President-Elect Donald Trump, as of 13th January 7 days away from inauguration, has approval ratings of only 44%, with 51% disapproval. This is a figure which confirms Trump’s position as the least popular President-elect in America, since the end of WWII.
As is historically evident, Presidential approval ratings are guaranteed to go downhill. None more so than those of George W. Bush, Richard Nixon, and Harry Truman. All of whom had approval ratings of under 25% at some point in their Presidencies. Yet at least they all started on a strong footing.
Before taking office Bush had an approval rating 61%, four days out from the inauguration. By the end of his Presidency, Bush had an approval rating of 34%. 5th June 1945, Truman has an approval rating of 87%. By the end of his Presidency, his approval rating had fallen to 32%.
Meanwhile, the only President to ever resign the office, Richard Nixon had an approval rating of 59%, 8 days after his inauguration in 1969. Then in 1974 3 days before leaving office Nixon had an approval rating of 24%.
Now I’m not saying that Trump will necessarily take the US to a hugely costly war, both financially and in human life; nor am I saying that Trump will definitely drop an Atomic bomb on somebody. Or, that Trump will cover up a major break into the Democratic headquarters leading to impeachment.
However, given his approval ratings, Trump is still set to beat Truman, Nixon, and Bush to becoming the least popular President of all time.
It isn’t Trump’s inevitable unpopularity that is of most concern, but more how somebody so apparently unpopular managed to become President-elect.
Trump’s victory and overwhelming unpopularity are great cause for concern in the American electoral system. The electoral college, in which Trump won 306 votes to Clinton’s 232, was shown to be a dated concept in the recent election. Despite Trump’s clear victory in the college, it is a victory that is by no means represented in the polls or the popular vote. Clinton won the popular vote by a significant, 2,865,075 votes.
All of this suggests that the only obvious conclusion to come out of the 2016 election, that the manner in which America Democratically elects its leaders is broken and arguably undemocratic. However, the electoral college is unlikely to change.
Much like in the UK, with the first-past-the-post system, the frailties are obvious to all, but those who have just been elected through the system do not want to change it, regardless of what they say before the election.