Trump Gets Low Marks on 100-Day Report Card

President makes steady but slow progress battling negative coverage, Washington sluggishness

by Brendan Kirby | Updated 21 Nov 2017 at 9:28 AM

As President Donald Trump approaches the 100-day mark, he faces a rough round of public reviews.

This week, Gallup reported that the average of the company’s daily tracking polls of Trump’s approval ratings for the first quarter of his presidency is 41 percent, the lowest of all presidents at the same point dating to Dwight Eisenhower. Bill Clinton registered the lowest prior average, at 55 percent.

“No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!”

A Morning Consult/Politico poll published Thursday also gives Trump lackluster marks. Overall, more respondents — 24 percent — gave him an F than an A — 16 percent. He scored highest on fighting terrorism, with 49 percent giving him an A or a B. After the collapse of a House bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, though, 47 percent gave him a D or F on health care, with just 9 percent awarding him an A.

Trump on Friday sought to tamp down expectations surrounding the 100-day milestone.

“No matter how much I accomplish during the ridiculous standard of the first 100 days, & it has been a lot (including S.C.), media will kill!” he tweeted.

Trump has kicked off his presidency with a flurry of activity surrounding issues over which he can exert direct control. He has killed regulations proposed or implemented by his predecessor, given new marching orders to immigration enforcement officials, and moved to protect U.S. steel and boost domestic energy production.

And he nominated and won confirmation of a Supreme Court justice, Neil Gorsuch.

White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters Friday that the president has signed 24 bills into law and another 24 executive orders.

But on matters outside Trump's direct control, he has struggled to make forward progress in the quagmire of Washington. Congress has failed to pass any significant legislation. The most obvious failure is on health care, but other Trump proposals, from tax reform to a public works program, also remain stalled.

And then there is historically negative media coverage. The Media Research Center concluded that 89 percent of the coverage by the three major broadcast-network evening news shows from January 20 to April 9 has been negative.

Rich Noyes, director of research for the media watchdog, told LifeZette that the media coverage has both followed and helped shape Trump's lower approval ratings.

"It's somewhat both. In large measure, media coverage has kept Trump where he is," he said. "He had extremely negative coverage during the campaign. He's had extremely negative coverage during his first 100 days."

Noyes said accumulation of the coverage has sent a signal to voters who otherwise might have been receptive to Trump during the "honeymoon" phase that presidents typically enjoy just after taking office.

But Noyes said the hostile coverage has served as a "credential" for his supporters, who have stuck by the president.

The poll data bear that out. Trump's approval among Republicans has averaged 87 percent. That is above the 83 percent average that presidents since Eisenhower have enjoyed from voters of their own party.

In the Morning Consult poll, 32 percent of voters who cast ballots for Trump rated his overall performance an A, while another 42 percent gave him a B. By contrast, only 9 percent of voters who supported Democrat Hillary Clinton gave him an A or B. Some 52 percent gave him an F.

Noyes said public opinion of Trump has probably  hardened. But he said the president could recover among independents if he succeeds in boosting economic growth. He also said Trump benefits when he draws the news media into focusing on trivial issues, such as outrage over a photo that former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin took with rocker Ted Nugent in front of a portrait of Hillary Clinton.

"It's not where the voters are," he said.

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