concerns of most people. But on this question, the public is even harsher in judging the Republican Party and the Democratic Party.
Democrats have lost considerable ground on this front. The 28 percent who say the party is in touch with concerns of most Americans is down from 48 percent in 2014 and the biggest drop is among self-identified Democrats, from 83 percent saying they are in touch to just 52 percent today. That is a reminder that whatever challenges Trump is having, Democrats, for all the energy apparent at the grass roots, have their own problems.
The numbers are just as bad in the new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans give President Donald Trump poor or middling marks for his first 100 days in office, including a plurality who say he’s off to a “poor start,” according to results from a brand-new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.
Forty-five percent of respondents in the survey believe Trump is off to a poor start, with an additional 19 percent who say it’s been “only a fair start.” That’s compared with a combined 35 percent who think the president’s first three months in office have been either “good” or “great.”
Trump’s 100th day in office takes place on April 29.
By contrast, in the exact same question from April 2009 NBC/WSJ poll, 54 percent of Americans said that Barack Obama’s first 100 days had gotten off to either a good or great start, while 25 percent said they were fair, and 21 percent called them poor.
Trump’s overall job-approval rating stands at 40 percent — down four points from February. It’s the lowest job-approval rating for a new president at this 100-day stage in the history of the NBC/WSJ poll.
At this same point in time of their presidencies, Obama’s overall rating stood at 61 percent in the poll, George W. Bush’s was at 56 percent and Bill Clinton’s was at 52 percent.
By party, 82 percent of Republicans approve of Trump’s job, versus just 7 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of independents who give the president a thumbs-up.
Forty percent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of foreign policy, while 44 percent approve of his economic handling.
Asked if Trump’s first 100 days have been more effective or less effective than his predecessors’ starts, 44 percent said Trump’s beginning has been less effective, and 32 percent said it had been more effective; 22 percent said it’s been about as effective.
And 46 percent say that Trump’s leadership and plans for the country make them feel more hopeful, versus 52 percent who say they make them feel more doubtful.
That’s a significant departure from April 2009, when 64 percent of Americans said that Obama’s leadership and plans had made them feel more hopeful, while 30 percent were more doubtful.
The new NBC/WSJ poll also shows an erosion in some of Trump’s top perceived qualities, with 50 percent of respondents giving Trump high marks for being firm and decisive in his decision-making – down from the 57 percent who gave him high marks here in February.
Another 39 percent of Americans give him high marks for changing business as usual in Washington – down from 45 percent two months ago.
Thirty-nine percent give him high marks for being effective and getting things done – down from 46 percent who said this back in February.
And only 25 percent give him high marks for being honest and trustworthy – down from 34 percent.
Meanwhile, his standing is mostly unchanged when it comes to his perceived weaknesses: Just 27 percent give him high marks for being knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency, and only 21 percent give him high marks for having the right temperament.
Looking at the polling averages, Trump’s numbers haven’t really improved over the last several times we’ve looked at them. The RealClearPolitics average puts his Job Approval numbers at 42.2% approve and 51.3% disapprove, and while both numbers are slightly better than the highs and lows that they’ve seen since January 20th, they are still fairly bad and the trend indicates that they’re likely to either get worse or continue at this level for the foreseeable future. The Pollster average, which has yet to be updated to include these two new polls but includes all new polling through Friday, Trump’s approval stands at 43.1% while his disapproval stands at 52.0%. Breaking those numbers down along party lines, we continue to get predictable results from both Republicans and Democrats, with the first group overwhelming approving of Trump’s job performance and the second overwhelmingly disapproving. Among Independents, Trump does slightly worse than among the general public as a whole, with just 39.7% approving of the President’s job performance thus far while 52.9% disapprove.
Additionally, a look at the chart of the RealClearPolitics average shows the trend I was noting above. In this chart, you can also see that some of the recent positive developments of Trump’s Presidency, such as the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch and the military strike on Syria, have had at best only a minimal impact on the public’s perception of his Presidency:
Perhaps recognizing the fact that his standing with the public stands at the worst point of any President at this point in their Presidency since the end of World War Two, and the fact that he hasn’t really accomplished very much in his first 100 days and has suffered what can only be described as an embarrassing legislative failure during that period, Trump and his Administration have recently taken to undermine the importance of the benchmark. Both on Twitter and in other public statements, Trump and several of his associates have spent the last week or so dismissing the importance of the first 100 days as a media obsession. To some extent, of course, there is some truth in this statement. There is nothing really special about a President’s first 100 days in office, and the fact that it covers merely 6.85% of a President’s first term and 3,42% of a potential eight-year Presidency means that it really doesn’t provide one with a reliable indicator of how a President’s time in office is going to play out. Historically, of course, the measurement goes back to the first 100 days of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s first term, during which several major pieces of legislation were passed and FDR had enacted a number of landmark actions via Executive Order. Those were extraordinary times, though, and they came after FDR had one a historic landslide in the Election of 1932. Most President’s haven’t faced similar circumstances or had similar mandates, and many of them have stumbled for various reasons ranging from nominations that didn’t get through the Senate to the kind of missteps that are seemingly inevitable for a new Administration even when it’s staffed by experienced veterans. Despite those caveats, though, the measurement exists, and it’s worth nothing that Trump did use the “first 100 days” benchmark to back up many of the promises that he was making during the campaign. Based on that, it seems clear that, at least as far as the public is concerned, Trump’s first 100 days, which officially come to an end on Saturday, have been among the least productive and successful in American history. One might say that only William Henry Harrison, who died after thirty days in office, accomplished less. What that portends for the remaining 1,361 days of his first term is something only time will tell.