Considering how embarrassed professional pollsters were when their work had zero bearing on the general election’s outcome, it’s hard to take further polling all that seriously. But if the numbers of a recent CBS News poll are accurate, optimism in the Trump presidency is abysmally low among Americans.
The poll, released today, suggests that a scant 34% of Americans think he will be a “good” or “very good” commander in chief. Obama, by comparison, enjoyed a 63% vote of confidence.
The results break down in the way you’d suspect. 60% of Democrats voted against him in the poll, while only 8% of Republicans gave him bad marks. 35% of independents also said that Trump would not make a capable president.
George W. also got a higher rating than Trump, but not by much. His approval going into office was under 50%.
The CBS News poll also asked its respondents about Trump’s cabinet. The results were an even split – 41% said they approved of his selections and 41% said they disapproved. However, there seems to be a vague agreement that Trump’s business ties represent a conflict of interest. 59% of respondents said they saw his investments as potentially having an influence over his policy decisions.
A full 60% of respondents, including 41% of Republicans who participated, believe that Trump tweets too often.
The poll lasted for five days in December, and was conducted over both landlines and cell phones. The sample size was 1,259 adults, of whom 1,117 were registered to vote.
Whether the numbers represent a totally accurate picture of America’s prevailing opinions, it’s pretty undeniable that there’s a lot of very strong feelings about Trump’s presidency, both ways. While large sections of the right rejoice, the Republican mainstream is still dyspeptic. And many liberals are downright hysteric, forecasting that Trump will drag us into fascism.
There’s no such thing as a presidency that doesn’t inspire controversy. But the Trump presidency is uniquely divisive, cutting through both mainstream political camps and drawing bipartisan condemnation at a level that is unprecedented in recent history.
Trump’s presidency is a huge set of question marks for most observers. Speculation is running rampant as to what his domestic and foreign policies are going to look like. He’s already making significant moves on both fronts. And everyone is waiting to see if he makes good on his weirder campaign promises, like the registry of Muslim Americans and constructing the wall between America and Mexico. Only time will tell.