Donald Trump's Transition Gets 'Historically Low' Marks

A new survey finds that most Americans disapprove of his work since the election.
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump stands with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and d
U.S. President-elect Donald Trump stands with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, his sons Donald Trump Jr. and Eric Trump and daughter Ivanka during a news conference in the lobby of Trump Tower in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., January 11, 2017.

The public thinks Donald Trump’s presidency is off to a rocky start. Americans approve of Barack Obama, but are less sure they want to see his legacy continued. And a lot about the U.S. has changed in the past eight year. This is HuffPollster for Friday, January 13, 2017.

APPROVAL FOR TRUMP’S TRANSITION SINKS - Lydia Saad: “Gallup polling conducted two weeks before Inauguration Day, President-elect Donald Trump continues to garner historically low approval for his transition performance, with 51% of Americans disapproving of how he is handling the presidential transition and 44% approving. Last month, the public was split on this question, with 48% approving and 48% disapproving….Trump’s 48% transition approval rating in December was already the lowest for any presidential transition Gallup has measured, starting with Bill Clinton’s in 1992-1993. Trump’s current rating only further separates him from his predecessors ― particularly Barack Obama, who earned 83% approval for his handling of the transition process in January 2009, up from 75% in mid-December 2008….Republicans’ rating of Trump’s transition has remained positive, with 87% approving in the Jan. 4-8 poll, similar to the 86% recorded last month. Very few Democrats approve, which has also been fairly steady, at 13% this month versus 17% in December. Meanwhile, his transition approval among independents has fallen from 46% to 33%.” [Gallup]

Other surveys give him similarly low marks - HuffPollster: “A majority of voters disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his role as president-elect, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday. Only 37 percent of respondents approve of how Trump’s managing the transition, while 51 percent disapprove. They rated him favorably versus unfavorably by the very same margins….Quinnipiac also shows a broad drop in optimism about Trump. Only 39 percent of voters find him honest, down from 42 percent in late November. Voters are also less positive about his leadership abilities, intelligence and level-headedness, and fewer respondents viewed him as a strong person. Asked whether Trump ‘cares about the average American,’ voters’ views remain largely unchanged. In late November, 36 percent of respondents said Trump’s behavior since the election made them feel better about him, and only 14 percent said it made them feel worse. However, the most recent numbers reflect a different sentiment. Today, only 23 percent feel better about him, while 28 percent feel worse.”  [HuffPost, more from Quinnipiac and Pew]

AMERICANS’ APPROVAL OF BARACK OBAMA DOESN’T TRANSLATE INTO SUPPORT FOR MAINTAINING HIS LEGACY - HuffPollster: “As President Barack Obama concludes his time in office, his most immediate legacy is a paradox. Obama’s approval rating, which languished in the mid-40s during much of his tenure, soared during the tumult of the 2016 presidential campaign. He will leave office with an average approval rating of just over 55 percent, according to HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate….But Americans’ positive opinion of the president didn’t translate into an argument for electing a Democratic successor, nor does there seem to be much desire to maintain his legacy. Eight years after Obama ran for office on a slogan of ‘change we can believe in,’ the nation is still keen on trying something different, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov survey. Fewer than a third of respondents said they want to see President-elect Donald Trump continue Obama’s policies. A majority of respondents said they hope their new commander in chief strikes out on a different path on everything from the nation’s economy to the political atmosphere in Washington.” [HuffPost]

Views are sharply divided along partisan lines - More from HuffPollster: “Obama will leave office remarkably popular among Democrats: 87 percent approve of his performance, and 59 percent strongly approve. Seventy-nine percent said that he changed things for the better as president and 77 percent that he did the best job that he could….By contrast, Obama is close to universally loathed by Republicans, 90 percent of whom want to see Trump take the country in the different direction.Just 14 percent of Republicans said they approve of his performance as president, with 83 percent saying they disapprove and 72 percent saying they strongly disapprove.”

HOW THE U.S. HAS CHANGED SINCE OBAMA TOOK OFFICE - Michael Dimock: “Barack Obama campaigned for the U.S. presidency on a platform of change. As he prepares to leave office, the country he led for eight years is undeniably different. Profound social, demographic and technological changes have swept across the United States during Obama’s tenure, as have important shifts in government policy and public opinion. Apple released its first iPhone during Obama’s 2007 campaign, and he announced his vice presidential pick – Joe Biden – on a two-year-old platform called Twitter. Today, use of smartphones and social media has become the norm in U.S. society, not the exception. The election of the nation’s first black president raised hopes that race relations in the U.S. would improve, especially among black voters. But by 2016, following a spate of high-profile deaths of black Americans during encounters with police and protests by the Black Lives Matter movement and other groups, many Americans – especially blacks – described race relations as generally bad….The nation’s stark partisan fissures are likely to persist and may deepen. Just as Obama’s job approval ratings are deeply divided along partisan lines, the public’s ratings for how Trump has handled his transition to the White House are more divided by party than they were for recent presidents-elect.” [Pew]

POLICE OFFICERS DON’T THINK BAD COPS ARE HELD ACCOUNTABLE - Ryan Reilly: “U.S. police officers largely believe high-profile deaths of black people at the hands of law enforcement officers have made their jobs more difficult, according to a new national survey. They’re also skeptical of the protests that have followed those tragic incidents. But there’s one key issue where it turns out protesters and law enforcement officers overwhelmingly agree: Bad cops aren’t held accountable….Asked whether they agreed with the idea that officers who consistently do a poor job are held accountable, 47 percent of officers disagreed and 25 percent strongly disagreed. Barely one-quarter of officers surveyed either agreed or strongly agreed that officers who do a poor job are held accountable (24 percent agreed, while just 3 percent strongly agreed)....The survey also found that the overwhelming majority of white officers, 92 percent, believe the country has already made the needed changes to achieve racial equality, a view shared by just 8 percent of African-American citizens and by a comparatively low percent of the public at large.” [HuffPost]

HUFFPOLLSTER VIA EMAIL! - You can receive this daily update every weekday morning via email! Just click here, enter your email address, and click “sign up.” That’s all there is to it (and you can unsubscribe anytime).

FRIDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Quoctrung Bui and Margot Sanger-Katz find gun control ideas that win the approval of both experts and the public. [NYT]

-An NPR/Ipsos survey finds many people misinformed about the effects of the Affordable Care Act. [NPR]

-Aaron Blake writes about what happened with polls in 2016 and why they’re still necessary. [WashPost]

-Pew Research finds deep partisan divides in Americans’ views of the world. [Pew]

-Emily Guskin and Scott Clement compare support for Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s justice policies. [WashPost]

-Kelsey Coolidge and Curtis Bell note that the number of female political leaders worldwide has plummeted. [WashPost]

-Amanda Taub investigates the influence of partisanship on belief in fake news. [NYT]

-Anna Maria Barry-Jester examines the link between where Americans live and how they die. [538]

-Jesse Singal argues that a test measuring implicit racial bias is deeply flawed. [NYMag]