Most People Don't Approve Of Trump — & He's Not Even President Yet

Photo: Seth Wenig/AP/REX/Shutterstock.
Donald Trump will be inaugurated on Friday with an approval rating of 40%, which is the lowest of any president in recent history, CNN reported. According to a new CNN/ORC poll, it's 44 points below that of President Barack Obama, who took oath in 2009 with an 84% rating. In December 1992, 67% approved of Bill Clinton, and 61% approved of George W. Bush in January 2001, just before he took office.

It's also a low number in the larger scope of history, as data from The American Presidency Project at the University of California, Santa Barbara shows. The project tracks presidential job approval going back to FDR in 1941, and no other president has inspired so little confidence pre-inauguration (although Truman and Nixon's ratings dipped into the 20s toward the ends of their terms). Historically, presidents enjoy relatively high approval ratings at the outset — and watch them ebb and flow. Even Nixon started with 59%, though he ended with 24%, largely due to the Watergate scandal.

According to the CNN/ORC poll, it's Trump's uneven handling of the transition that has people most concerned. About 53% say the president-elect's conduct since the election has made them less confident in his ability to lead the country. Respondents are evenly split on whether he will be a good or bad president, with 48% holding each opinion.

Trump, predictably, slammed the findings on Twitter: "The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before."

The poll supports what many of us knew before Election Day — that there are deep divisions in the country between urban and rural voters, as well as based on gender, race, and education level. Rural residents approve of Trump's handling of the transition by almost 30 points over city dwellers, men by 20 points over women, whites by 20 points over non-whites, and white people without college degrees by 13 points over those with bachelor's.

The results also suggest that many people don't know how to feel about Melania Trump — 36% respond favorably to her, 35% unfavorably, and a whole 28% are unsure. About 67% say they expect her role to continue being a largely private one, focusing on being a wife and mother rather than an advocate for social issues as Michelle Obama has been.

Ivanka Trump, with her more prominent public image, has a 44% favorable impression, with 33% disapproving and 23% saying they're unsure.

The CNN/ORC Poll was conducted by phone between January 12 and 15 among a random U.S. sample of 1,000 adults.
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