Inauguration Day shall arrive on Friday, which means Donald Trump will be president as of 12:01 p.m. Transition poll ratings are now rolling in, and the numbers are not positive. None of this should be too surprising if one recalls that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million, though Trump’s ratings — as compared to his most immediate predecessors — are pretty abysmal no matter how one paints them. Of course, these are only polls, and god only knows that Trump has overcome crappy numbers by surging (multiple times) in a matter of weeks. Let’s check these three polls out.
Starting with a Gallup poll — which CBS News discusses as showing a “historically” unfavorable rating for a president-elect — 51% approve of how Trump’s handled his transition while 44% are not fans. This places Trump behind his most recent predecessors, including George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, along with Barack Obama, who entered office higher than the rest with 83% approval. The “historically” refers to Trump holding the lowest rating since Gallup began conducting transition favorability ratings.
Meanwhile, a Washington Post/ABC News poll looks even more dire with 40% of those polled approving of Trump’s transition with 54% saying, “Nope.” These results land far behind George H.W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama, who all landed in the 70-80% range for the same poll. The Post interprets these results as demonstrating the polarizing nature of the Trump candidacy — that is, folks either feel “great enthusiasm” or “deep hostility” to his platform — and the many challenges that he now faces.
Finally, a CNN/ORC poll shows few surprises from Trump’s least favorite cable news network. The poll shows Trump arriving in the White House with a 40% approval rating as compared to his three recent predecessors, which range from Obama with 84% to 61% for George W. Bush. The poll adds that 53% of those polled don’t approve of Trump’s “wobbly handling” of his transition. The poll also adds a 40% favorability rating for Mike Pence, along with 36% for Melania Trump, and — because this is no normal presidency — a 44% for eldest daughter Ivanka.
Naturally, it’s difficult to pinpoint the leading cause for these numbers. Was it Trump’s ambivalence towards Russia after the hacked election or the related “Golden Showers” file? Perhaps people aren’t thrilled about how his behavior prompted threats from China or all of the healthcare ambiguity running rampant. Hell, maybe Trump’s feud with John Lewis or even the Steve Harvey thing pushed him over the edge. Whatever the case, ambivalence seems to be out the door, and Friday should be, well, eventful.
Also, here’s a brief word from Trump on the matter: “Rigged.”