Expectations of Trump High on Economy, Low on Race Relations

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The FINANCIAL — Six in 10 Americans say President-elect Donald Trump’s administration will be able to reduce unemployment and create new jobs (62%) and improve the economy (60%). On the other hand, about one in three believe he will improve race relations (35%) and improve the environment (35%), and 38% think he will keep the nation out of war.

In addition to Trump’s stronger scores on economic issues, Gallup’s Nov. 10-11 poll finds Americans generally positive about the Trump administration’s ability to control illegal immigration (59%) and keep the U.S. safe from terrorism (57%).

While Americans are optimistic about Trump’s prospects of improving the economy overall, they are more divided on whether he will be able to improve education (53%), cut taxes (51%) and substantially reduce the federal deficit (46%). Americans are also divided on whether the Trump administration will improve healthcare (52%), appoint good U.S. Supreme Court justices (52%) and improve the way the federal government works (49%), according to Gallup.

In addition to Americans’ skepticism about Trump’s ability to improve race relations, improve the environment and avoid war, Americans seem pessimistic that he will be able to heal political divisions (39%). Slightly more Americans believe he will improve conditions for minorities and the poor (44%) and reduce the crime rate (43%).

Economic Prospects Similar to Past; Immigration Expectations Higher

After presidential elections, Americans are typically positive about the prospect of an improved economy — and this year is no different, with large majorities expressing optimism about the economy and job growth. In elections dating back to 1988, Gallup has asked Americans about their economic expectations in several different ways, sometimes right after the election and other times after an inauguration. Americans’ views about the prospect of a better economy range from a low of 54% in 2012 after Barack Obama’s second election to a high of 74% in 1989 after the inauguration of George H.W. Bush.

The 59% of Americans who believe Trump will curb illegal immigration marks an issue where he gets high marks compared with Obama. In 2008, a third of Americans (35%) thought the Obama administration would do so.

The 39% who expect Trump to be able to heal political divisions is similar to the 41% recorded in 2001 after George W. Bush’s election, but lower than the 54% who believed this of Obama in 2008, before his first term.

Compared With Predecessors, Expectations Low on Many Issues

Americans are more pessimistic about Trump’s potential on several issues than they were in surveys conducted after the election of his predecessors. These include:

Improving the environment: Americans express the least optimism about Trump’s potential to improve the quality of the environment since Gallup first asked this question in 1988 after the election of George H.W. Bush.

Improving education: While 53% think the Trump administration will improve education, that figure is the lowest of all of his predecessors dating back to George H.W. Bush in 1988.

Keeping the U.S. safe from terrorism: Expectations for Trump’s ability to keep the U.S. safe from terrorism (57%) are lower than those for his two most recent predecessors. In 2008, 62% thought Obama would keep the country safe from terrorists. And in 2005, after George W. Bush’s election to a second term, the comparable figure was 68% (the terrorism question was not asked following the 2000 election).

Increasing respect for the U.S.: The 47% of Americans who think that Trump will increase respect for the U.S. is low compared with expectations for Obama and George H.W. Bush. In 2008, 76% expected Obama to enhance the international reputation of the country. In 1988, 64% thought Bush would increase respect for the U.S. abroad.

Keeping the nation out of war: The 38% of Americans who think the Trump administration can avoid war is sharply lower than the 70% and 60%, respectively, who thought George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton would keep the nation out of war.


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