President-elect Donald Trump's approval ratings are so low that he "will take oath of office as least-popular president in at least four decades." And his Cabinet nominees get even lower marks: Only 30 percent of respondents in a new poll approve of his choices.
In the two months since I observed that Donald Trump won the Electoral College, but is losing by every other metric, his then-terrible 42 percent favorability rating has dropped to an even worse 40 percent in the new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Trump will enter the Oval Office on Friday with his image upside down. Just 40 percent say they have a favorable impression of him, and 54 percent view him unfavorably — with 41 percent saying they have a strongly unfavorable impression of him. That’s starkly different from current views of President Obama, whose favorable rating is at 61 percent.
Compared with other presidents, Trump’s handling of the transition has been judged harshly by respondents. As with his favorable rating, 40 percent say they approve and 54 percent disapprove. In comparison, roughly 8 in 10 approved of the way Obama and former presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush handled their transitions. And about 7 in 10 approved of the way former president George W. Bush handled his, even though it came amid the rancorous 37-day recount of ballots in Florida and a controversial Supreme Court decision that helped put him in the Oval Office.
In the most recent Quinnipiac poll, his Cabinet nominees fare even more poorly: Only 30 percent of respondents approve of Trump’s Cabinet choices.
His dreadful nominees are certainly part of the reason that his overall transition continues to garner remarkably low support, too, with the new CNN/ORC poll finding him with a paltry 40 percent approval for his transition, less than half the approval President Obama had at this same point.
Approve of Presidential Transition
Obama, 2009 84%
Clinton, 1992 67%
Bush, 2001 61%
Trump, now 40%
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 17, 2017
Despite his surrogates continuing to claim otherwise, he did not win in a landslide, and he does not have a mandate.
To the absolute contrary, he is a deeply divisive figure who continues to foment division by attacking his opponents; waging war on the press; trying to discredit the intelligence community; refusing to comply with ethics rules; radically alienating the U.S.’s global allies; and generally behaving like a despot.
Voters who supported him because they believed his campaign promises to “drain the swamp” and retain key parts of the Affordable Care Act are beginning to publicly express buyers’ remorse, and there is an ever-increasing number of people calling into question the very legitimacy of his presidency, for multiple reasons — starting with his seeming disloyalty to the nation he petitioned to lead.
And nothing more pointedly calls into question his legitimacy than his abysmal favorability numbers. The people, and more of them every day, do not support this president-elect, his nominees, or his plans. And he has failed to respond like a legitimate president would: By changing his strategy so that he can effectively govern.
If Trump wants We the People to view him as a legitimate president, then he ought to start behaving like one.