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Why Americans don’t like Donald Trump? Because of his character, polls suggest

A new Gallup poll suggests that not policy decisions but character is what makes the current occupant of the White House so unpopular in his own country. With approval ratings hitting record lows, Donald Trump is views by his fellow citizens as not presidential, arrogant and obnoxious. All this, adding to the Americans’ frustration with his lack of experience and social media use. 

While being in office, both president Barack Obama and president George W. Bush had to fight public opinion mainly on policy issues. According to Gallup, the majority of Americans that did not agree with the two presidents, 65% during Obama’s first term and 31% during Bush’s, had issues regarding their policies. But the same cannot be said about the current occupant of the Oval Office.

According to the most recent Gallup poll, Donald Trump’s approval rating is at 39%. And when probing a little deeper into what makes Trump so unpopular in the U.S., the pollsters found that most U.S. citizens are concerned about his character rather than his political stances.


The stuff presidents are made of

An unpopular president

During his campaign and first weeks in office, one specific issue came up regarding Donald Trump. While most of his voters admired him for not being a traditional politician, the opposition, members of his own party and the media, asked the question if he has what it takes, in terms of character, to become a good president. His speeches, his behavior, his constant tweeting, his views regarding women and immigrants, have made Americans wonder if all this is presidential behavior.

Trump himself addressed the issue during his rallies promising to change, and to become “the most presidential” person that Americans have seen.

But as his behavior did not change, as pictures of the president with guests at his hotel resorts were being posted on the internet and leaks about his unusual style of doing politics kept leaking out of the White House, the question remained.

It culminated with the president’s former campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway saying to reporters that Trump’s behavior is surely presidential, since he was the president. But his fallacy of logic did not persuade the American public.

A new poll released by Gallup shows that Donald Trump is the least well-evaluated president of the last three U.S. leaders with a 38% approval, 56% disapproval rating in the July 5-9 survey.

And when it comes to what actually they do not approve of when it comes to president Trump, most of the participants said that it was his character. 65% rated personality and character as the main issue they have with Trump while only 14% had trouble with Obama’s personality and 17% with Bush’s character.

The not presidential president

An unpopular president

When asked about what particularly they disagree with when it came to the president’s character, Americans, some 29%, said that Trump was not presidential, had a bad temperament, was arrogant or obnoxious.


Another common problem, identified by 10% of those that do not like Donald Trump‘s character has to with his lack of experience. Some said that it came across as the president did not know what he was doing.

The fact that Donald Trump has held no public office before being elected to the highest one sparked concerns even among his followers and only days after he was sworn in, the media has started reporting about problems with staffing the West Wing and the federal institutions. Leaks about meetings held in the dark, lack of public policy and the signing of executive orders without informing agencies that were involved with enforcing them, only added fuel to the already burning flame.

For 6% of Americans that do not like the current president, his lack of care for others seems to be the biggest issue. Also six percent say that Trump is untrustworthy, and the same percentage is unhappy with his use of social media.

The participants also said the president is racist and sexists, not knowledgeable and wishy-washy meaning that he has a weak willpower.

The issues with policy issues

An unpopular president

When it comes to policies, most of the respondents said that they did not agree specifically with Trump’s foreign stance, and 3% said they were dissatisfied with his healthcare polices. The fact that he seems to favor the rich, that he did not unify the country and his views on environmental policies are next in line when it comes to the issues that make voters unhappy with the new president.

When looking at the Trump presidency so far, and asked to make a broad evaluation, some 12% of Americans said that they disapprove. Some 7 percent said that he was doing a poor job while 3 percent said that he is not fulfilling his campaign promises and that he is all talk and no action. Just 1% said that he is trying to do too much or that he does not have qualified advisers and staff.

Support, in vague terms

An unpopular president

The Gallup poll also highlights another interesting fact about the Trump presidency. Four in ten Americans, like the president, but when asked what specifically do they approve of, things get murkier. Unlike his detractors, which give specific reasons for their dislike, Trump voters give general reasons for why they support the president.

In general, most of the Trump supporters, 12%,  say that they value the president because he is doing the best he can under difficult circumstances. Fewer, 11%, believe that Trump is delivering on the promises he made on the campaign trail while another 10% told pollsters that they believe that he is doing what is best for America. 4% like him just because he is not Obama while one percent are willing to give him a chance.

When it comes to policies, while Trump continuously spoke about his business prowess, only 6% of Americans say that he is creating new job opportunities or that he is bringing back jobs to America, thou these were two of the main focuses of his campaigning.

Another 5% say that they agree with this policies and actions but were unable to pinpoint specific ones and the same percentage said that he is taking on many actions.

Also 5% believe that he is making the economy better or fixing it while 4 percent agree on his handling of immigration and terrorism, even thou the administration has tired to present the two issues as the most important for the current occupant of the White House.

Even fewer like the fact that Trump is trying new and different things and only 2% agree with his foreign policy.

A Washington outsider, on the inside

Trump to meet Putin at G20
Photo: Donald Trump / Facebook

When it comes to those that like the president’s character, most of them say they admire his strong leadership, but that is only 9%. Next on the list of what they like about Donald Trump is the fact that he is a Washington outsider. 7% of participants told Gallup that they like the fact that he is not a politician and does not belong to the establishment.

Three percent of supporters said that they like the fact that Trump is transparent and straight forward and the same percentage like him for his honesty.

Only one percent said that they like the current president for his intelligence or his way of handling the media.

The Gallup poll shows that views on Trump are still very polarized and the current Russia investigation might make things even harder for the president. His foreign visits have done little to change the focus of the public attention and even positive stories like the Syrian ceasefire have been buried by allegations of collusion with the Putin ran government.

And the situation is not much better in the world as Trump is losing favor among citizens of allied countries. Donald Trump seems to be disliked mainly in Europe and most of the issues that Europeans complain about when it comes to Trump are related to key issues like immigration and climate change. Pulling out of the Paris Accord, his sexist behavior and support for anti-abortion groups, together with his lack of diplomacy and empathy during the most recent terror attacks in Europe has created Trump a bad reputation. And his unpopularity hurts not only his presidency but also America which is starting to lose is stance in the world.

A Pew research conducted in the wake of the G20 summit showed that people were looking at German Chancellor Angela Merkel for leadership.

Sylvia Jacob