Trump’s first year: The good, the bad, the ugly

HAS it been only a year? Seems like a long long time since business mogul and reality show star Donald J. Trump took his oath of office to be the 45th president of the United States of America after winning the electoral college majority vote, despite his political opponent Hillary Clinton winning more votes among the American people during the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election.

The GOOD? Most people will say the economy — stock market is at an all time high, the unemployment rate is down, minimum wage is going up. According to Gallup and other polls, about two-thirds of Americans think the economy is doing very or fairly well.

But then again, Trump’s critics will contend that while Trump may get credit for enticing investors to put their money in the U.S. stock market because of the permanent tax breaks he gave the richest people and corporations, the upward swing in the economy that we are now enjoying actually took off during President Barack Obama’s time. They argue that Obama’s economic, social and political policies were the ones that saved the U.S. from the deepest economic recession since the Great Depression, thanks to the Republican  “trickle down” economy that drove the U.S. surplus during the  Bill Clinton years down the drain.

However, we gave yet to see the lasting effect of these permanent tax cuts for corporations and that they translate to more jobs, instead of slashing them after initial bonuses given to their employees.

What do polls say about Trump’s performance in his first year in office? That is where the bad and the ugly.

According to polls, Trump now has the lowest average approval rating of any elected president in his first term. Gallup poll shows that Trump has averaged just a 39 percent approval rating since his inauguration.

Recent surveys reveal most Americans see Trump as “a divisive figure and even question his fitness for office.”

CNBC published a historical perspective:

“Trump’s current approval rating in Gallup’s weekly poll is comparable to his average rating, standing at just 38 percent, with 57 percent saying they disapprove.

The persistence of Trump’s first-year blues is unprecedented for a president so early in his term. Americans usually give their new presidents the benefit of the doubt, but Trump’s “honeymoon period,” to the extent he had one, saw his approval rating only as high as 45 percent.

Since then, Trump has spent more time under 40 percent than any other first-year president.

Presidents have recovered from periods of low popularity before. For example, Clinton’s rating fell to just 37 percent in June 1993 before quickly regaining ground, and he went on to win re-election. Harry S. Truman held the approval of less than 40 percent of Americans for significant chunks of his first term and was also re-elected. He went on to set Gallup’s lowest-ever approval mark, at just 22 percent in 1952.

Trump’s lowest point in Gallup’s weekly polling — 35 percent — remains higher than those of several earlier presidents. Truman, Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter all had their ratings dip under 30 percent.”

In comparison to more recent former presidents’ numbers in their first year in office, Barack Obama’s approval rating was at 50 percent. George W. Bush received an 82 percent score, Bill Clinton was approved by 54 percent, George H.W. Bush was at 76 percent, and Ronald Reagan received a 49 percent rating.

Trump’s approval rating fluctuated between 35 percent and 43 percent in 2017. It remained lower than Obama’s lowest approval rating: 46 percent.

Trump’s disapproval rating also increased 10 points since last February.

How will these numbers affect his governance? What must he do moving forward?

Gel Santos Relos
Gel Santos Relos

Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to and

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