Poll: Trump has not yet made progress in uniting USA – USA TODAY
New Suffolk University poll numbers suggest President Elect Trump can be flexible on issues, as long as they are handled.
WASHINGTONÂ â As Inauguration Day approaches, Donald Trump has made little progress in uniting a divided nation or reassuring the voters who didn’t support him in November, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds.
Instead, a majority of Americans, including one in five Trump voters,Â say the president-elect hasn’t done enough to prevent conflicts between his business interests and the nation’s interests. And by nearly 2-1, those surveyed say the incoming administration should investigate whether Russia tried to meddle in the American election, a conclusion by U.S. intelligence agencies that Trump initially dismissed.
“Obviously, he’s going to be the president, and we have to give him a chance,” Kathleen Hoynes, 56, of Upper Gwynedd, Pa., said in a follow-up phone interview after being polled. She didn’t support Trump during the campaign, first backing Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primaries and then voting for Hillary Clinton on Election Day. “I’m willing to do that, but he’s going to have to prove to a lot of us that he can do the job.”
Nearly four in 10 â 38% â say they feel “alarmed” by the prospect of Trump moving into the Oval Office next month. An equal 38% feel “hopeful” and another 16% are “excited.”
At least almost no one is “bored”: Only 4%.
The poll of 1,000 registered voters, taken Dec. 14-18, has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
Trump has seen his favorable-unfavorable ratings improve since the election, from a dismal 31%-61% in the USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll in late October to 41%-46% now. That said, he still significantly trails previous presidents-elect in the modern era. During a post-election honeymoon, they have been viewed favorably even by some of those who supported their opponents.
But Trump’s standing continues to lag even the 46.1% proportion of the vote he carried. In the new survey, 5% of those who supported him have an unfavorable opinionÂ and 11% are undecided.
Americans split on how he’s handled the transition to date: 41% approve, 40% disapprove.
Trump does have fervent supporters who argue, accurately, that the real-estate mogul and reality-TV star consistently was underestimated by the pundits and the political establishment. “It was annoying when people had to hide the fact that they did vote for Trump,” says David Ockrim, 30, who helps operateÂ a small food-truck firm in New York City called Yankee Doodle Dandy. “While he may not be the most polished or political-like, I think he’s a breath of fresh air America needed.”
Among Trump supporters, four in 10 predict history ultimately will judge Trump to be a “great” president. Another third say he’ll end up being a “good” one. However, almost half of Democrats say Trump will send up being seen as aÂ “failed” president.
“I feel dread,” says Megan Glidewell, 37, a college counselor from Waconia, Minn., who voted for Clinton. She chokes up when she remembers how excited her mother, who died of cancer in September, had been by the idea of a woman being elected president. Since Trump won, Glidewell has adopted “an ostrichÂ approach,” deliberately payingÂ less attention to the news because she finds it upsetting.
“The politics aside, I can’t get past the ego; I can’t get past the things he said about women; I can’t get past just the kind of campaign he ran that created so much division,” she says of Trump. “I imagine on top of all that, Trump sitting and talking to other world leaders and being in delicate diplomatic situations. I don’t think he has the capacity of behaving. For better or worse, we’re all going to find out.”
Americans are clear on what they want Trump to address first: jobs. Close to half, 46%, say creating and preserving jobs should be his first priority. That’s triple the second-ranking issue, fighting terrorism and the self-proclaimed Islamic State. At third is changing the way Washington works by “draining the swamp.”
Low on the list are the crusades that fueled the loudest chants at Trump’s campaign rallies. “Build the wall”? Only 7% say building a wall along the Southern border and deporting illegal immigrants should be his top concern. “Lock her up”? A minuscule 1% say investigating Hillary Clinton should be his No. 1 issue.
Trump’s supporters are willing to cut him some slack on his campaign promises, which could give him the political space to strike compromises with Congress and others. Half of those who voted for Trump say he should do what needs to be done even if it means reversingÂ positions he had advocated. Thirty-nine percent say he should closely follow the policies and promises he made during the campaign.
“I would love for him to get out and set his generals loose and take care of ISIS,” says Stephen Spence, 69, a retiree from Mesa, Ariz., who voted for Trump. “But our people are starving here, so I think … first, jobs within the United States and second, ISIS, and third, probably, the budget deficit. That’s my top three.”
There are some other issues pressing on Trump’s agenda.
â¢ By 53%-35%, a majority of Americans say he needs to do more to address conflicts between his business interests and the country’s interest. That includes 19% of Trump voters. “He can’t have his children take over for him,” Hoynes protests. “He can’t run the country like he runs a business.”
â¢Â By 62%-33%, those surveyed say the Trump administration and Congress should investigate whether Russia tried to meddle in the presidential election. Trump voters by 48%-47% support an investigation. “I don’t really understand why Russia would have such a vested interest in nudging the election in that particular direction,” Glidewell says. “That’s the part that concerns me the most.”
That said, some Trump supporters are skeptical about what Russia did and how much it mattered. “It may have gotten misconstrued,” suggests Jason Felts, 43, of Galax, Va. “My opinion is that it’s just been blown out of proportion.”
Felts, who works as a paramedic in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, would like Trump to focus more on another issue: uniting the nation.Â “We’re more divided now than ever,” he says. “I would like to have seen him stood up and done more for the country to try to draw it together. I still feel it’s divided right now.”
In the survey, nearly six in 10 say divisions in the United States are deeper than they have been in the past.
“”In my opinion, unless the country gets back together, things just can’t work the way they should,” says Queen Jones, 73, a retired teacher’s assistant from Mount Pleasant, N.C., who voted for Clinton. Â “For me, I feel like his first priority is to try to get the country back together, try to heal some of the wounds.”
At the moment, she frets, “It’s like we’re in two different countries.”
Stay with USA TODAY for full coverage of the 2017Â inauguration.