Ahead of Friday’s inauguration, a newly released Gallup poll showed that 55 percent of Americans view President-elect Donald Trump unfavorably, making him the only president-elect out of the past three to have his unfavorable rating outweigh his favorable rating.
The poll, conducted between Jan. 4 and Jan. 8, revealed that Trump’s pre-inauguration favorability score was significantly lower than his three predecessors when they were president-elects. For instance, President Barack Obama enjoyed a 78 percent approval rating ahead of his entry into the White House in 2009. Former President George W. Bush had a favorability rating of 62 percent, while 66 percent of Americans approved of former President Bill Clinton, the poll showed.
Moreover, just 18 percent of Americans disapproved of Obama this time eight years ago. Bush and Clinton had disapproval ratings of 36 percent and 26 percent, respectively, ahead of their inaugurations in 2001 and 1993.
Another recent poll by ABC and The Washington Post showed Trump as the most unpopular president to take office in the past four decades. But despite Trump’s historically low approval score, the Gallup poll indicated that his latest numbers are still higher than what they were during the course of his 2016 presidential campaign, where his favorable rating never rose above 38 percent. In fact, just a week before Election Day, only 34 percent of Americans said they approved of the real estate tycoon-turned politician. During this time, Trump was ruffling a lot of feathers with his inflammatory claims of a rigged election and racially offensive rhetoric aimed at minorities, which continued until the end of his campaign.
Based on the results from a random sample of 1,032 Americans 18 and older, the Gallup Poll also showed that Trump received lower approval ratings from his own political party than did his predecessors. Eighty-two percent of Republicans held favorable opinions of the president-elect, but that was still lower than party approval ratings for Bush back in 2001 (97 percent).
A lower number of Americans approved of vice presidential pick Gov. Mike Pence, according to the poll. Forty-two of Americans surveyed had a positive opinion of Pence, 37 percent had a negative opinion and 21 percent said they hadn’t formed an opinion yet.
Compared to Joe Biden’s 53 percent approval rating and Dick Cheney’s 61 percent approval score, the number of Americans who view Pence unfavorably is nearly as high as the number who hold a favorable opinion of him.
Though public approval for both Trump and Pence is low, researchers noted that the duo is still in strong political standing. Yet still, the president-elect faces hurdles that his predecessors didn’t have to deal with.
“Trump will enter the White House in a strong political position, with his party controlling both chambers of Congress,” wrote Justin McCarthy, an analyst at Gallup. “The president-elect’s general unpopularity is an unprecedented hurdle, whose impact on his ability to govern remains to be seen. As he takes office, Trump also faces much greater political polarization than his successors, even though all recent presidents have faced fairly stiff opposition from nonsupporters once in office.”
“Trump’s approval ratings for handling his presidential transition are slightly higher than his favorable ratings and may be a better measure of his performance to date,” he added. “But those too are worse than other presidents received during their transitions, suggesting that Trump’s initial job approval ratings after the inauguration may not reflect the ‘honeymoon’ period that newly elected presidents traditionally enjoy.”
The president elect took to social media on Tuesday, Jan. 17, to express his dissatisfaction with the recent approval rating polls, calling them “rigged.”
The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls. They are rigged just like before.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 17, 2017