POLITICS
01/20/2017 08:13 am ET

HUFFPOLLSTER: Here's What The Public Thinks About Barack Obama And Donald Trump

The final polls of the Obama Era shed light on how Americans rate the last eight years, and what they expect to happen in the next four.
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval O
Kevin Lamarque / Reuters
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) meets with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss transition plans in the White House Oval Office in Washington, U.S., November 10, 2016.

Outgoing president Barack Obama leaves office on a high note. Incoming president Donald Trump takes his place among deep skepticism from much of the country. And views of both men ―and the country as a whole ― are deeply polarized.This is HuffPollster for Friday, January 20, 2017.

FINAL PRE-INAUGURATION POLLS SHOW HOW AMERICANS WILL REMEMBER BARACK OBAMA…

-Washington Post/ABC News: “Barack Obama leaves office Friday with 6 in 10 Americans approving of his job performance, capping a steady rise that vaults him above the average final mark for modern presidents...Obama’s high-note finish comes with plenty of dissonance, including persistent pessimism about the nation’s direction and deep divisions after Donald Trump’s victory in last year’s presidential race after campaigning strongly against Obama’s policies... in the last few years, the share of Americans with positive ratings of the economy has more than doubled to 51 percent in this month’s survey, the highest level tracked by Post-ABC polls during his tenure.” [WashPost]

-Morning Consult/Politico: “As President Barack Obama prepares to leave office after eight years in the White House, voters...gave him high marks on three issues: the economy, gender equality and racial equality.” [Morning Consult]

-CNN/ORC: “Americans views of Obamacare tilt narrowly positive, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, marking the first time more have favored than opposed the law since its passage in 2010….More have opposed than favored the law in every CNN/ORC poll on this question from March 2010 until now...Still, few feel the ACA has done much to help them personally.” [CNN]

...AND WHAT THEY EXPECT FROM DONALD TRUMP’S ADMINISTRATION

-NBC/WSJ: “A majority of Americans — 52 percent — say they disapprove of the way President-elect Trump has handled his transition and preparations for the presidency, versus just 44 percent who approve, which is down six points from only a month ago….[T]he public supports many of Trump’s individual policy goals - even if they don’t support him personally.” [NBC]

-Pew Research: “Nearly two-thirds of Americans (64%) say wealthy people will gain influence in Washington when Trump takes office….In addition, about half of the public thinks whites (51%), men (51%) and conservative Christians (52%) will gain influence.” More from the survey: “While the 2016 elections have done little to brighten the public’s overall outlook or raise expectations for partisan cooperation, the Republican Party has seen its standing improve in the wake of Trump’s presidential win and the GOP maintaining control of Congress. Today, about as many hold a favorable (47%) as unfavorable (49%) view of the Republican Party.” [Pew, second release]

-Monmouth University: “The public is divided on just how much Trump’s presidency will help the middle class - 26% say a lot, 40% a little, and 29% not at all.  This is not much different from public perceptions of how much the middle class has benefited from the outgoing Obama administration’s policy - 24% say a lot, 41% a little, and 33% not at all. These nearly identical results mask some significant demographic differences within the American population though.” [Monmouth]

-SurveyMonkey: “Democrats and independents are far more skeptical of Trump than of President Barack Obama. They are also far more fearful of the future to come on a wide range of issues, from the economy to health care, race relations and the treatment of women, than are Republicans….The continuing polarization of politics also affects more than ratings of the President-elect. It drives how Americans perceive the economy and a wide range of issues. So while Republicans are mostly optimistic about their new president and positive about the future, other Americans are far more anxious and fearful.” [SurveyMonkey]

-Fox News: “First, only one-third of voters describe the national mood as ‘we’re all in this together.’  Nearly twice as many feel like it’s everyone for themselves.  And half say they’re tired of politics and ‘want it to go away.’ Voters also split over whether opportunities in the country favor ‘other people’ or people like them.” [Fox]

-AP-NORC: “More than 4-in-10 Republicans, Democrats and independents say health care is a top issue facing the country, The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll showed. That’s more than named any other issue in the survey, conducted Dec. 14-19. But there seems to be little agreement on what to do about it. Democrats say they want to fix problems in the current program — among them, rising costs and dwindling competition — but not dismantle it. They warn that the GOP is threatening the coverage gained by 20 million people under the 2010 overhaul. Republicans want to repeal Obama’s signature law but fear the political damage of stranding millions of Americans who secured coverage.” [AP]

PUBLIC SPLIT WITH TRUMP ON VACCINATIONS - HuffPollster, with Arthur Delaney: “President-elect Donald Trump’s skepticism about the safety of childhood vaccines contrasts not only with the scientific consensus, but also with the opinions of Americans ― fewer than one-quarter of whom think immunization should be a matter of personal choice….But although a majority of Democrats and Republicans still support vaccination, the minor partisan divides present in the 2015 survey appear to have modestly widened.” [HuffPost]

AMERICANS OVERWHELMINGLY SAY IT’S OK TO CRITICIZE THE PRESIDENT - HuffPollster: “Americans overwhelmingly agree it’s fine to criticize the president of the United States ― how fine, exactly, depends on which president they’re talking about. Sixty-three percent of respondents say it’s appropriate for Americans to publicly criticize the president of the United States, a new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds, with just 19 percent believing it’s inappropriate….Democrats say by a 55-point margin, 72 percent to 17 percent, that it’s appropriate to criticize Trump. They say the same of Obama by a much smaller 28-point margin, 59 percent to 31 percent. On the opposite side, Republicans say by a 52-point margin, 69 percent to 17 percent, that criticism of Obama is appropriate. They consider criticism of Trump appropriate by a smaller 23-point margin, 53 percent to 30 percent.” [HuffPost]

MORE THAN A THIRD OF AMERICANS ARE STILL STRESSED OUT ABOUT THE ELECTION - HuffPollster: “Although the presidential election ended 71 days ago, more than 1 in 3 Americans continue to experience inner turmoil over the outcome. According to a new Washington Post-ABC News Poll, 35 percent of those polled say Trump’s election has increased their normal stress level. Only 12 percent say it has reduced their stress. The majority, 52 percent, say it’s made no difference. The groups most likely to say their stress has increased after the election include Democrats, Hillary Clinton supporters, Hispanics and people without a religious affiliation.” [HuffPost]

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FRIDAY’S ‘OUTLIERS’ - Links to the best of news at the intersection of polling, politics and political data:

-Americans’ fears about global warming reach an eight-year high. [HuffPost]

-Many young Americans fear they’ll be worse off post-Trump. [AP]

-Dylan Matthews argues that Donald Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his low approval ratings is dangerous. [Vox]

-Clare Malone dives into Democrats’ loss of power under Barack Obama. [538]

-Neil Irwin reports on a study testing people’s willing to believe fake news. [NYT]

-Philip Bump lays out which of Trump’s policies have the most support. [WashPost]

-Sam Wang notes that Friday’s inauguration marks a steep drop in presidential approval [American Prospect]

-A set of interactive graphics lets you test your knowledge of changes during Barack Obama’s presidency. [NYT]

-Alvin Chang examines the increasing self-segregation of white America. [Vox]

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