Donald Trump assumes office with perhaps the lowest favorability ratings of any modern president. According to the New York Times,
- Mr. Trump’s approval rating is only 40% among all adults and just 46% among likely voters.
- But a recent CNN poll reports that 48% of adults think he’ll do a good job as president and 61% think he’ll bring back well-paying jobs to economically depressed areas.
Contrast this with Barack Obama’s latest poll ratings:
- According to Gallup Mr. Obama leaves office with an approval rating of 57%.
- But Rasmussen reports that only 35% of likely voters think the country is heading in the right direction (with 55% saying that we’re headed in the wrong direction).
I interpret this to mean that the country is largely turned off by Mr. Trump’s crude speech and sleazy behavior, while still liking his economic program. On the other hand, voters like Mr. Obama personally while disapproving of many of his policies and accomplishments.
All of this leaves Mr. Trump in an amazingly good political position:
- With unemployment currently at a relatively low 4.7% and the economy fully recovered from the Great Recession, even modest reform in tax policy coupled with energy, healthcare and financial deregulation could provide a significant boost to long stalled economic growth.
- He is criticized for having no clear cut political philosophy but this means he is free to do whatever makes good sense regardless of ideology. This will be a huge advantage in working with both parties to get things done.
- He has nowhere to go but up in the polls. Such an increase in personal popularity will create the semblance of forward momentum.
Conclusion. The prospects are indeed propitious for Donald Trump to become a transformational president.