As 2017 draws to a close, those tracking Donald Trump’s approval ratings have run out of ways to show just how rotten they are compared with other newly elected presidents. FiveThirtyEight’s latest average pegs Trump’s approval rating at 37.2 percent–the lowest for any newly elected president at this stage since opinion polling began in 1945.
But a new poll from NBC News and The Wall Street Journal sheds more light on just how dire Trump’s situation is even at this early stage. Just 36 percent of Americans say they are willing to even consider giving Trump another term in 2020.
Granted, we’re some three years from Election Day 2020, and things could change a lot in that time. But NBC News found an interesting parallel between how the nation feels about Trump and how the nation felt about Bill Clinton at the end of his first year in office.
NBC News/WSJ poll: Will you vote for President Trump if he runs for reelection?
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 20, 2017
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll taken at this stage in December 1993 found that 42 percent were willing to give Clinton another term, while 33 percent were willing to vote for a Republican challenger. By comparison, a whopping 52 percent of respondents in December 2017 are willing to vote for a Democratic challenger to Trump. Even allowing for it being very early in Trump’s presidency, this is absolutely brutal.
What is more, while only 14 percent of 1993 respondents had already made up their minds to vote Clinton out in 1996, 38 percent of December 2017 respondents said they will definitely vote for a Democrat. Having cut my political teeth during the Clinton years and seen the venom he faced, it’s surprising to see how few Americans had already turned hard against him. Maybe that’s because Clinton at least tried to reach across the aisle, while Trump isn’t.
The poll’s other findings are no less brutal. Only 26 percent of respondents believe Trump will be a successful president, while 44 percent don’t think he will be successful. Trump is losing ground among some of the very demographics that helped him eke out a narrow Electoral College win. Only 47 percent of whites without a college degree are willing to support him in 2020. Trump took 66 percent of that demographic over Hillary Clinton. Only 43 percent of rural voters are willing to vote for him in 2020; Trump won 61 percent of them in 2016.
Apparently Trump is a major drag on the GOP, as 50 respondents favor a Democratic-controlled Congress, while just 38 percent want the Republicans to keep control. Democrats are also more trusted to look after the middle class, change the way Washington works, and deal with taxes and the overall economy.
NBC News has long been one of Trump’s favorite targets for being branded “fake news.” But as I write this on Wednesday night, Trump hasn’t taken the time from patting himself on the back for the passage of his massive “tax reform” bill to take a swipe at NBC. Maybe it’s because the right-leaning Wall Street Journal also stands behind this poll. But it’s just as likely that Trump knows deep down that he is uniting the country–against him.
(featured image courtesy Gage Skidmore, available under a Creative Commons BY-SA license)