Americans have little confidence in President-elect Donald Trump’s abilities to handle his presidential duties, with less than half of Americans saying they trust him to prevent major scandals, handle an international crisis, or use military force responsibly.
According to a Gallup poll released Monday, Americans have significantly less faith in Trump than they had in his predecessors. Only 44% said they are confident Trump will avoid major scandals in his Administration, 46% said they are confident in Trump’s ability to handle an international crisis, and 47% said they trust him to use military force wisely. When the same questions were asked at the start of Barack Obama’s, George W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s terms, roughly three-quarters of Americans said they had confidence in the newly elected President in these areas.
When compared with Gallup’s averages of confidence polling in his predecessors, Trump comes up short: he has a 32-point confidence deficit in his ability to avoid scandals in his Administration, a 29-point deficit in his ability to use military force well and a 28-point deficit in his ability to manage the Executive Branch. Most Americans (60%) believe Trump will be able to get things done with Congress, but even there he comes up far behind his predecessors — the average number of Americans with confidence in Obama, Bush and Clinton to work with Congress was 82%.
The data also reflects a more polarized America than Obama or Bush faced when they came into office. On average, only 21% of Democrats have confidence in Trump’s ability to handle the various responsibilities of the presidency. By contrast, roughly two-thirds of Republicans had some confidence in Obama and the same was true for Bush and Democrats. But Trump even has a confidence deficit among members of his own party: only 84% of Republicans have confidence in his abilities as President, compared with 94% of Democrats who trusted Obama and 95% of Republicans who had faith in Bush.