Majority Of Americans Unhappy With Trump Transition, New Poll Shows

Published January 10, 2017
Updated January 16, 2018
Published January 10, 2017
Updated January 16, 2018

Two new polls shine light on how Americans view the ever-nearing reality of Donald Trump's presidency.

Trump Transition1

Ty Wright/Getty Images

President-elect Donald Trump’s approach to the transition process has not inspired much faith in his future constituents, according to a new poll from Pew Research Center.

With inauguration day looming, only 39% of respondents approve of how Trump has explained his policies and plans to the American people.

This score seems especially low when compared to the 70% approval rating President Obama received as he transitioned into office eight years ago.

The national survey, which was taken by 1,502 adults January 4-9, also revealed interesting trends regarding Americans’ thoughts on Trump’s tax returns, his cabinet picks, and the increasingly evident divide among social, political and racial groups in America.

Conflicts of Interest

Though concerns about Trump’s ability to prioritize the country over his own business interests have decreased since December, 57% of respondents still have doubts. This indicates an 8% decline in concern over the last month.

Tax Returns

60% of the public maintains that Trump has a responsibility to release his tax returns. Among Republicans, 38% hold this view.


58% of Americans think Trump will be too impulsive when it comes to making important decisions, with a staggering 94% of liberal calling Trump’s behavior frighteningly rash.

This fear may be influenced by the president-elect’s proclivity to angrily tweet at anyone who disagrees with him — including one of the most well-liked actresses of all time, Meryl Streep.

Just guessing.

Cabinet Choices

In January 2009, 66% of the public approved of Obama’s cabinet choices and other high-level appointments. For Trump, only 41% feel the same.

A sizable proportion of those polled didn’t know who many of the cabinet choices were. Only 34% of those surveyed were able to recall the name of any one of the people Trump has chosen to serve in his administration.

Involvement in Governing

Only 50% of the public foresee Trump actually running the government. 43% believe that others — primarily vice president-elect Mike Pence — will do that for him.

This number is, at least, better than that received by President George W. Bush. When he came into office, only 34% of the public thought he’d be running the show.

Demographic Divides

More than anything, the election of Donald Trump has brought to light the depth of the fissures in American society.

The results of this poll suggest that these divides have stayed clear and strong throughout the transition period.

Overall, 72% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Americans expressed approval of Trump at this point in time. 83% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning Americans expressed disapproval.

62% of women disapprove, compared with only 48% of men.

Amongst racial groups, 46% of white people approve of Trump’s transition performance, while 69% of black people and 68% of Hispanic people think differently.

Young people continue to show a strong resistance to Trump, giving him a 61% disapproval rating. 49% of those aged 65 and older disapprove.

The largest difference (other than those stemming from political leanings) can be seen in the education levels of those surveyed. 72% of people with postgraduate degrees expressed disapproval of Trump.

People with a high school level of education or less were the most optimistic about our new president. But even within that demographic, 47% said they disapproved and only 46% said they approved of the job Trump’s done so far.


These numbers suggest that Donald Trump faces an uphill battle in garnering public support — which is to be expected after losing the popular vote by 2.8 million.

Trump has yet to address these unfavorable numbers — or those compiled by Quinnipiac University, which were also released Jan. 10.

The Quinnipiac study found similar responses with regard to Trump’s transition, as 51% of those surveyed expressed disapproval. Still, some respondents seemed hopeful that once the dust settles, the situation may improve: 52% of Quinnipiac’s respondents said they felt optimistic about the next four years.

The study also included a question regarding Trump’s Twitter, and found that 64% of voters want him to delete his account.

But who really cares about crooked Quinnipiac, right? Totally overrated!

Next, read about how Trump may leave the nuclear security administration leaderless after the inauguration, or Trump’s plan to ask Congress, not Mexico, to pay for his border wall.