A majority of voters disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his post as president-elect, according to a new poll released Tuesday yet another sign Trump has failed to win over skeptical Americans in the weeks leading up to his inauguration.
Only 37 percent of voters approve of Trump’s performance during the historic transition, the Quinnipiac University poll shows. But 51 percent disapprove including wide majorities among the groups most hostile to Trump during the presidential campaign.
Trump’s approval rating among male voters is at parity: 43 percent of men approve of his performance, and the same percentage disapproves. But 59 percent of female voters disapprove of Trump’s performance, while just 31 percent approve.
Outgoing President Barack Obama, on the other hand, earns high ratings in his final days in the White House. Obama, who will deliver a farewell address later Tuesday, has a 55-percent approval rating, the poll shows his best score in a Quinnipiac poll in seven years. Only 39 percent disapprove of Obama’s job performance.
“President Barack Obama leaves the White House a lot more popular than Donald Trump is as he crosses the threshold and saddles up for the most important job in the world,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll.
Comparing the two men head-to-head, 34 percent of voters think Trump will be a better president than Obama – fewer than the 45 percent who think Trump will be worse than his Democratic predecessor. Fifteen percent say Trump will be about the same.
Overall, only 12 percent of voters expect Trump to be a “great” president. Thirty percent think the first-time candidate will be a “good” president, while 20 percent say he will be a “not-so-good” president. Nearly a third, 32 percent, say Trump will be a “bad” president.
Still, 52 percent of voters say they are “generally optimistic about the next four years” with Trump in the White House, while 43 percent are pessimistic. Forty-five percent say Trump will take the nation in right direction slightly fewer than the 49 percent who expect the Republican to lead the nation in the wrong direction.
Trump scores low ratings on a number of personal characteristics: A 53-percent majority says he is not honest, 52 percent think he doesn’t care about average Americans and 62 percent say he isn’t “level-headed.”
But 71 percent describe Trump as “a strong person,” 68 percent call him intelligent and a 49-percent plurality say Trump has good leadership skills.
“President-elect Trump gets points for strength and intelligence, but voters’ feelings about his personality traits, empathy, leadership and level-headedness, are headed south,” Malloy said.
Asked whether Trump’s behavior since the election has made them feel better about him as president, 23 percent of voters say it has, but 28 percent say it has made them feel worse. Nearly half, 47 percent, say Trump’s behavior over the past two months hasn’t changed how they view him.
Trump’s proposed Cabinet has yet to win over most voters. Only 30 percent say they approve of the individuals Trump has nominated to serve in his Cabinet, while 40 percent disapprove. Twenty-eight percent of voters say they haven’t heard enough about Trump’s nominees to have an opinion.
Confirmation hearings for Attorney General-designate Jeff Sessions kicked off on Tuesday, but voters are lukewarm on the Alabama senator’s nomination, the poll shows. Just 29 percent approve of Trump’s choice of Sessions, while 34 percent disapprove and 35 percent haven’t heard enough about it.
That’s slightly better than the ratings for Secretary of State-designate Rex Tillerson, whose confirmation hearings are slated to begin on Wednesday. Just 23 percent of voters approve of Trump’s pending nomination of Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO, while 35 percent disapprove. Four-in-10 voters haven’t heard enough about Tillerson to form an opinion.
Also on Wednesday, Trump is scheduled to hold a press conference at which it’s expected the real-estate magnate will outline how he intends to wall off his personal financial interests as president. The vast majority of voters, 72 percent, support a review of Trump’s finances “to identify possible conflicts of interest that may interfere with his job as president,” the Quinnipiac poll shows. And roughly two-thirds, 66 percent, say Trump should place all of his business holdings into a “blind trust.”
Six-in-10 voters say they are concerned Trump “would veto a law that would be good for the country because it would hurt his business interests” including 40 percent who are “very concerned” Trump would place his own personal interests over the country’s.
The poll was conducted January 5-9, surveying 899 registered voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.