Donald Trump Rated Most Unpopular Incoming US President In At Least 40 Years


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Donald Trump has been rated the most unpopular US President to enter the White House – Poll says.

Donald Trump enters office as the most unpopular US President of at least the last seven newly elected presidents, a new poll says, with ratings for handling the transition that is also vastly below those of his predecessors.

Forty percent of Americans in the national survey approve of the way Donald Trump has handled the transition, half as many as the 80 percent who approved of Barack Obama’s preparations to take office. Trump also far trails George W. Bush (72 percent transition approval), Bill Clinton (81 percent) and George H.W. Bush (82 percent) on this measure.

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Similarly, just 40 percent in this poll, approve of most of Trump’s cabinet choices – trailing his four predecessors by anywhere from 19 to 26 percentage points.

Identical to these ratings, just 40 percent see Trump favorably overall. That’s 21 points behind Obama’s departing favorability rating (his best since November 2009) and by far the lowest popularity for an incoming president in polling since 1977. Previous start-of-presidency favorability ratings have ranged from 56 percent for George W. Bush to 79 percent for Obama.

Consider the flipside: Just 9 to 20 percent saw Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton or Obama unfavorably as they took office. It was 36 percent for George W. Bush. It’s 54 percent for Trump.

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Even as the weak ratings that see Trump as most unpopular US President, Trump is expected by many do well in many areas. Six in 10 Americans expect him to do an excellent or good job on the economy and on jobs alike, and 56 percent expect him to do well in handling terrorism.

On the economy, Trump may get tailwinds: Fifty-one percent say it’s in excellent or good shape, the most since October 2006 in ABC/Post polls. Even still, 63 percent say the country is seriously off on the wrong track – a view on which Democrats and Republicans have essentially swapped positions since the election, with the biggest change for the party that won the White House.

Positive expectations for Trump drop to around 50 percent on three other issues – helping the middle class, handling the deficit and making Supreme Court appointments.

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Expectations go negative on four more – handling health care, international crises, race relations and issues of particular concern to women. Expectations of Trump are more negative than positive by 24 points on women’s issues, 37-61 percent, and by 17 points on race relations, 40-57 percent.

The poll was conducted by ABC News/Washington Post through landline and cellular telephone Jan. 12-15, 2017, in Engish and Spanish among a national random sample of 1005 adults.