President Trump ripped into the media Feb. 16 and said his administration “is running like a fine-tuned machine.” (Reuters)
For those interested in seeking adulation and acclaim, it’s easy to see why running for president might hold appeal. For a year, two years, you get to be one of the most-talked about people in the most powerful country in the world; on the off-chance that your bid is successful, you then get to extend that attention streak for four more years. That’s six years, minimum, that the country — if not the world — is holding you at the forefront of its attention and consideration.
But there is a downside: The country may not like what it sees.
Two polls released this week offer that downside to President Trump. New surveys from Quinnipiac University and McClatchy-Marist reveal that Trump — never terribly popular nationally — continues to be seen as dishonest, a poor leader and unstable.
What’s more, the U.S. is embarrassed by him.
Note, as will be the case throughout these results, that there’s a wide partisan split on this question. Democrats almost uniformly describe themselves as embarrassed. Republicans describe themselves as proud. (According to the pollsters, those feelings are strong among those who describe themselves as stronger partisans, too.) Overall, though, thanks in part to a majority of independents saying that they’re embarrassed, 58 percent of the country uses that term to describe its feelings about Trump’s first month in office.
What’s more, Quinnipiac’s polling found that concerns about Trump’s personality that haunted him throughout the campaign have not been ameliorated much.
A majority of Americans still see Trump as not honest.
A majority of Americans see Trump as lacking leadership skills.
A majority of Americans still see Trump as not being level-headed.
A majority of Americans do see him as intelligent …
… but a majority also think that Trump doesn’t share their values.
Trump has continually insisted — despite not moderating his aggressive campaign rhetoric at any point and despite moving quickly and unilaterally to make his pledges reality — that he seeks to unify the United States. So far, Americans don’t think he’s being very successful.
Trump won the presidency by embracing a core group of conservative Republicans that has continued to stand staunchly by his side ever since — and doing little to lure anyone else to his side. He won by running against a flawed Democratic candidate who won more votes — as predicted by national polls like the ones cited above — but fumbled the electoral college. If Trump’s desired outcome was to advance to the presidency and then lead an adoring nation through four ecstatic years, polling suggests that he hasn’t yet figured out how to make that happen.
Given that Americans see him as divisive, hot-tempered, dishonest and adrift from their values, polling also suggests that the country is skeptical that he can.