Americans Think Trump Will Be Worst President Since Nixon

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s newest national poll finds Donald Trump continuing to fare poorly with the public in his first week in office. Voters split evenly in their appraisals of his job performance with 44% approving and 44% disapproving of him. These are historically awful numbers for a newly elected President. When it comes to Trump’s favorability rating, only 44% of voters see him positively to 50% with a negative opinion. By contrast the women who participated in marches across the country last weekend against Trump are seen positively by 50% of voters, to just 41% who see them poorly.

There are a number of reasons for Trump’s continuing unpopularity. One piece of it is that voters don’t like the policies he wants to enact:

-We find that only 34% of voters want to build a wall with Mexico if American taxpayers have to pay up front for it, compared to 53% who are opposed to doing that. 

-We find that with Trump in office now, the Affordable Care Act is reaching record levels of popularity with 45% of voters supporting it to 41% who are opposed. Only 30% of voters think the best plan is to repeal the act and start over, while 61% would prefer Congress to keep the Affordable Care Act and fix parts that aren’t working.

Another set of reasons that Trump’s struggling right now are concerns about his transparency and conflicts of interest:

-59% of voters think Trump needs to release his tax returns, to just 32% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to. In fact, 54% of voters would support a law requiring candidates for President to release 5 years of tax returns in order to appear on the ballot, to just 34% who would be opposed to putting that requirement in place.

-61% of voters think Trump needs to fully divest from his business interests, to only 28% who don’t think it’s necessary for him to do that.

-Trump’s ties to Russia continue to be a problem for him. Only 13% of voters have a favorable opinion of Russia, to 60% with a negative view of it. For Vladimir Putin himself, the numbers are even worse. Just 10% of voters see him positively, with 67% having an unfavorable opinion of him. Continued close ties to Russia could be a problem for Trump even with his own base- among his voters Russia has a 20/47 favorability rating and Putin’s is 15/55.

Voters are so dim on Trump that they think, in the first week of his administration, that he will prove to be a worse President than everyone who’s held the office since Richard Nixon.

Who will end up being a better President, Donald Trump or…


Barack Obama

Obama 48-43

George W. Bush

Bush 40-35

Bill Clinton

Clinton 51-41

George H.W. Bush

Bush 47-32

Ronald Reagan

Reagan 57-17

Jimmy Carter

Carter 45-42

Gerald Ford

Ford 42-37

Richard Nixon

Trump 40-31

Trump has accomplished the incredible feat of making Democrats long for George W. Bush, who they think by a 62-14 spread will end up having been a better President than Trump. The numbers do show the extent to which it is now Trump’s Republican Party though. Among GOP voters he beats out George W. Bush 65/15, George H.W. Bush 63/17, and Gerald Ford 71/13. He loses out only to Ronald Reagan and even that’s relatively competitive with Reagan getting 45% to Trump’s 31%.

In addition to losing out to all of his predecessors, Trump is also losing most of the fights he’s picked recently. Voters say 58/21 that they think the intelligence agencies have more credibility than Trump, 50/40 that they think CNN has more credibility than Trump, and 46/41 that they have a higher opinion of the Today Show than Trump.

For the most part Americans don’t buy claims about Trump having had the biggest crowds in history at his inauguration last weekend, although there’s still a substantial portion of his base that goes along with him:

-Only 18% of voters overall think Trump’s inauguration had the biggest crowd of any Presidential inauguration in history, to 62% who think it didn’t. 34% of Trump voters do still say they think he had the biggest crowd ever though, to 32% who say he didn’t, and 34% who aren’t sure. 

-Only 21% of voters overall think that Trump had a bigger crowd for his inauguration than Barack Obama, to 61% who think Obama had bigger crowds. 43% of Trump voters do still think that he had a bigger crowd for his inauguration though, to 26% who grant that it was Obama, and 32% who say they aren’t sure.

-Only 29% of voters overall think that Trump’s inauguration had a bigger crowd than the women’s march, to 54% who think the women’s march had a bigger crowd. 59% of Trump voters insist though that his inauguration had a bigger crowd than the women’s march, to just 20% who say the march was bigger. Trump voters also have an explanation for why so many women turned out last weekend- 38% think the marchers were paid to do so by George Soros, to 33% who say they don’t think that was the case, and 29% who aren’t sure.

The lying about crowd size has already taken a toll on Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer’s credibility with the public. Conway has a 32% favorability rating, with 43% of voters viewing her negatively. By contrast when we polled on her a month ago she actually had a positive rating at 34/32, so she’s had a 13 point net decline in the wake of ‘alternative facts.’ Spicer, who we polled for the first time, is seen favorably by 24% of voters and negatively by 37%. 

The upshot of all this is that 35% of voters already say they support impeaching Trump, to 50% who say they’re opposed. We will continue to regularly poll on impeaching Trump as long as issues like his tax returns, business interests, and ties with Russia remain unresolved.

The ascendance of Republicans in Washington has voters already looking toward creating some balance of power in next year’s election. Democrats lead the generic Congressional ballot 48/40. This is partly an outgrowth of Trump’s unpopularity but it’s also a function of GOP Congressional leaders being unpopular in their own right. Paul Ryan has a 33/43 approval rating, and that makes him look positively popular in comparison to Mitch McConnell’s 15/52 rating. Congress as a whole comes in at 15% approval and 65% disapproval.

2 final notes from the poll:

-42% of Trump voters think he should be allowed to have a private email server to just 39% who think he shouldn’t be allowed to. Maybe cyber security wasn’t such a big issue in last year’s election after all.

-And finally only 18% of voters think it’s acceptable to punch a Nazi in the face, to 51% who say it’s unacceptable and 31% who are unsure on the moral quandary of our times. Clinton and Trump voters are actually in alignment on this with only 18% of each saying it’s ok to punch a Nazi. 78% of Jill Stein voters though say that they are pro punching a Nazi, this may be where Hillary fell short.

Full results here

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