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Monday, January 02, 2017

He's off to a great start

by digby

Check out the latest numbers from Gallup:

As Donald Trump prepares to take the presidential oath on Jan. 20, less than half of Americans are confident in his ability to handle an international crisis (46%), to use military force wisely (47%) or to prevent major scandals in his administration (44%). At least seven in 10 Americans were confident in Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in these areas before they took office.

Americans express somewhat more confidence in Trump to work effectively with Congress (60%), to handle the economy effectively (59%), to defend U.S. interests abroad as president (55%), and to manage the executive branch effectively (53%). But even in these areas, Americans are far less confident in Trump than they were in his predecessors, when comparisons are available.

The results for Trump are based on a Dec. 7-11 Gallup poll. They are consistent with prior Gallup polling showing Trump having a much lower favorable ratingthan prior presidents-elect and a much lower approval rating for how he has handled his presidential transition.

The deficits for Trump versus the average for his predecessors range from a low of 15 percentage points on defending U.S. interests abroad to a high of 32 points for preventing major scandals.

Among the seven issues tested in the poll, Americans are most confident in Trump to work effectively with Congress (60%) and handle the economy (59%). Trump will have the benefit of working with Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, Obama and Bush -- both of whom also took office with a friendly Congress -- engendered even greater confidence than Trump in this area.

Trump's business background may contribute to Americans' relatively positive expectations for his presidential performance on the economy. The economy was also a relative issue strength for Trump during the campaign.

Relatively few Democrats express confidence in Trump to handle the various presidential responsibilities, from a low of 14% for preventing scandals to a high of 35% for working effectively with Congress. Meanwhile, between 77% and 90% of Republicans are confident in the president-elect, expressing greater confidence in his ability to handle the economy and work with Congress, and less in his being able to prevent scandals.

The deficits in Trump's ratings relative to his predecessors' are largely because of the low scores he gets from supporters of the opposing party. On average, 21% of Democrats have confidence in Trump across the five presidential duties for which Americans also rated Bush and Obama (all except handling the economy and defending U.S. interests abroad). By contrast, for the same five areas, an average of 60% of Republicans were confident in Obama and an average of 57% of Democrats were confident in Bush. These data underscore the much more polarized partisan environment in which Trump will be taking office.

Trump also fares much worse among independents on the same five tasks (50%) than Obama (79%) and Bush (75%) did.

Confidence in Trump among his own party's supporters (84%) is closer to that of Obama (94% among Democrats) and Bush (95% among Republicans), but still trails their levels by a significant margin.

Trump defied political experts as well as some historical election patterns in winning the presidency. Emerging the victor in a contentious campaign featuring two of the least well-liked candidates in modern presidential election history, Trump prepares to take office with a majority of Americans viewing him unfavorably. Trump is also much less well-liked than any recent president-elect.

As such, the public is much less confident in Trump than in his predecessors to handle several of a president's major tasks, including dealing with challenging foreign policy matters such as handling an international crisis or using U.S. military force.

You might think the flip side is that he can only go up. But the truth is that he can still go lower. Some of those independents are giving him a shot but if he blows it, they're out.

Great start to a new administration. And considering his New Year message, he couldn't be happier: