Trump’s Approval Numbers not Very Approving
Donald Trump will become president Friday with an approval rating of just 40%, according to a new CNN/ORC Poll, the lowest of any recent president and 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, the 44th president.
Following a tumultuous transition period, approval ratings for Trump’s handling of the transition are more than 20 points below those for any of his three most recent predecessors. Obama took the oath in 2009 with an 84% approval rating, 67% approved of Clinton’s transition as of late December 1992 and 61% approved of George W. Bush’s transition just before he took office in January 2001.
Trump’s wobbly handling of the presidential transition has left most Americans with growing doubts that the President-elect will be able to handle the job. About 53% say Trump’s statements and actions since Election Day have made them less confident in his ability to handle the presidency, and the public is split evenly on whether Trump will be a good or poor president (48% on each side).
I think numbers such as this have to be taken into account when assessing exactly what the Trump victory may or may not mean about the state of the US population. These numbers show polarization (he is not getting the benefit of the doubt from a chunk of opposition voters that most incoming president, even Bush in 2001, received). They also show that some of his own co-partisans are not on board.
For those of us who criticize the electoral college, this is further evidence of the deep flaws exposed in that institution exposed by the 2016 election. It has produced an incoming president who does not even command 50% approval the week he is to be sworn in. Given that he hasn’t done any actual governing yet, he should be at the height of his popularity, since he technically hasn’t had the chance to do anything to start losing the goodwill of the public as yet.
I think, too, it may be that some persons who incorrectly believed Trump would start acting more presidential once elected are learning how wrong they were to harbor such false hopes.