PRINCETON, N.J. — As Donald Trump prepares to take the presidential oath on Jan. 20, less than half of Americans are confident in his ability to handle an international crisis (46%), to use military force wisely (47%) or to prevent major scandals in his administration (44%). At least seven in 10 Americans were confident in Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in these areas before they took office.
Americans express somewhat more confidence in Trump to work effectively with Congress (60%), to handle the economy effectively (59%), to defend U.S. interests abroad as president (55%), and to manage the executive branch effectively (53%). But even in these areas, Americans are far less confident in Trump than they were in his predecessors, when comparisons are available.
The results for Trump are based on a Dec. 7-11 Gallup poll. They are consistent with prior Gallup polling showing Trump having a much lower favorable rating than prior presidents-elect and a much lower approval rating for how he has handled his presidential transition.
The deficits for Trump versus the average for his predecessors range from a low of 15 percentage points on defending U.S. interests abroad to a high of 32 points for preventing major scandals.
Among the seven issues tested in the poll, Americans are most confident in Trump to work effectively with Congress (60%) and handle the economy (59%). Trump will have the benefit of working with Republican majorities in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. However, Obama and Bush — both of whom also took office with a friendly Congress — engendered even greater confidence than Trump in this area.