White House

1 in 3 voters give President Trump a grade F

President Donald Trump departs after speaking at a women's empowerment panel, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington.
President Donald Trump departs after speaking at a women's empowerment panel, Wednesday, March 29, 2017, in the East Room of the White House in Washington. AP

After more than two months in office, America’s new president, Republican Donald Trump, got a grade of F from 1 in 3 voters, according to a new McClatchy-Marist Poll.

By contrast, the same number graded predecessor Democrat Barack Obama’s performance a B as he approached his 100th day in office.

“Every time he speaks . . . it is so negative,” said Whitni Milton, 31, a professional singer from Atlanta who participated in the poll. “I have never seen someone who has riled up so many people.”

Milton, who generally votes for Democrats but was so disgusted with both candidates that she sat out the presidential election in November, said she would gladly take the last Republican president, George W. Bush, over Trump. “I am not a Bush supporter,” she said. “I will take Bush 10 times over.”

By 42-36 percent, voters thought President Donald Trump is changing the country for the worse. Nineteen percent said there was no real change, while 4 percent were unsure.

Only 38 percent of registered voters said they approved of the job Trump is doing as president, compared with 51 percent who disapproved. That’s down 3 percentage points since mid-February, and is considerably lower than other presidents at comparable times in their presidencies.

Independents approve of the job Trump is doing by 34-52 percent, while Democrats approve by 9-84 percent. Republicans approve by 79-10 percent, which are strong numbers, though they have gone down 3 points since February.

“There’s no honeymoon,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in New York, which conducted the survey. “He’s spending political capital that he didn’t acquire on Election Day. And he hasn’t done anything to cultivate it.”

By 38-53 percent, voters have a favorable impression of Trump. Independents have a favorable impression by 33-55 percent, Democrats by 10-85 percent and Republicans by 78-14 percent.

Trump supporters from across the country discuss how the President is doing fulfilling campaign promises, selecting his cabinet, and coming up against hurdles. Hear from a few Americans as they share their perspective on how things are going so fa

Miringoff said Trump’s eroding Republican support was a “dangerous sign” and that if it continued to go down the president would have more trouble getting his priorities through the GOP-led Congress.

Last week, Trump suffered his first major legislative setback on one of the biggest promises he’d made on the campaign trail: repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. He is now eyeing changes to the tax code, curbing illegal immigration, pumping more money into the nation’s crumbling roads and bridges, and approving a budget to keep the federal government running. Unless Congress and Trump agree on a spending plan by April 28, the government faces a partial shutdown.

By 45-39 percent, voters thought President Donald Trump has strengthened the economy. Seventeen percent were unsure.

Voters gave Trump the following grades: A, 15 percent; B, 22 percent; C, 15 percent; D, 15 percent; F, 32 percent. By comparison, they gave Obama: A, 23 percent; B, 35 percent; C, 20 percent; D, 11 percent; F, 11 percent.

Many attribute their disapproval more to Trump’s personality, including his blunt language on Twitter, than his policies.

Nearly 6 in 10 voters —59 percent — said Trump’s conduct as president embarrassed them, according to the poll. Only 31 percent said his conduct made them proud, while 9 percent were unsure.

Even more — 70 percent, including 45 percent of Republicans and three-quarters of independents — found Trump’s regular use of Twitter reckless and distracting. Only 19 percent said it was effective and informative, while 11 percent were unsure.

Sixty percent of voters said they did not trust Trump and his administration to deliver accurate and factual information to the public, either at all or not very much. Thirty-nine percent said they trusted them a great deal or a good amount.


“When did it become acceptable to lie?” asked Steven Vereen, 52, a self-employed river logger from Murrells Inlet, South Carolina. “I can’t understand how we elected him.”

Trump’s presidency has been in chaos since his first day in office.

An appeals court rejected his sweeping temporary halt on immigration from six Muslim-majority countries. His national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was fired after he lied to Vice President Mike Pence. A seemingly endless stream of leaks from the White House and federal agencies has caused him one headache after another.

Just last week, FBI Director James Comey confirmed that his agency is investigating possible collusion between Trump campaign advisers and Russia, an inquiry that could take years to conclude.

How much do voters trust the Trump administration? A great deal, about 15 percent said; a good amount, about 22 percent said; not very much, about 21 percent; not at all, about 40 percent; unsure, about 3 percent.

No matter what they think of him, many Americans thought he is fulfilling his campaign promises. Thirty-nine percent agreed and 18 percent strongly agreed that he is doing what he pledged. Only 20 percent disagreed and 19 percent strongly disagreed. Four percent were unsure.

Trump made many grandiose promises during the campaign about what he wanted to accomplish immediately upon taking office. He immediately withdrew from the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement, revived plans to build the Keystone XL Pipeline and announced plans to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border.

But 57 percent thought his policies have most favored people who are upper-income, while 26 percent thought they have favored middle-income. Only 4 percent thought they have favored lower-income.

Trump, a businessman turned reality TV star, entered the White House as the least popular president in at least four decades following a bruising campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Adam Marquart, 26, an independent voter with disabilities who lives in Lake Ozark, Missouri, said he’d given Trump an F — and wanted to give him an F minus — for not telling the truth, including his failure to replace the Affordable Care Act.

“He said he can do all this stuff that he can’t freaking do,” he said. “We should not have a celebrity be a president or a politician.”

How the survey was conducted

This survey of 1,062 adults was conducted March 22-27 by The Marist Poll, sponsored and funded in partnership with McClatchy. People 18 and older residing in the contiguous United States were contacted on landline or mobile numbers and interviewed in English by telephone using live interviewers. Mobile telephone numbers were randomly selected based on a list of telephone exchanges from throughout the nation from Survey Sampling International. The exchanges were selected to ensure that each region was represented in proportion to its population. Mobile phones are treated as individual devices. After validation of age, personal ownership and non-business use of the mobile phone, interviews are typically conducted with the person answering the phone. To increase coverage, this mobile sample was supplemented by respondents reached through random dialing of landline phone numbers from ASDE Survey Sampler Inc. Within each landline household, a single respondent is selected through a random selection process to increase the representativeness of traditionally undercovered survey populations. The samples were then combined and balanced to reflect the 2013 American Community Survey one-year estimates for age, gender, income, race and region. Results are statistically significant within ±3.0 percentage points. There are 906 registered voters. The results for this subset are statistically significant within ±3.3 percentage points. The error margin was not adjusted for sample weights and increases for cross-tabulations.

Related stories from McClatchy DC