A Quinnipiac University poll conducted over the first five days of Donald Trump’s presidency found that just 36 approve of the job he is doing, while 44 percent disapprove. Another 19 percent were undecided.
Cue the trolls to say that polls are forever mumbo jumbo because Trump won the presidency to the surprise of most pundits and pollsters. In fact, however, the national polls were reasonably accurate. Trump only outperformed the polling by around 1-2 points in losing the popular vote, which actually made the polls more accurate than they were in 2012. If you want to give Trump a two-point cushion because you think the polls are rigged, it doesn’t change the picture here. The numbers for Trump are not good.
Approval ratings are fluid, and the fact that a fifth of voters are undecided gives Trump some wiggle room to improve. But it’s an inauspicious start, particularly given that typically there is a honeymoon period after a new president is elected. Unpopular presidents struggle to govern, and approval rating of the president does tend to correlate with political outcomes such as midterm elections.
The dominant dynamic in the campaign was that whenever attention focused on Trump, his numbers tanked, and whenever more attention was paid to Hillary Clinton, she tanked and Trump closed the gap. They were both unusually unpopular, giving Trump an opening to win despite his low approval ratings. Now, however, she’s gone. The spotlight is always going to be on Trump, which could prove a problem for him. Despite his rabid base of fans, most people just don’t like the guy, it seems.
One person who pays an awful lot of attention to polls of this kind is Donald J. Trump, so it will be interesting to see how he responds if his approval numbers remain in the carnage zone.