Donald Trump's presidency continues to worry most Americans

Kenneth T. Walsh



Donald Trump has secured his victory in the Electoral College, guaranteeing that he will take over the White House next month, but most Americans remain pessimistic or uncertain about the Trump presidency.

Fifty-four percent of adults say they are either uncertain (25 percent) or pessimistic and worried (29 percent) about how Trump will perform as president, according to the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll. This compares with 45 percent who are either optimistic and confident (22 percent) or satisfied and hopeful (23 percent).

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​​​​The pollsters said this is a significantly worse outlook than Americans exhibited after the elections of both Democrat Barack Obama and Republican George W. Bush. A combined 66 percent were either optimistic or hopeful about Obama in January 2009, and 59 percent were optimistic or hopeful about Bush in January 2001.

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"Usually elections settle arguments and the nation comes together, at least in the short term," said Democratic pollster Fred Yang who conducted the survey with Republican pollster Bill McInturff. "Today, hard feelings persist on both sides of the partisan divide. It's as if the 2016 campaign has never ended."

Only 12 percent of the supporters of defeated Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton approve of how Republican Trump is handling his transition, compared with 92 percent of Trump voters.

Trump's overall favorability has increased slightly since the election but more Americans still give him a poor rating (46 percent) than a positive one (40 percent).

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Clinton won about 2.8 million more popular votes than Trump did in the Nov. 8 election but she fell far short in the state-by-state system of electoral votes, which is how the presidency is actually decided. On Monday, the nation's electors met and gave Trump far more than the 270 electoral votes he needed, as was expected.

Still, Trump's failure to win the popular vote has damaged his standing among some voters, especially Democrats.

The latest Marist poll finds that a majority of registered voters, 52 percent, say the popular vote should be the deciding factor in a presidential election while 45 percent say the Electoral College should continue to be the deciding factor.

Seventy-eight percent of Democrats say the nation should move away from the Electoral College and adopt the popular vote. Sixty-seven percent of Republicans and 52 percent of independents say the Electoral College system should remain, according to the Marist poll.