Donald Trump transition draws low approval ratings

Kenneth T. Walsh



Donald Trump is off to a mediocre start, as far as the American public is concerned. New polls show that Trump's transition to the presidency has the lowest approval rating of any incoming presidency since 1992.

Gallup says 48 percent of Americans approve of Republican Trump's transition and 48 percent disapprove. At this time in 2008, 75 percent approved of Democrat Barack Obama's transition and only 17 percent disapproved. At a comparable point in January 2001, 65 percent of Americans approved of Republican George W. Bush's transition and 26 percent disapproved. In late 1992, 67 percent approved of Democrat Bill Clinton's transition and 15 percent disapproved.

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Trump is presiding over an extremely polarized nation, partly because of his own divisive and negative tactics during the campaign. Eighty-six percent of fellow Republicans approve of his transition but only 17 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of independents approve. The split was not as extreme during the transitions of Obama, Bush and Clinton.

A new McClatchy-Marist poll has a slightly better outcome for Trump but still brings him relatively bad news. Forty-nine percent of registered voters approve of the job he is doing on the transition, and 42 percent disapprove. This lags far behind Obama's approval rating at a comparable time, confirming the Gallup results.

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Politico/Morning Consult polls have found Trump's unfavorable rating at 50 percent or greater in its four most recent surveys.

Trump so far has named several billionaires and millionaires to his cabinet, along with a few retired generals and others who, like Trump, have no government experience. His picks for his cabinet have caused widespread anxiety and opposition, including Trump's choice of ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for secretary of state and retired Marine Gen. James Mattis for secretary of defense.

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Trump also has been gloating over his victory as he holds massive campaign-style rallies across the country to celebrate his win. This has angered those who wanted more conciliation from him. And his potential conflicts of interest because of his massive corporate empire have drawn critical news coverage and attacks from Democrats.