Donald Trump is a very public perception-sensitive individual. He routinely touts poll numbers that cast him in a positive light, and he takes repeated and very grave issue with negative depictions of his administration in the media. The media, to be clear, just reports the news; if Trump doesn’t like some of the negativity, he should cut it off at its root.
Considering these factors, Trump could not exactly be expected to like some new poll numbers if he learns of them. In a poll conducted by the Pew Research Center last month, Americans named Barack Obama more than any other president when asked for the commander-in-chief they believed had done the best job during their lifetimes. Overall, 44 percent of respondents named Obama as a top performing president; 31 percent had him as their first choice for the best and 13 percent had him as their second choice.
Only ten percent of respondents named Trump as their first choice for the best performing president in their lifetimes. Nine percent had him as their second choice.
According to this poll, then, fewer than one in five Americans think the current U.S. president deserves a spot among the top two best performing presidents in their lifetimes. What a world.
There’s been a shift in support for at least a couple modern presidents since the same poll was conducted in October 2011, which was towards the beginning of Barack Obama’s time in office. At that time, only 7 percent of respondents picked Obama as their first choice for the best performing modern president they could remember, and 13 percent picked him as their second choice.
The surge in support for Obama seems to have come from individuals who formerly would have named Bill Clinton as the best performing U.S. commander-in-chief of their lives. In 2011, 34 percent of respondents gave him that title — and in the recently completed poll, only 13 percent of respondents held onto that support.
The portion of respondents who picked Clinton as either the best or second best performing president in their lifetimes went down 16 percent since 2011. At that time, that total was 49 percent; now, it’s 33.
There has not been a major change in the public’s view of any other modern president since 2011. Big names like George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan, and John F. Kennedy are all within a few points of where they were in 2011.
There’s an unsurprising difference in how differently affiliated individuals view the current president and the most recent one, with 71 percent of Democrats and Democratic leaning individuals naming Obama as the best or second best president they could remember and only 13 percent of Republicans and Republican leaning individuals doing the same.
If Trump wants to garner the support of larger portions of the U.S. population, he would do well to shift the overall course of his administration’s policy. However, it’s not as though there’s some broad expectation that he’s going to do that. He continues to dig into his present positions and seek, seemingly, to please his base at the expense of everyone else. Just this week, he continued on with his antagonism of U.S. allies while at a NATO summit overseas, demanding they pay more for their own defense — “or else,” basically.
Featured Image via Chris Kleponis/Pool via Bloomberg