Trump decries ‘phony’ polls showing him with a historically bad approval rating

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Dylan Stableford
·Senior Writer
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Trump speaks at a press conference.
Trump speaks at a press conference at Trump Tower in New York City last week. (Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Donald Trump says a pair of polls that show he is set to take office as the most unpopular newly elected president in at least 40 years are “phony” and “rigged.”

“The same people who did the phony election polls, and were so wrong, are now doing approval rating polls,” the president-elect tweeted Tuesday morning. “They are rigged just like before.”

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According to a new ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday, just 40 percent of Americans view Trump favorably, compared to the 79 percent who viewed Barack Obama favorably when he took office in 2009.

Trump trails each of his six predecessors — Jimmy Carter (78 percent), Ronald Reagan (58 percent), George H.W. Bush (65 percent), Bill Clinton (68 percent), George W. Bush (62 percent) and Obama (79 percent) — in terms of favorability. And Trump is the only president-elect of the last seven to be viewed unfavorably by a majority of Americans, with 54 percent currently holding that view.

A CNN/ORC survey, also released Tuesday, showed Trump with a 40 percent approval rating on the eve of his inauguration, or 44 points below the 84 percent who approved of Obama at the start of 2009.

Trump’s approval rating is also well below the 61 percent for George W. Bush in 2001 and 67 percent who approved of Clinton in 1993.

Graphic of favorability poll comparing Trump to past presidents
Graphic: ABC News/Washington Post

According to the ABC News/Washington Post poll, just 40 percent of Americans approve of the way Trump has handled the transition — exactly half of the 80 percent who approved of the way Barack Obama handled his in 2009.

The same survey also found that 44 percent of Americans believe that Trump is qualified to serve as president, while a majority (52 percent) says he is not.

During the 2016 campaign, Trump was fixated on his poll numbers, frequently blasting them out on Twitter when they delivered him good news. But when they showed him behind his rivals, he occasionally accused media organizations of rigging the numbers.

On the eve of the general election, most national polls showed Trump narrowly trailing Hillary Clinton, with the Democratic nominee holding a slight edge (anywhere from 2 to 4 percentage points) over her Republican rival.

While Trump ultimately captured the Electoral College to win the presidency, Clinton won the national popular vote by nearly 2.9 million (65,844,954 to 62,979,879) — an advantage of slightly more than 2 percent.

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