As he prepares for his major address to a joint session of Congress tonight, President Donald Trump in a rare display of humility gave himself an A-plus for effort and an A for achievement, but only a “C or C-plus” for explaining his policies to Americans.
“My messaging isn’t good,” Trump explained during an appearance on Fox News’ “Fox and Friends program.
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There is little doubt that with a threadbare 42 percent approval rating – the lowest of any president during his first quarter in office dating back to Dwight D. Eisenhower in the early 1950s -- Trump has to find a better way to sell his hard edged “America First” economic, trade, defense and immigration policies that have heartened his political base and many independents but roiled the rest of the country.
Other polls suggest that his most controversial proposals, including repealing and replacing Obamacare, building a wall along the southern border with Mexico, eliminating Wall Street regulations, and escalating the arrest and deportation of illegal immigrants – aren’t resonating with a majority of Americans, particularly Democrats and left-leaning independents.
However, there is some good news for Trump and his image makers in a new NBC-Wall Street Journal poll conducted among 1,000 adults Feb. 18-22: For all the consternation and turmoil he has generated in the first full month of his administration with fiery executives orders and blustery rhetoric, Trump’s essential message of change continues to appeal to a large segment of the electorate.
Seventy-seven percent of Americans surveyed said that Trump would bring about “real change,” including 40 percent who say that it is “very likely” he would accomplish his goals.
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A plurality of Americans (48 percent) believe that Trump will bring about the right kind of change, which is good news for the new president after a rocky start and unprecedented street protests against his policies throughout the country. And while – not surprisingly -- 89 percent of Republicans interviewed said he will bring about the “right kind of change,” nearly half of independents agree with that notion.
However, 23 percent of Americans – mostly Democrats -- believe Trump will bring about the wrong sort of change. And if Trump has any interest in trying to begin to unite a sorely divided country with his speech tonight, he needs to start listening to what that segment of the electorate has to say.
The following graphic from Bill McInturff of Public Opinion Strategies, first published by The Washington Post, clearly tells this relatively positive story for Trump.