A new poll released by CNN/ORC shows that a majority of Americans are optimistic about President-elect Donald Trump's impending presidency. According to the poll, 53 percent of Americans believe that Trump will do either a "fairly good" or "very good" job as president, compared with only 44 percent who believe he will do a "fairly poor" or "very poor" job as president. Voters are fairly evenly split on whether Trump's actions since his surprise Election Day win have helped them feel more confident (48 percent) or less confident (43 percent) that he will do a good job as president.
Voters are most confident in Trump's ability to deal with the economy, with 40 percent expressing "a lot of confidence" that he will do a good job dealing with the economy and an additional 25 percent expressing "some confidence."
Confidence in Trump's ability to handle foreign policy is markedly lower, with a healthy plurality (49 percent) saying they have "no real confidence" in his ability to manage U.S. foreign policy well. Voters are also skeptical of his ability to "appoint the best people to office," with a plurality (45 percent) saying they have "no real confidence" in Trump in that regard.
Overall, however, the numbers are positive for Trump as he begins his term. A majority (60 percent) of voters believe that Trump will "create good jobs in economically challenged areas." A healthy majority (73 percent) believe that he will "repeal and replace the health care law known as Obamacare." A majority (64 percent) also believe that he will renegotiate NAFTA. Voters are almost exactly evenly split on whether he will "defeat ISIS" or "reduce the amount of government corruption in Washington" and are more skeptical that he will "build a wall on the border with Mexico," a signature campaign promise. A narrow majority (51 percent) believes that he is unlikely to do so, compared with 48 percent who believe he is either very likely or somewhat likely to do so.
One area where Trump lags significantly behind other first-term presidents-elect is in his personal popularity. Trump is viewed favorably by 47 percent of Americans, compared to 50 percent who view him unfavorably. This is an all-time high in favorability for Trump in the CNN/ORC poll; however, it is drastically lower than any recent president-elect at this point during the presidential transition. President Barack Obama was viewed favorably by 67 percent of voters as he began his first term, compared with only 13 percent who viewed him unfavorably. After a remarkably contentious general election in 2000, George W. Bush was viewed favorably by 60 percent of Americans as he began his transition, compared to 34 percent who viewed him unfavorably. President Bill Clinton began his first term with 58 percent of Americans having a favorable opinion of him, compared to only 20 percent who had an unfavorable opinion.
These findings suggest that Trump remains, on a personal level, the most polarizing figure to assume the presidency in the modern era. However, despite the lack of a "honeymoon" that presidents-elect typically enjoy, Americans remain optimistic about what Trump will do as president. However, his lack of any cache of personal popularity means that the American public might not be prepared to extend Trump as much leeway as he navigates a difficult political situation.