President Trump

Donald Trump has now completed his first 100 days in office. It has been unlike the first 100 days of any presidency in modern memory.

The style in which Trump has decided to operate the White House and the executive branch looks to be different than any other new President we have experienced. The impact or effectiveness of his style cannot be judged this early in his tenure.

On his performance to date, Gallup found on April 25th that 39% of Americans approve his job performance and 56% disapprove. Below are his job ratings in Gallup on the first and 15th of each month.

Date Approval Disapproval
4/15/17 41% 53%
4/1/17 38% 57%
3/15/17 42% 53%
3/1/17 43% 51%
2/15/17 40% 54%
2/1/17 43% 52%

The following are some additional looks at his job performance.

APR 40/54 42/53 44/54 43/49 cbs xxx 35/57
MAR xxx xxx 45/52 40/52 cbs 43/51 37/56
FEB 44/48 xxx xxx 39/51 cbs 48/47 38/55
JAN xxx xxx 44/53 40/48 cbs xxx 36/44

As you will see below, Trump’s job approval rating by the public at large is the worst of any president going back to Richard Nixon.

Here are the initial job approval/disapproval numbers of the last ten presidents before Trump. (Numbers are from Gallup for all the presidents up to Clinton and from NBC/WSJ after that.)

  Approval – Beginning of first term
Eisenhower 73% (4/53)
Reagan 67% (4/81)
Carter 63% (4/77)
Obama 61%(4/09)
Nixon 61% (4/69)
George HW Bush 58% (4/89)
G W Bush 57% (4/01)
Clinton 52% (4/93)

My favorite pollster, Peter Hart, recently wrote the following in a memorandum related to the recent NBC/WSJ survey (4/17/17).

“….there is one thing I have always observed: if a president has a strong economy and conducts a successful military action, feelings and attitudes toward the chief executive improves. For the first time, this has not happened. Some 62% support President Trump’s actions in Syria in response to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government. The satisfaction with the state of the U.S. economy is at the highest level since 2001. Despite these two bell weathers of public opinion, the President’s ratings are down, not up.

“This is the start of the Trump presidency, and it is unwise to project out how his term will play out with the American public. However, it is fair to say that his first 100 days as measured through this survey indicate a lot of challenges lie ahead.”

On Trump’s handling of the economy, he has 44% approval and 46% disapproval. When it comes to foreign policy his rating is closer to his overall rating with 40% approving and 55% disapproving. [NBC/WSJ, 4/17]

52% of Americans are not confident in Trump’s ability as Commander-in-Chief while 46% are confident in his ability. As would be expected, 86% of Republicans are confident, only 14% of Democrats are confident and 45% of Independents are confident. [CBS, 4/27]

38% rate Trump as being “honest and trustworthy” while 58% rate him as not being honest or trustworthy. [WP/ABC, 4/17]

In a second survey 61% say the phrase, “Is honest and trustworthy” does not apply to Trump while 37% say it does apply. [CNN/ORC, 4/25]

44% say he is less effective than other recent presidents. 57% are concerned about Trump’s changes of positions on major issues. [NBC/WSJ, 4/17]

In April, Trump has a positive rating of 39% and a negative rating of 50%.
Vice President Mike Pence has a positive rating of 38% and a negative rating of 39%. [NBC/WSJ, 4/17]

45% of Americans would prefer the Democrats in Congress to take a lead role in settling policy for the country while 26% would prefer President Trump and only 21% would like that task to be undertaken by the Republicans. [NBC/WSJ, 4/17]

61% disapprove of the President giving his daughter and son-in-law major positions in his White House. [WP/ABC, 4/17]

The number of Americans who believe that Trump keeps his promises was at 62% in February. In the first week of April it has dropped to 45%. [Gallup]

Americans are split down the middle on whether Trump has done a good job of keeping the important promises he made during the campaign. 48% say he has done a good job and 52% say that Trump has done a poor job. [CNN/ORC, 4/25]

56% of Americans say he has done a poor job of assuming a team of top advisors to work in the White House. 42% say he has done a good job. [CNN/ORC, 4/25]

10% of Americans have never heard of Vice President Mike Pence, but only 3% have never heard of Ivanka Trump and Melania Trump. All three have positive favorable/unfavorable ratings: Pence – 46%/39%; Ivanka – 46%/41%; and Melania – 45%/38%. [CNN/ORC, 4/25]

96% of Trump voters say that their support of Trump was the right thing to do. [WP/ABC, 4/17]

Trump lags the nomination/confirmation rate of the last Presidents in the first 100 days. [WP, 4/26/17]

  Confirmed Sent but not confirmed Failed
Obama 69 118 3
GHWBush 59 44 1
Clinton 49 125 2
GWBush 35 50 0
Trump 26 37 3

67% of Americans believe that the Democratic party is out of touch with the concerns of most people in the U.S. while 62% have that view of the Republican party. [WP/ABC, 4/17]

Trump has had some real victories so far, beginning with the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch as the 9th Supreme Court Justice. This will have a lasting effect on the future of the country. There are various other evidences of success.

One thing that stands out in this White House is the stream of “unofficial information” coming from the innards of the building. The number of people talking “out of school” either officially or unofficially is setting new records. As Amy Walter said in a recent column, “I have seen sieves with fewer holes than this White House.”

President Trump is making it clear that he is prepared to do the basic things necessary to build a relationship with the Congress. There have been a variety of social contacts with members of the Congress including inviting the Freedom Caucus of the House to a bowling party and inviting Ted Cruz and his family for dinner at the White House.

Donald Trump and his family are very wealthy. It is likely that his service in the White House will, at the end of the day, make him and his family even wealthier.
Those that voted for him certainly knew of his wealth and so far they do not seem to be bothered by reports that he and his family will do very well financially. The question that folks should be concerned about is how the actions of the President and those members of his family who are in the government and administration will affect their lives.

In general, the concept of “conflict of interest” seems to be a non-sequitur when you look at the various appointments being made across the executive branch.

As long as folks compare the way this President and administration operate to the way past administrations operated, they will be disappointed.

In a variety of ways the current administration seems to be preparing to roll back just about anything that protects individuals. As things are shaping up, it appears that those who have much will do well and those who are less fortunate will get the short end of the stick. [WW]

President Trump wants to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. In order to do that, the government needs to acquire the land on which to build the wall. If people don’t want to sell their land to build the wall, the government is going to condemn it and seize it by eminent domain. To do that, Trump’s budget request includes funding for 20 additional Department of Justice lawyers. [The Texas Observer]

Stan Greenberg and Nancy Zdunkewicz of The Democracy Corps, in partnership with the Roosevelt Institute, conducted four focus groups in McComb County, Michigan in mid-February 2017. The participants were all Trump voters, who identified as independents, Democratic-leaning independents or Democrats who voted for Obama in 2008 or 2012. Two of the groups were all women and the other two groups were all men.

The following is a list of their feelings toward Trump, roughly a month after the election.

  1. He is a strong leader.
  2. He is not afraid to say what he thinks and be unpopular: he’s not a double-talking, promise-breaking politician.
  3. He will change everything in Washington.
  4. He is business-minded and knows how to get things done.
  5. He doesn’t need their money and will challenge the political corruption in Washington.
  6. He will protect us and keep us safe.
  7. He will secure the border and control immigration.
  8. He is fighting for us and putting Americans first.
  9. He will hold companies accountable and bring back our jobs.
  10. He will fix health care.
  11. He loves America.

The administration practices the Art of Distraction. [John Meecham, Morning Joe, 3/13/17]

An uphill climb in the Rust Belt for Democrats

“To understand the challenge facing Elizabeth Warren and other Democrats as they chart a path out of their Trump nightmare, you can’t do much better than to spend a few minutes with the amiable fellow in a diner booth in blue-collar Pennsylvania, as he tucks into a plate of eggs-over-easy and sausage and ponders Donald Trump.

“John Randazzo is a registered Democrat who twice voted for Barack Obama, whose 2008 visit to the Avenue Diner near Wilkes-Barre is memorialized with a plaque and a special red stool at the counter. In 2016, Randazzo was among Rust Belt defectors who helped put Trump in the White House — the sort of voter who prompted the president to boast last month that he was giving the GOP a rebirth as the ‘party … of the American worker.’

“‘I honestly feel that he’s thinking like the average American right now, what he wants to get done,’ said Randazzo, 70, a retired hydraulics company manager who has watched the quality of life here slip as the decades passed. ‘I’m on board. I know he’s trying hard.’ He doesn’t think much of the Democrats clamoring to win voters like him back. Asked about Warren, Randazzo suggested that the Massachusetts senator, who is arguably the Democrats’ highest-profile advocate for the working class, is out of touch and lumped her in the same category as the entrenched House Democratic leader, Nancy Pelosi. ‘Her and Pelosi, they’ll never get my vote the way they’re acting,’ said Randazzo. ‘They are completely the opposite of what Donald Trump stands for. He says one thing, they disagree and it’s the other thing, and it’s ridiculous.'” [by the Boston Globe’s Vicky McGrane in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania]