Americans Think Trump Will Be an Awful President

Progressives are still hungover after the surreal election that catapulted Donald J. Trump to the presidency, but here’s some limited solace: Americans aren’t confident in the capabilities of our new commander-in-chief.

Public Policy Polling released a report on Thursday showing how low the expectations are for the new president—Americans suspect nearly every president over the last half-century will go down as more popular than President Trump. He’s only expected to outperform Richard Nixon, the man who made Watergate possible and ran the country armed with a lexicon of his own racial epithets.

Of those polled, 46 percent had a negative opinion of Trump, “historically awful numbers for a newly elected President,” notes the report.

The low expectations for Trump’s presidency stem from both the general unpopularity of his agenda, as well as the continued divisiveness and unpredictability of a leader who has a bad penchant for sending out cryptic tweets laced with fringe conspiracy theories. Public Policy Polling found that:

  • Only 34 percent of voters support constructing a wall across the border with Mexico, if the United States is footing the bill. Precisely how America will fund the major construction project remains unclear, though the Trump administration is exploring a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports to raise the necessary funds.
  • The majority of voters, 59 percent, believe Trump should release his tax returns, and 54 percent of voters would support a law requiring every presidential candidate to release the last five years of their returns. Throughout his campaign, Trump said he was under an audit that prevented him from releasing his tax returns to the public, but the audit carries no legal requirement to keep his returns private. In fact, Nixon began the practice of presidential candidates releasing their tax returns, and he did it while under audit.
  • Only 18 percent of voters believe Trump’s claim that the attendance at his inauguration was the largest in history, even though he attempted to strong-arm the National Park Service Director into falsely backing him up.

The pall over the poll is, of course, the fact that Trump is the man who thwarted most polls in the country to assume the presidency. And since the GOP is now the party of Trump, most of his agenda remains overwhelmingly popular with his Republican base.

After clips of incendiary alt-right leader Richard Spencer getting punched in the face went viral after the inauguration, the poll found that both 18 percent of both Trump and Clinton supporters agree that punching a Nazi in the face is generally not acceptable.

Hey, at least Trump and Clinton voters can agree on something after an election this polarizing.

Peregrine Frissell

Peregrine Frissell is an intern at the Washington Monthly. He has previously worked for papers in Connecticut, Montana and Kathmandu, Nepal and is a graduate of the School of Journalism at the University of Montana.