In the face of abysmal polling, does Trump care about uniting the country?
It’s not very often that this blog would analyse in any detail the findings of a poll from Fox News, but this one should have the incoming Trump team and the Republican Party sitting up and thinking.
As the President-elect gains the keys to the White House, polling by the American right’s favourite TV channel finds that 55 per cent of respondents feel that the US is better off now than before Barack Obama was elected President. He leaves office with a poll giving him a 55 per cent approval rating.
Compare that to Donald Trump. Just 37 per cent of those questioned approve of the way he has handled the transition, with 57 per cent disapproving.
The poll went on to read to those questioned the names of several individuals and items to establish if they had a favourable or unfavourable opinion of each one.
It found that 60 per cent had a favourable review of Barack Obama, with 50 per cent having a favourable view of Obamacare, head of the 48 per cent who had an unfavourable view of it.
47 per cent of those polled by Fox News had a favourable opinion of the Democratic Party compared to 41 per cent who said the same about the Republicans.
More startling still, 43 per cent had a favourable view of Hilary Clinton, ahead of the 42 per cent who said the same about Donald Trump.
Asked about which statement came closest to their view of the country, 34 per cent agreed with the statement that ‘we’re all in this together’, compared to the 60 per cent who agreed that ‘it’s everyone for themselves’.
With the repeal of Obamacare the number one priority for Republicans in Congress and, soon to be, the White House, just 23% of those questioned supported repealing it entirely. 34% called for the repeal of certain bits, 28% supported expanding it and 13% want it left as it is.
With the repeal of the Obamacare legislation however looking imminent, 74 per cent said that in this scenario they would want it replaced with something else whilst 82 cent said that the repeal of Obamacare should not happen until a replacement in ready first. 56 per cent believed that it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to ensure that American have health care. 41 per cent disagreed.
Faced with such polling from the most pro-Conservative news channel in the US, Donald Trump’s message of unity during his speech later today will need to be match by action to prove he means it. For as Theresa May is finding, talk of healing and bringing a nation together is cheap and easy, making it happen is an uphill struggle.
In an editorial the New York Times openly questioned Trump’s desire, never mind ability, to become the healer in chief. As it notes:
“Fellow Republicans like Senator John McCain openly wonder whether Mr. Trump’s chief obsession is to ‘engage with every windmill that he can find’, rather than to focus on ‘the most important position on earth.’
“This is the question haunting Mr. Trump’s inauguration. Is he up to the job of uniting and leading the nation — of achieving and sustaining the tone that Americans for generations have called presidential? Or will self-absorption and free-flowing peevishness be the hallmarks of an era of domestic and global crises, stirred up by grossly uninformed perceptions of reality?”
“Poll numbers suggest that the public already has lost heart during the transition, rating Mr. Trump the least popular president-elect of modern times. Mr. Trump, of course, reacted with a fresh Twitter attack that the polls were ‘rigged’. Sad, as he likes to say, that he did not realize that the nation, and his standing, would be better served by a hint of humility and resolve to win over all Americans. Instead we had more ‘Trump Lashes Out …’ headlines.”
Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot ForwardLike this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.