Academic journal article AEI Paper & Studies

The Trump Presidency: Change, Change, Change

Academic journal article AEI Paper & Studies

The Trump Presidency: Change, Change, Change

Article excerpt

Since the November election, pollsters have asked dozens of questions about the public's expectations for Donald Trump's presidency. In the next several pages, we examine the results.

In the 2016 exit poll, a plurality of voters (39 percent) said "can bring needed change" was the candidate quality that mattered most to their vote. They voted for Trump, 82 to 14 percent. Many questions asked about the Presidentelect since then have focused on the inchoate idea of "change." People feel confident Trump will bring change to Washington and to the country, but they are less confident about whether or not the change will be positive.

Q: Which one of these four candidate qualities mattered most in deciding how you voted for president?

                                               --How they voted--
                            Overall responses    Trump  Clinton

Can bring needed change     39%                  82%    14%
Has the right experience    22                    7     90
Has good judgement          20                   25     65
Cares about people like me  15                   34     57

Source: 2016 national exit poll data reported by CNN.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Q: When he is President, do you think...?

                          He will bring real change
                          in the way things are
                          done in Washington

Donald Trump (Dec. 2016)  62%
Barack Obama (Dec. 2008)  64%

Source: CBS News, latest that of December 2016.

Q: I'm going to mention a number of areas where Donald Trump could take action as president and for each one, please tell me when it comes to this area are you...?

                              Bringing change to
                              Washington, DC

Optimistic and hopeful about
what Trump would do           57%
Uncertain and wondering       18
Negative and worried          25

Note: Not all categories shown.
Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal, December 2016.

Q: From what you have seen and heard so far, do you think Donald Trump's presidency will change the way things are done in government, or do you think it will be business as usual under the Trump presidency? (If says things will change) And, do you think Donald Trump's presidency will bring the right kind of change or the wrong kind of change in the way things are done in government?

Under Donald Trump's presidency...

Things in government will change    68%
Right kind of change                41
Wrong kind of change                20
It will be business as usual        28

Source: NBC News/Wall Street Journal, December 2016.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

In 2008, more Americans felt optimistic that Barack Obama could bring needed change to the country than feel that way about Donald Trump now. At the end of Obama's presidency, however, they are less certain he brought the kind of change the country needed.

Q: Thinking about the following characteristics and qualities, please say whether you think each one applies or doesn't apply....

Can bring the kind of change the country needs

                              Yes, applies to him  Doesn't apply

Donald Trump (Nov. 2016)      49%                  49%
Barack Obama (Dec. 2008)      75%                  24%
Barack Obama (Nov. 2016) (*)  45%                  54%

Note: (*) In November 2016, question wording about Obama was "brought
the kind of change the country needed."
Source: CNN/Opinion Research Corporation, latest that of November 2016.
Both surveys were taken post-election.

Note: Table made from bar graph.

Q: As president, do you think __________ will be able to change the country? (If yes) Do you think the country will change for the better or change for the worse?

                                 National adults  Reps.  Dems.  Inds.
Donald Trump (Nov. 2016)

Yes, he will change the country
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