Another year of the Trump administration: Many Americans see little accomplished

January 18, 2019, 3:00 PM GMT+0

58% of Americans say Donald Trump is a bad role model for children

Americans see the next year of the Trump Administration as not much different from the first and second: there is much to do, and low expectations for the incumbent. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, conducted on the eve of the second anniversary of the Inauguration, more believe Donald Trump will go down in history as a “poor” President than they did in his first or second year as President.

Two-thirds of Republicans have consistently said they believe Mr. Trump would go down in history as “outstanding” or at least as “above average,” while Democrats have been negative. (In contrast, Republicans have been negative about Barack Obama’s place in history and Democrats say the opposite.) But the biggest changes have come from political independents. The share of independents who say the President will go down as a “poor” President has doubled.

President Trump is not the only modern President who is criticized by many people, though far more think he’s likely to be evaluated by history as a “poor” President than say that about other recent occupants of the Oval Office. One in four think Barack Obama, the president’s immediate predecessor, was a “poor” President. That’s primarily because a majority of Republicans (55%) say that about the Democrat who led the country from 2009 to 2017. The Obama assessments are worse than those for five other recent Presidents: Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush.

There has been no change in the public’s assessment of the first President Bush since his death last year.

As for expectations for the next year of the Trump Presidency, they are extremely low. Just about half the public (49%) believes the President will accomplish less in his third year in office than Presidents usually do. Less than half that percentage (23%) think he accomplish more.

There are, as might be expected, large party differences on this question. Expectations are even lower than they were a year ago. More now think he will get less done in his third year than usual for Presidents than said he would get less done than usual in his second year in January 2018, on the first anniversary of his Inauguration.

Nearly half (and sometimes more) rate some of President Trump’s management skills below those of other recent Presidents, a rebuke to a man who campaigned on his business acumen.

  • 56% say he is less organized than the other Presidents who served after World War II.
  • 47% describe him as less intelligent
  • 49% say he is less competent
  • 44% think he works less hard than other Presidents have

By much more than two to one, the public says Donald Trump is not a good role model for children. While nearly half of Republicans disagree, 21% agree with the majority.

More than half say the President has spent too little time on reducing the budget deficit, improving education and improving the environment. One in three believe he has spent too much time on immigration and on trying to repeal the Affordable Care Act. However, in the last year, immigration has become the dominant GOP issue. One year ago, 15% of Republicans said immigration was the country’s most important issue. Now, 26% of Republicans say that, making it the GOP base’s most important issue.

President Trump’s approval rating has hovered around 40% throughout most of his Presidency. A year ago, 42% approved. Today, in the middle of a government shutdown, 39% do.

But there is only limited support among Republicans for a 2020 primary challenge to the President. 26% of Republicans would like to see someone challenge Mr. Trump in the primaries, but 61% don’t want a challenge. One year ago, 31% of Republicans said they wanted someone to challenge the President.

See full toplines and tables results.

Image: Getty