Politics July 23, 2017: America deeply polarized as Trump presidency hits six-month mark

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

President Donald Trump’s polls at the six-month mark shows discontent especially among Democrats. President Donald J. Trump | July 20, 2017 (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

As President Donald Trump’s hits the six-month mark of his presidency, polarization in the nation is at an all-time high. ABC News and Washington Post released a new poll on Sunday, July 16, 2017, that looked at Trump’s approval rating and followed up with another poll released on Monday, July 17 examining his presidential behavior including his Twitter habits. A Gallup Poll released on July 21, also showed how Trump’s approval rating is below 40 percent mostly because he lacks almost any support from Democrats. According to the new ABC News poll, only 36 percent of Americans “approve of Trump’s job performance,” while the Gallup Poll has Trump approval rating for his second quarter as president at 38.8 percent. The results show that Trump is the most unpopular president at this point in his presidency than any other president in the last 70 years of polling mostly because the nation is the most polarized over Trump than ever in history.

Trump’s approval rate numbers are his lowest and six points lower than they were in April when he reached 100 days of his presidency. Trump has only a 36 percent approval rating in the new ABC News / Washington Post poll entitled “Six months in, the latest poll reveals a record low for Trump,” but a 58 percent disapproval rating. Americans however, approve of the president’s handling of the economy, 43 to 41 percent. According to the Gallup poll entitled “Trump Sets New Low for Second-Quarter Job Approval” Trump’s approval rating for the second quarter of his presidency from April 20 to July 19, is 38.8 percent. In his first quarter, Trump’s approval rating was 41.3 percent. Until President Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in May his daily tracking approval rating remained in the low 40s, but since then it has remained for the most part in the high 30s.

The only other modern president with such a low poll number at the six-month mark of their presidency was Gerald Ford with a higher, 39 percent in January 1975. Ford, however, was not elected, he became president after Republican Richard Nixon resigned from office, and he faced a backlash for pardoning the disgraced president over the Watergate scandal. Trump also makes a record for highest disapproval rate at the six-month mark, beating President Bill Clinton whose disapproval rating was 51 percent in July 1993.

Gallup does not include Ford in their list and claims Trump’s numbers at this time are closest to Clinton, who had a 44 percent approval rating. The rest of the post-World War II presidents saw over 50 percent approval ratings at the six-month mark, with the average at 62 percent. Looking at all presidential quarters Trump ranks 250th out of 287 quarters. The lower numbers were recorded in later parts of the embattled Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush presidencies.

The gap between Republicans and Democrats’ approval of the president is astounding. According to ABC News, 90 percent of Conservative Republicans and 82 percent of Republicans, in general, approve of the president’s job performance. Democrats overwhelmingly disapprove, with only 11 percent approving. Not many independents approve of the president either with only 32 percent feeling that way.

The Gallup poll shows an even more dramatic partisan divide, only 8 percent of Democrats approve of Trump, which is the lowest opposing party support in the modern history of presidential polling. Trump has support from 85 percent of Republicans and 34 percent of Independents. As Gallup indicates that is a 77 percent difference from members of either party. Gallup notes, “The high degree of political polarization in Trump’s approval ratings is one major reason why his overall ratings are historically low. Presidential job approval ratings have become increasingly polarized in recent presidential administrations, but the degree of party separation in Trump’s ratings reaches new extremes.”

Trump has had historically low approval ratings because he has not any support from Democrats, partisan support is key to higher approval ratings. The last two presidents Democrat Barack Obama and Republican George W. Bush had about 30 percent from the opposing parties. Obama had 28 percent of Republican approving his job in 2009, and Bush had 30 percent of Democrats in 2001, despite another contentious election, which was decided by the Supreme Court. Trump has a low approval rating from independents, lower than from previous presidents, where the average at 53 percent, only Carter had low support, with only 42 percent.

The partisan polarization has grown exponentially since Democrat Bill Clinton’s presidency, before and since the 1950s opposing parties used to give a high approval rating to new presidents, a minimum of over 40 percent. The situation changed with Clinton, who received just over 20 percent support from Republicans. Independents also abandoned Clinton with only 44 percent approving of him in 1993. Trump has a problem with Independents as well, with only 36 percent supporting him. Fortunately, for President Trump he has overwhelming support from his party, with 86 percent support whereas the average since 1953 has been 82 percent.

The ABC News poll also looked at Americans’ view of the issues that have plagued Trump ‘s presidency and cause his lagging numbers, the Russia election interference controversy, and the embattled Obama repeal and replace bill going through Congress. The public does not approve of the president’s son, “Donald Trump Jr., son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and campaign manager, Paul Manafort” having met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign to gain Intel on opponent Democratic nominee Hilary Clinton. The revelation and the Trump Jr.’s emails detailing the meeting set-up confirm that the Trump campaign was talking to Russia and looking for their help.

According to the poll, 63 percent of Americans found the meeting inappropriate. Americans now overwhelmingly believe Russia interfered in the presidential election with 60 percent responding that way, but 40 percent do not think there was any interference. Republicans, however, do not believe Russia helped Trump’s campaign with only 9 percent feeling that way. Meanwhile, a slight majority 52 percent believe the president is interfering with the investigation, while 37 percent believe he is not interfering.

In general, a majority, 55 percent of Americans do not believe Trump is succeeding in his agenda and campaign promises, while only 38 percent say he is making “progress.” One of the president’s biggest campaign promises to repeal and replace the Obamacare health care law is also turning into the young presidency’s biggest failure. Although the House of Representatives passed a bill, the American Health Care Act on the second try, the Senate was not satisfied with it. This past month, the Senate failed with two incarnations of the Better Care Act, without either going to a floor debate and vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell than planned to put to a vote a years old House bill that only repeals the health care and replace in two years time., that idea has not garnered enough support for a vote. Trump, however, is demanding that the Senate not only repeal Obamacare but also replace it before the August recess or else the recess should be canceled. Now the Senate with a vote on the House bill and will add amendments.

According to the ABC News poll, Americans prefer keeping Obamacare to any alternative; Congressional Republicans are floating 50–24 percent. The House and Senate bills both cut Medicaid funding for the states. The cuts were the main reason Republican senators came out against the bill, and they were in good company. According to the ABC News poll, 63 to 27 percent of Americans believe, “it’s more important to provide health care coverage for low-income Americans than to cut taxes.”

Americans are not very confident about the president representing the country on the world’s stage either. Around 75 percent of Americans do not trust the president to “negotiate with other world leaders” especially Russia’s Vladimir Putin. While 48 percent of Americans think, the country’s world image and reputation are weaker under Trump with only 27 percent saying, “it has gotten stronger.”

The mirror image is about the same, the world does not like Trump very much. According to a recent Pew Research Survey published on June 26, and entitled “U.S. Image Suffers as Publics Around World Question Trump’s Leadership” of the over 37 nations surveyed only 22 percent have confidence in President Trump, while 74 percent have no confidence. The numbers are a sharp contrast to those of Democratic President Barack Obama, where it was the reverse, 64 percent had confidence versus 23 percent saying no confidence at the end of his term in January. The favorable view of the US is also in decline, now it is only 49 percent with a 39 percent unfavorable view. When Obama left office, there was a 20-point difference, with a 69 percent favorable view and a 26 percent unfavorable view. Of the 37 countries polled, only Israel and Russia had a better opinion on Trump’s leadership versus Obama.

Democrats claim that the reason for disapproving President Trump’s job performance has less to do with what he does in office and more to do with his personality and character. Gallup and ABC News/ Washington Post conducted separate polls looking at the way Americans view the president personally. Gallup released their poll “Trump Disapproval Rooted in Character Concerns” on July 13, and according to findings, 65 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s personality and character, with previous presidents’ disapproval was grounded in policies and job performance.

According to Gallup, only 12 percent base their disapproval on Trump’s performance as president, with 16 percent basing it on policies and issues, but an overwhelming amount of 65 percent say it is his personality and personal characteristics. For Obama at the six-month mark, it was the reverse with 65 percent disapproving of him because of his policies, while it was split with George W. Bush between policies at 31 percent and performance at 43 percent.

Apparently, Trump’s personality was a benefit on the campaign trail but a hindrance to the presidency. As Gallup analyzes, “Trump’s unique personal style, brashness, and disregard for conventional political norms and discourse — while clearly a negative for many during the campaign — helped him stand out from other Republican contenders and ultimately contributed to his victory in November.”

Gallup broke it down and found that under character and personality related, 29 percent disapprove of President Trump because he comes across as “Not presidential/Bad temperament/Arrogant/Obnoxious,” 10 percent say he is “Inexperienced/Doesn’t know what he is doing.” Every other reason was all under 10 percent including “Looking out for himself/Doesn’t consider people’s needs,” “Use of social media/Twitter” and “Untrustworthy” all at 6 percent.

Although 16 percent of Americans cite issues and policies as their reason for disapproving the president, no single issue ranked at over 4 percent including foreign policy and health care, which only garnered 3 percent. According to the poll, 12 percent disapprove of Trump because of broad performance, yet no single reason registered above 7 percent, with the most saying it is because they “Disagree with what he is doing/Doing a poor job.”

In contrast, the reasons Americans approve of the president are almost evenly distributed among the three categories, 38 percent for broad performance, 33 percent for issues and policies and 24 percent for personality and personal characteristics. Only under broad performance does Trump get double digits for specific reasons, the highest is at 12 percent for “Doing a good job/best he can under difficult circumstances,” 11 percent for “Keeping his promises” and 10 percent for “does what is best for America.” The remainder is in the single digits for every category and they represent broad and general reasons.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll entitled “Public to Trump: Lay off Twitter (POLL)” also looked at Trump’s personality finding similar negative responses as Gallup’s poll. As ABC News noted, “70 percent say he’s acted in an unpresidential manner since taking office, 68 percent don’t see him as a positive role model and 67 percent disapprove of his use of Twitter.” Additionally, 57 percent “also say that the more they hear about Trump the less they like him, vs. 29 percent who like him more.” While 56 percent find his unpresidential behavior has a negative impact and is “damaging to the presidency overall.” Here even 38 percent of Republicans claim Trump has not behaved presidential. Only 24 percent of respondents find Trump’s behavior presidential.

Although Trump calls Twitter, his way to deliver his message directly to the American public while bypassing the news media, 67 percent of Americans disapprove of him using the social media site. Looking further at the president’s Twitter post, 68 percent said the tweets were inappropriate, 65 percent find them insulting, while 52 percent went further claiming the president’s tweets are dangerous. In contrast, of those supporting Trump’s tweets, 41 percent found them “interesting,” 36 percent “effective” and 21 percent went as far as saying they were “refreshing.”

Democrats, in particular, do not like or personally approve of the president and they also want him impeached a hope and call that started even before he entered the office and has only gotten louder since he fired Comey. A Monmouth University poll published on July 17, finds that only 39 percent approve of the president, while 52 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump. The poll asked about impeachment especially with the anger surrounding Trump’s son meeting with Russian operatives.

The poll says 40 percent of Americans want the president impeached over the Russia campaign interference controversy. Democrats represent the majority calling for impeachment with 70 percent, followed by 32 percent of independents and only 12 percent of Republicans. In 1973 at the start of the Watergate scandal, only 24 percent of Americans wanted President Richard Nixon impeached. A majority of Americans also found the Russia meeting “not appropriate” with 59 percent saying that, consisting of “86 percent of Democrats, 58 percent of independents, and 28 percent of Republicans.”

To be fair, the ABC News and Washington Post poll does not have a truly fair and bipartisan pool, which they surveyed. According to their methodology the poll was skewed with responses from 35% Democrats, 35% independents and only 23% Republicans. Naturally, Democrats and Democratically leaning Independents oppose Trump; they have never given him a chance since he was elected. For an entirely, non-biased survey, those responding had to be even distributing and independents had to be truly independent not leaning towards either party.

Americans do not feel any better about the Democrats than the y do about Trump, according to the ABC News / Washington Post poll, a majority of 52 percent said the Democrats “just stands against Trump.” Of Americans that feel that way about the party, 27 percent are Democrats, 55 percent are independents” and 82 percent are Republicans. Americans do feel Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote would not have been better than Trump. A new Bloomberg poll released on July 18, gave Trump a 41 percent approval rating, but Clinton had only a 39 percent approval rating. After a campaign, the losing party nominee’s ratings usually improve, but not Clinton partially because Trump keeps attacking her. Still, 20 percent of Clinton voters now say they did not like her and have an unfavorable view of her but only 6 percent of Trump voters feel the same.

In general, Americans are discontent with the current political situation, whether it is Trump, the Democrats, or the resistance movement. We are facing a political malaise not seen since the 1970s when Democrat Jimmy Carter named a speech those fateful and politically fatal words in the aftermath of the Watergate scandal and Richard Nixon’s ouster from the presidency earlier in the decade. On July 15, 1979, Carter delivered his Malaise speech to the nation, “The threat is nearly invisible in ordinary ways. It is a crisis of confidence. It is a crisis that strikes at the very heart and soul and spirit of our national will. We can see this crisis in the growing doubt about the meaning of our own lives and in the loss of a unity of purpose for our Nation. The erosion of our confidence in the future is threatening to destroy the social and the political fabric of America….” His words could easily describe the problem the nation faces again today.

The United States now too is facing a crisis of confidence, but it is a crisis because of partisanship. Three different polls Gallup, Reuters, and even the Conservative Rasmussen Reports all indicate that Americans are overwhelmingly dissatisfied and believe the country is going on the wrong track, direction. According to the latest from Gallup from July 5–9, 2017, only 27 percent of Americans are satisfied with the country direction, while 71 percent are dissatisfied, up from 27 percent the month before. There have been lower numbers even in President Barack Obama’s time, in July 2016, October 2013, and from July 2011 to January 2012. The most recent Reuters poll published on July 20, has 58.8 percent of Americans saying the country is on the wrong track, with only 25.8 percent saying the country is moving in the right direction. The Rasmussen poll published on July 17, had similar results with 33 percent of respondents saying, “The country is heading in the right direction,” down from the mid- 40s when Trump first assumed office.

The partisanship is getting so extreme Democrats have no tolerance to speak even with Trump voters and supporters. A new Pew Research Center survey, entitled “Since Trump’s Election, Increased Attention to Politics — Especially Among Women” published on July 20, examined how Americans’ relationship to politics and friendships from opposing parties has affected them since Trump’s election. According to the poll, 47 percent of liberal Democrats find that if they had a friend that supported Trump it would put “a strain on their friendship.” Of all Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters, 35 percent say it causes a strain. The feeling is worst among White and College educated Democrats with 40 percent and 44 percent feeling that way.

Republicans are feeling in a good and forgiving mood with their party controlling the White House and only 13 percent say it would “strain on a friendship” if a Democratic friend voted for Hillary Clinton. Never mind a friendship, the partisan sentiment has become so toxic that “68 percent of Democrats and Democratic-leaning voters say they find it “stressful and frustrating” to talk to people who have a different opinion of Trump. About half — 52 percent — of Republican and GOP-leaning voters say the same.”

Americans are deeply polarized and unsatisfied with the current state of politics, with Democrats bearing the biggest burden and negative attitudes. The problem is that do not realize that the toxic atmosphere is just as bad as they deem the president is or even worse because it causes tensions in normal interactions. The deep polarization and negativity are not necessary, the economy is doing well and growing, the country and Americans are prospering even with Trump as president.

As long as the United States exists, one party will occupy the White House, while the other sits out on the sidelines. However, the Constitution guarantees elections for president every four years and for Congress every two years, guarantees freedoms for its citizens and a checks balance on each of the three branches of government. No matter Trump’s personality and character, nothing can affect the Constitution. If Americans are dissatisfied, they have put their efforts and strengths toward the next election rather than remain negative. As the polls indicate, no matter Trump’s future in the White House, he will go down in his as the most polarizing president to date.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics May 2, 2017: Trump threatens government shutdown after Congress makes funding deal

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

White House Photo

President Donald Trump is not satisfied with the budget deal Congress made this past weekend and he is threatening a government shutdown. On Tuesday morning, May 2, 2017, President Trump tweeted two posts calling for either changing the filibuster rules in the Senate or a government shutdown so the White House and Congressional Republicans could force a budget without heading to Democrats. Later in the day, Trump backtracked and praised the bill White House Rose Garden at an event honoring the Air Force Academy football team. The threat comes only two days after Congress made a bipartisan deal to fund the government through the end of the 2017 fiscal year aimed at averting a government shutdown on the GOP’s watch.

The disgruntled president took to Twitter to express his displeasure with the Congressional budget deal. Trump wrote in two tweets, “The reason for the plan negotiated between the Republicans and Democrats is that we need 60 votes in the Senate which are not there! We either elect more Republican Senators in 2018 or change the rules now to 51%. Our country needs a good “shutdown” in September to fix mess!”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan responded to the president’s concerns at a press conference on Capitol Hill Tuesday morning. Ryan commiserated, “Look, we have a long ways to go between now and September, but I share the president’s frustration. I feel good about the wins we got with the administration in this bill.”

Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shot down the president’s request to change Senate legislative rules to prevent a filibuster at 60 votes to a simple majority. McConnell replied, “That will not happen.” Continuing, the Senate leader explained, “There is an overwhelming majority on a bipartisan basis not interested in changing the way the Senate operates on the legislative calendar.”

Later, President Trump seemed to have changed his mind about the bill hailing it as a victory. Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Trump expressed, “After years of partisan bickering and gridlock, this bill is a clear win for the American people.” Continuing the President said, “We brought lawmakers together from both sides of the aisle to deliver a budget that funds the rebuilding of the United States military, makes historic investments in border security and provides health care for our miners and school choice for our disadvantaged children.” Trump also praised the increase in funds allotted for border security, claiming, “We achieved the single largest increase in border security funding in 10 years. So we have more money now for the border than we’ve gotten in 10 years,” Trump said. “The Democrats didn’t tell you that.”

At the White House Daily Press Briefing Trump’s Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney rationalized the President’s first response to the budget deal. Mulvaney explained, “I think the president is frustrated with the fact that he negotiated in good faith with the Democrats and they went out to try to spike the football and make him look bad. I get that frustration because I think it is a terrible posture for the Democrats to take.” The OMB Director did not take a possible government shutdown off the table, saying, “We’ve got a lot to do between now and September. I don’t anticipate a shutdown in September. But if negotiations — if the Democrats are not going to behave any better than they have the last couple days, it may be inevitable.”

The bipartisan budget deal reached on Sunday evening, April 30, went against President Trump’s wishes in certain key areas. There was no down payment allotted for the proposed border wall with Mexico, an important campaign pledge for the president. Neither did the budget cut funding for Planned Parenthood, something the GOP has wanted to do for a long time. Trump also wanted to cut funding for Obamacare subsidies, the budget will cover them. Sanctuary cities will also remain funded much to the president’s chagrin.

The budget does increase funding to certain key areas. There is a $15 billion increase in military spending, with $1.5 billion going to border security. The National Institute of Health will see a bump of $2 billion in funding. The Environment Protection Agency’s funding remains almost the same, but more funding is going to clean energy and science. Additionally, $68 million goes to New York and Florida to reimburse them for their state spending to protect the president and his family.

The deal also allocates more money to solve some outstanding issues, including miners’ health insurance, Puerto Rico Medicaid, transit infrastructure grants, year-round Pell Grants and fighting the opioid epidemic. There were also funded increases for national disasters in California, West Virginia, Louisiana, and North Carolina. Republicans had to cave in to Democrats’ demands on “poison pills” to avert a government shutdown, which would have been disastrous for the GOP because they control Congress and the White House.

Congress was originally set to shut down on April 29, until they passed a short-term spending bill that lasts until Friday, May 5. The House passed the bill 382–30 on Friday, April 28, the Senate followed suit, and the president signed the bill soon after averting a shutdown with a day left to the deadline. Despite his opposition to the new omnibus bill that will fund the government through September, Trump has no plans to force a shutdown now and intends to sign the bill. A budget fight, however, looms over the 2018 fiscal year, and the government could see another shutdown in October.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.

Politics April 27, 2017: Trump sees lowest 100-day marks in recent history, but is the milestone that important?

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By Bonnie K. Goodman, BA, MLIS

(Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

President Donald Trump is planning a big rally to celebrate his first 100-days in office, as polls indicate that the new president has the worst 100-day mark approval rating in recent history. President Trump announced on Saturday, April 22, 2017, via Twitter a “big rally” in Pennsylvania on April 29, the same day as his presidency becomes 100- days old. Meanwhile, Three polls released this week, two on Sunday, April 23, ABC News/Washington Postand NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll indicated Trump had a 42 and 41 percent approval rating. Days later, on Wednesday, April 26, CNN/ORC pollgave Trump a higher approval rating of 44 percent. Still, these polls show that Trump has the lowest approval rating of all elected post-World War II presidents at the 100-day mark, but does that benchmark really translate into presidential success.

The rally on Trump’s 100th day of his presidency will be held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and is sponsored by his reelection campaign. The rally will also be on the same night as the annual White House correspondents’ dinner, which Trump has long said he will not attend because of his feud with the mainstream media over their coverage of him from the campaign through his presidency. On Saturday, April 22, the president tweeted his followers, announcing the event, “Next Saturday night I will be holding a BIG rally in Pennsylvania. Look forward to it.”

Neither Trump nor is campaign is billing the event as honoring the president’s 100-days. As Trump is approaching his 100-day mark, he is downing playing the importance of the milestone. The previous day, on April 21, Trump called the 100-days a “ridiculous standard.” The President tweeted, “No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!” A White House official commented the milestone is about the voters, not the news media. The official explained, “The media is trying to make this about them when — respectively it has nothing to do with you guys. It’s about focusing on the people.”

Three polls released this past week, gave the public a chance to grade the president. An ABC News/Washington Post poll released on Sunday, April 23, saw Trump with only a 42 percent approval rating, with 53 percent of American disapproving of his job so far. People who voted for Trump, however, are not feeling buyer’s remorse, 96 percent say it was “the right thing to do,” while only two percent have any regrets.

Trump’s numbers are better when it comes to how Americans view specific actions in his presidency. An overwhelming 73 percent of Americans seem to approve of Trump’s America first policy that has “pressured companies: into keeping jobs in the country. A majority of 53 percent sees Trump as a strong leader. Concerning foreign policy, Trump is getting middling grades with dealing with an aggressive North Korea, with 46 percent approving of his tactics. Despite some good numbers, no other president elected in the post-World War II has had such low approval rating at this point in their presidency.

Another poll from NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Sunday also does not give Trump good grades. The poll found that 46 percent of Americans say the Trump presidency is “off to a poor start,” only 35 percent say it has had a “good or great start,” while 19 percent are in between saying it is a “fair start.” The NBC/WSJ poll also gave Trump a worse approval rating than the ABC News / Washington Post poll with only 40 percent. Trump’s disapproval rating is almost the same at 54 percent. Trump does get some high marks for his foreign policy, 62 percent of Americans approve of his decisive military strikes against Syria after a chemical attack on their citizens, with 50 percent approving of his course against civil-war ridden country.

The CNN/ORC poll released another poll on Wednesday evening, April 26, which found that nearly the 100-day mark, Trump had a 44 percent approval rating and a 54 percent disapproval rating. Trump’s favorability numbers are around the same as his approval rating, with the American public having a 45 percent favorable view of the president and a 53 percent unfavorable view. The numbers are very much partisan, Republicans overwhelmingly approve of the president with 85 percent saying so, while only 8 percent of Democrats say the same.

The poll was mostly negative, with a majority dissatisfied with Trump’s approach to the presidency in almost every facet. His approval ratings on some issues are as low as the 20s and 30s percent, and they have fallen since his election in November. Even his ability to change the country is now negative with only 48 percent believing he can versus 51 percent of Americans saying he cannot. The president, however, is even losing ground within his party with less satisfied with his actions and abilities on different fronts. CNN’s bleak poll indicates the honeymoon is over with Trump and the GOP and that there barely was one with the president and the majority of Americans.

CNN broke down their marks for Trump also by area; some Trump did better while others he lost ground since entering the office. The president has lost points in his handling of immigration and health care, because of his travel bans and his failed first attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare. On those issues, 60 percent of Americans disapprove of the president’s actions. Trump’s numbers are “steady” when it comes to “foreign affairs, national security and the role of commander-in-chief.” Trump is excelling with his handling of the military issues 52 percent approving, the way the country is going 54 percent and the economy at 54 percent approving.

Gallup Poll’s first quarter assessment of Trump’s presidency determined that the president’s average approval is 41 percent, while 46 percent of Americans voted for him. Trump’s approval rating is also approximately 20 percent lower than when other presidents completed their first 100-days, where the average since 1945 is 63 percent. Looking at each post-war president, the numbers show an even larger contrast. The highest showing was John F. Kennedy, who had almost double Trump’s approval rating with 81 percent in April 1961. The lowest numbers were still 17 points higher than Trump, when in April 1989; George H. W. Bush had a 58 percent approval rating.

According to Gallup, here is a rundown of the 100-day approval ratings of all elected presidents since World War II:

Barack Obama 63 Apr 2009
George W. Bush 61 Apr 2001
Bill Clinton 55 Apr 1993
George H.W. Bush 58 Apr 1989
Ronald Reagan 67 Apr 1981
Jimmy Carter 64 Apr 1977
Richard Nixon 62 Apr 1969
John Kennedy 81 Apr 1961
Dwight Eisenhower 74 Apr 1953

President Trump thinks his presidency is successful despite what polls and the press says. Trump has signed up to now 34 executive orders, more than any other president in recent history during their first 100-days. The president has had a Supreme Court Justice confirmed with Neil Gorsuch; on the world stage, he has met with many of the major leaders and asserted his military might in Syria and Afghanistan. Still, the president has not yet had any real legislative success with his major campaign promises, including repealing and replacing Obamacare, tax reform, travel and immigration ban, infrastructure plan or border wall with Mexico.

The White House boasts President Trump signed 28 new laws in first three months but most have minor, including repealing Obama-era rules, personal appointments, veterans’ recognitions, modifying programs, encouraging innovations in government agencies and one extension of an Obama era program. President Trump only saw one major bill extending health care choice for veterans, the tip of the iceberg to Trump’s lofty agenda.

Despite his protests, President Trump is planning a mad dash in the upcoming week before he reaches his 100th day. Congress failed to put the American Health Care Act to a vote in March, and but they plan to introduce the bill with amendments again this week this time with the Freedom Caucus’ endorsement. Trump also outlined his tax reform plan this week, and the White House announced that the president’s infrastructure plan has a summer deadline.

Trump’s major failure has been with his travel ban, which the administration will argue for the second time in Federal Appeals Court after an earlier ban and the present one saw injunctions halting their implementation. The president was also dealt a setback right before his 100-day when a federal judge struck down his attempt to defund sanctuary cities harboring illegal immigrants. The president’s greatest test has an April 29 deadline. President Trump will have a chance to prove his deal making skills and avert a government shutdown, the first budget showdown of his presidency.

The 100-day mark to gauge the early success or failures of the new president started with President Franklin Roosevelt (1933–1945). Roosevelt was elected in the midst of the Great Depression, with almost total economic and bank collapse and15 million or 20 percent of the American public unemployed. In this crisis, Roosevelt set the benchmark having signed 15 bills into law. Roosevelt marked his 100th day with a fireside chat, updating the American public recounted what he has accomplished in 3000 words. In his address Roosevelt explained, “I think that we all wanted the opportunity of a little quiet thought to examine and assimilate in a mental picture the crowding events of the hundred days which had been devoted to the starting of the wheels of the New Deal…We have built a granite foundation in a period of confusion.”

Early success does not mean a successful presidency and neither does early failure doom the presidency. Everywhere you look, journalists and academics are giving Trump grades for this milestone period, and many are unkind as has been the case with coverage and analysis of Trump’s campaign, transition and now presidency.

Some historians do not see the 100-day mark as important. Julian Zelizer, a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University recently told the Atlantic that grading a president at this early stage could be counterproductive. Zelizer analyzed, “Asking how presidents did in the first 100 days, usually tells us little about what is to come and might even create the exact political incentives we need to avoid.”

Meanwhile, Morton Keller, a professor emeritus of history at Brandeis University, who wrote the article with Zelizer, concurs, and does not believe historians should rush to early judgments on a Trump presidency. Keller explained, “This is no time to attempt a conclusive assessment of what the Trump presidency is up to, and where it is heading. The media savants who explain politics to the masses appear to be quite certain of their positions, varied though they are. As historians, we are duty-bound to withhold judgment when the available evidence is as varied and conflicting as, just now, it is.”

Another historian that agrees the milestone is not indicative is Fredrik Logevall, “a presidential historian and an international affairs professor at Harvard University” Logevall spoke to the Washington Post telling them, “I think what history tells us is that it’s an arbitrary benchmark. It hasn’t correlated very much with subsequent success or failure. Whether an administration has success or not really depends on the four years, or eight years if you have two terms.”

Other historians are being harsher in their assessments. Presidential historian Robert Dallek told USA Today, “At this point, I’d give him essentially a failing grade.” Dallek pointed out, “There are no legislative accomplishments, zero,” the plan to repeal and replace the Obamacare “seems to be in suspended animation.” Dallek is probably making an extreme assessment than most. Even the mainstream media Trump calls fake news are running articles that share the view that 100-day s do not indicate the successes or failures of an entire presidency neither do they foreshadow what is to come.

While Roosevelt’s legislative accomplishments were unique, other presidents have passed lasting legislation in their first 100 days. Lyndon Johnson (1963–1969), Barack Obama (2009–2017), and George W. Bush (2001–2009). John son and Obama had the best legislative success, because their party, the Democrats concurrently controlled both Houses of Congress, and were popular with their party. Circumstances surrounding their entry to the presidency also made passing their agenda more urgent.

Johnson, who had been Senate Majority Leader when Kennedy tapped him for Vice President, was known as the Master of Senate. Johnson was the first of the two post-war presidents who were not elected; he came into power after Kennedy’s assassination. In his first 100-days, Johnson was able to ride the wave of pursuing Kennedy’s agenda and had legislative victories with most notably the Civil Rights Act. In his first 100 days after he was elected with a landslide victory in 1964, that saw Democratic control of Congress, Johnson continued to have legislative success with the bulk of his Great Society program, including, “the Voting Rights Act, Elementary and Secondary Education Act, immigration reform, and Medicare and Medicaid.” After the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, Johnson became mired in Vietnam, which ended his legislative strike and any more expansion of his Great Society.

Obama was also able to catch the legislative magic in his first 100-days after his historic election becoming the first African-American president. After the 2008 election, Congress remained controlled by the Democrats, leading to a string of victories for the new president, including, “the Recovery Act, U.S. auto industry bailout, the Dodd-Frank financial reforms, and then a year later in 2010, his legacy making legislation the Affordable Care Act. Obama never had more legislative success after Democrats lost the House of Representatives in the 2010-midterm elections. Obama like Roosevelt inherited a country in economic turmoil, this time a Great Recession where Democrats gave him a blank check to pursue his agenda.

When the same party controls the White House, Congress a president can more easily pursue his legislative agenda, that was not the case with Carter, and neither is turning out to be with Trump. The reason, both were outsiders elected against the Washington establishment and then found resistance from within their party in Congress. In 1976, Carter was an outsider with an ambitious agenda that failed in his first 100-days, planned legislation included “tax reform, infrastructure, and energy independence.” Carter did not have the relationship with Congress, the Washington insiders he needed to make his campaign promises a reality. Trump is facing the same problem with the plan to repeal and replace Obamacare; he is facing resistance from not only Democrats but also different factions of the GOP, including the ultra-conservative Freedom Caucus.

Both Clinton and George W. Bush had successes and failures early in their presidencies. In 1993, Clinton raised taxes with the help of a Democratic-controlled Congress but faced a backlash for his “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy for gays in the military. In 2001, Bush cut taxes as Reagan did 20 years before and laid out the groundwork for his education legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act. Bush, however, was later blamed for the 9/11 terrorist attacks for not heeding the signs of a major terrorist attack on the nation. In 1981, Reagan successfully cut taxes, but his 100-days were rocked with an attempted assassination attempt two months after taking office, earning him goodwill with Congress, but cutting his accomplishments in that milestone period.

Foreign policy has been the cause of two post-war presidents stumbling in their first 100-days. Kennedy and George H. W. Bush faced tests too early in their presidencies that were failures. In 1961, Kennedy continued with his predecessor Dwight D. Eisenhower’s planned coup in Communist Cuba to get rid of its leader Fidel Castro. Kennedy’s Administration altered the original invasion plan and the “Bay of Pigs” became Kennedy’s biggest blunder of his new presidency coming just days before his 100th day. In 1989, Bush also was confronted with Cold War crises and his administration blundered. Bush had to deal with the Tiananmen Square massacre and then later in the year after a failed coup as Kennedy did, but this time, it was in Panama.

In 1993, Clinton probably faced the greatest national security threat in his first 100 days than any other post-World War II president. Just barely a month after Clinton assumed the presidency; terrorists bombed the garage in the World Trade Center in New York. The attack that killed six and injured 1000 saw the perpetrators face the criminal justice system. Clinton never wanted to acknowledge the attack as terrorism, which allowed al-Qaeda to ramp up their attacks on the US. Afterward, there were bombings in 1998 of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and then in 2000 on the USS Cole. Clinton responded with targeted missile attacks but never did more to solve the increasing problem and danger. Clinton’s actions after the attack might not have seemed like a failure at the time, but in retrospect, after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Clinton’s inaction was the greatest 100-days failure because it led to the greatest terrorist attack on American soil.

In the post-World War period, only Ford fared worse in the polls than Trump at the 100-day mark, mostly because he pardoned Nixon after he resigned from the presidency in August 1974, which led to Ford assuming the office. While the other presidents’ had higher approval ratings than Trump does at the 100-day mark, most had some failures or setbacks in that early period and their major legislative successes and the policy that defined their presidencies came later, for other they never could recapture that early success. Periods of crises have led to the most productive first 100-days out of necessity, like Roosevelt, Johnson, and Obama.

The problem is the benchmark Roosevelt created has pressured many of his successors, including Johnson, Nixon and even Trump. Despite his successes, Johnson wanted to pass the most legislation as possible; Nixon created the Hundred Days Group and during the campaign, Trump made his “Contract With the American Voter” in a speech at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The contract was “a 100-day action plan to Make America Great Again.”

Trump promised in his contract, “On November 8th, Americans will be voting for this 100-day plan to restore prosperity to our economy, security to our communities and honesty to our government. This is my pledge to you.” Among those pledges were 10 bills including repealing and replacing Obamacare on his first day in office. The president’s goals were too lofty. Kennedy, although the youngest elected in the post-war period, he was also the wisest when it came to the presidential milestone. In his inaugural address, he expressed, “All this will not be finished in the first 100 days. Nor will it be finished in the first 1,000 days, nor in the life of this administration … but let us begin.”

The 100-day mark is too early in a presidency to determine success or failure. Neither is looking at Roosevelt’s accomplishments a fair standard. Each presidency and their time are different. Trump was the only president in history to be elected without a political or military background. The first weeks were chaos not only from within the White House but the negative response from the press and public that made governing difficult. Now, cooler heads are prevailing and despite some negativity and bias, Trump is being treated, as a president should from the press, Democrats, and dissenters within the Republican Party. With that in mind, Trump’s next 100-days could be more worthy of watching and marking than his first.

Bonnie K. Goodman BA, MLIS (McGill University), is a journalist, librarian, historian & editor. She is a former Features Editor at the History News Network & reporter at Examiner.com where she covered politics, universities, religion and news. She has a dozen years experience in education & political journalism.