A detail of a voting booth at a early voting site in downtown Baltimore.
Photo by Christopher Gregory for MSNBC

As his 100th day nears, Trump grades himself on a generous curve

Updated
Last weekend, Donald Trump, annoyed by national protests about his secret tax returns, declared, “The election is over!” A day later, Kellyanne Conway argued that Democrats should move forward “instead of still talking about the election.”

You probably know what’s coming next. In a pair of tweets, there was the president yesterday, responding to the latest national polling by pretending they offer flattering news.
“New polls out today are very good considering that much of the media is FAKE and almost always negative. Would still beat Hillary in popular vote. ABC News/Washington Post Poll (wrong big on election) said almost all stand by their vote on me & 53% said strong leader.”
Hmm. I’m not at all sure what Trump means by “still” in his claim about the popular vote. My fear is the president continues to work from the assumption that he actually received more votes than Hillary Clinton, which is obviously demonstrably wrong.

I can appreciate why Trump feels insecure about the legitimacy of his presidency: not only did more Americans choose his rival, but he was elevated to the office thanks to the help of a foreign adversary’s illegal espionage operation. (I’ve been told that an increasing number of D.C. Democrats often joke among themselves, “Twinkle, twinkle little czar; Putin put you where you are.”) But ridiculous claims about the popular vote aren’t going to help matters.

What’s more, the ABC News/Washington Post poll wasn’t really “wrong big” about the 2016. Its final tally showed Clinton ahead by 4 percentage points national, and she won by just over 2 points. It was, in other words, pretty close.

But the key takeaway is the president’s belief that the latest survey results are “very good” for him. They’re really not.

1. Approval rating: Trump’s approval rating in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll now stands at 40%, while the new Washington Post/ABC News poll puts his support at 42%. Trump is easily the least popular American president at this stage since the dawn of modern polling.

2. Character: Only 25% of people in the NBC News poll consider Trump honest and trustworthy. The same report added, “Just 27 percent give him high marks for being knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency, and only 21 percent give him high marks for having the right temperament.”

3. View of government: The NBC News poll found that 57% of the country believes the government should do more to solve problems and meet the needs of Americans, as compared to 39% who believe the government is doing too much. That’s the most progressive response ever seen in this poll, and the question has been asked for over two decades.

4. Family members in the West Wing: The ABC poll asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of Trump giving his daughter and son-in-law major positions in his administration?” Only 34% approve, while 61% do not.

There were a couple of silver linings amid the clouds – Trump’s base, for example, continues to stick with him, despite his many difficulties – but as he approaches his 100th day in office, no modern president has seen his public standing look this bad, this early.

Is it any wonder he’d rather talk about the election than his term to date?

Postscript: The president was still talking about the polls and last year’s election this morning. He’s still wrong about the specifics, which he obviously didn’t check before sharing his perspective.

Donald Trump and Polling

As his 100th day nears, Trump grades himself on a generous curve

Updated