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Poll: Americans Give Trump Failing Grades

Reprinted with permission from AlterNet.

Americans aren’t happy with President Donald Trump. While this isn’t news per se, his low approval ratings may leave you wondering just why exactly most citizens are disappointed.

A new poll offers something approaching an answer. According to Politico/Morning Consult’s latest findings, the country is most dissatisfied with the president’s performance in several domestic and international categories.

Of the 1,988 people surveyed in early January, Trump earned an F grade from the majority of respondents. The issues covered include fixing the national debt, immigration and fighting terrorism, among others. When asked for an overall grade on Trump’s first year in office, the lion’s share of respondents (35 percent) gave Trump a failing grade.

Unsurprisingly, the president performed poorest on climate change. A whopping 40 percent said Trump has utterly failed to combat global warming, a grade he likely earned thanks to his retreat from the Paris Agreement and the enormous tax cuts he gifted to the oil and gas industry as part of the GOP’s tax reform bill.

Credit: Politico/Morning Consult

Trump fared almost as badly on foreign relations and health care. In both categories, the largest group of participants (38 percent) gave the president an F.

Politico’s readers tend to lean liberal, though that’s not the case with this poll. Participants are spread evenly between race, gender, geographical location, political leaning, party affiliation, and age. Most earn under $50K and have some college experience, but not a bachelor’s degree.

Interestingly, the poll shows that exactly the same percentage of people think Trump will get better (37 percent) as those who think he’ll get worse (also 37 percent).

Liz Posner is a managing editor at AlterNet. Her work has appeared on Forbes.com, Bust, Bustle, Refinery29, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter at @elizpos.

Combative Trump: ‘How Does The Press Get This Information?’

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The first gripe came three minutes into President Donald Trump’s first solo press conference on Thursday, when he accused reporters of ignoring a poll showing him with a 55 percent approval rating – a figure at odds with most other surveys.

From there, the president’s criticism of the media went from barbed to personal in a cutting assessment of what he viewed as unfair coverage of his first few weeks in office – a period that has seen a succession of crises.

On a day when he ceded a loss over a signature policy in a federal appeals court, had to replace his labor secretary pick and faced questions over the resignation of his national security adviser, Trump chose to make the media a central focus of an unusually long and combative presidential news conference.

When asked by journalists of contacts between his presidential campaign and Russian operatives, he deflected the questions and put the focus instead on what he described as “illegal” government leaks and “dishonest” media coverage.

“The press is out of control,” he said. “The level of dishonesty is out of control,”

After weeks of disclosures in newspapers over turmoil in his administration, he told one reporter to “sit down” for a rambling question.

“Tomorrow, they will say: ‘Donald Trump rants and raves at the press,'” Trump said. “I’m not ranting and raving. I’m just telling you. You know, you’re dishonest people. But I’m not ranting and raving. I love this. I’m having a good time

doing it.”

Trump’s message in the 77-minute session appeared aimed at the same voters who elected him president last November, a large number of whom feel Washington has left them behind and who like his image as an outsider trying to shake up the establishment.

He sought to cast problems buffeting the White House as “the mess” he inherited from former Democratic President Barack Obama, and boasted about the “fine-tuned administration” he is running.

In one unusual exchange near the end of the news conference, Trump called on a questioner, asking if he was “a friendly reporter.”

When the journalist asked about recent threats to 48 Jewish centers across the country and signs of rising anti-Semitism, Trump appeared to take the question personally, replying: “I am the least anti-Semitic person that you’ve ever seen in your entire life.”

He added he was also the “least racist person,” told the reporter to be “quiet,” accused him of lying, and then dismissed the question as “insulting.”

Most opinion polls show Trump struggling with low approval numbers less than a month into his presidency. A Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted February 10 to 14 gave Trump a 46 percent approval rating.

While many presidencies have started off on rocky ground, Trump’s administration has been particularly marked by controversies, fights with the media, and a legal battle over an executive order to ban people temporarily from seven Muslim-majority countries.

“I turn on the TV and open the newspapers and I see stories of chaos, chaos. And yet, it is the exact opposite,” Trump said.

Trump waved away questions about a New York Times report that members of his campaign team had frequent contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials last year.

His main complaint was that the news media had uncovered leaks about intercepted communications between Michael Flynn, ousted this week as national security adviser and Russian Ambassador to the United States Sergei Kisylak, and leaks about his own conversations with the leaders of Mexico and Australia.

“The first thing I thought of, how does the press get this information?” he asked.

(Additional reporting by Roberta Rampton and Ayesha Rascoe; Editing by Jason Szep and Peter Cooney)

IMAGE: President Donald Trump holds a news conference at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 16, 2017.  REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

The Biggest Loser: Trump Has Gotten Even Less Popular While In Office

IMAGE: U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a translation during a joint news conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 10, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

5 Ways ‘Obama Knows Exactly What He’s Doing’

Marco Rubio revealed that his greatest strength is his greatest weakness at Saturday night’s GOP presidential debate in New Hampshire.

When confronted by Chris Christie with the less-than-creative observation that the Senator’s entire campaign revolves around him regurgitating carefully poll-tested “25-second speeches,” Marco Rubio regurgitated the same talking point again and again on Sunday.

The line “Obama knows exactly what he’s doing” is a telltale example of the mini-Trump, hyper-pessimistic belligerence that has defined Rubio’s campaign, which has begun to drown in an undertow of anti-Muslim bigotry. Rubio’s sinister suggestion about the president arises from the fevered swamps of the Republican right , where Dinesh D’Souza gets rich and gets jailed while suggesting that Obama has a secret anti-colonialist plan to ruin America. Newt Gingrich picked up this strain of conspiratorial nonsense in 2012, although since then it has largely dissipated into the wingnut-o-sphere as the nation experienced the best two years of job creation since the late 1990s.

To say “Obama knows exactly what he’s doing” sounds like a scary proposition in the GOP primary, where voters believe he is about to seize their guns and replace them with health insurance. But it’s actually a great election talking point. And if a Democratic candidate is elected in November, it will largely be the result of Barack Obama’s continued popularity.

The president’s approval rating is flirting with 50 percent, giving him the highest favorable rating of any active national political figure by far. When Gallup asked Americans last month whether they’re better off now than eight years ago, 50 percent said, “Yes.” In this ultra-partisan atmosphere that is the closest thing you’re going to get to a consensus.

Marco Rubio, on the other hand, is forced to flee his immigration bill, which is the closest thing to an accomplishment in his Senate career. Whenever he has been faced with a major challenge — in his State of the Union response, when House Republicans refused to even vote on his bill, during Saturday’s debate — he has crumbled.

Still, the press loves his face and GOP donors love his pliability. What plutocrat wouldn’t love a guy who wants to cut the richest Americans’ tax rate to zero?

But Rubio is right about Barack Obama. He clearly knows exactly what he’s doing Because despite inevitable imperfections and failings, especially in Syria and the Veterans Administration, and amidst multifarious disasters that he inherited, Obama’s successes far outshine his limitations. Today, our first African-American president heads towards his home stretch as the first president since Eisenhower to conclude a second term without being personally implicated in scandal.

Here are five examples of Barack Obama knowing exactly what he’s doing.

  1. We have the best economy in the world.
    Republicans have been clear that president is only responsible for jobs created or stock market conditions when the news is bad. America’s economy isn’t great — unless you compare it to the rest of this century and the rest of the world. While our economy still needs tons of improvement to repair the hollowing out of decades of conservative policies, we’ve experienced more than six years of unfettered private sector job growth,  an undisputed record. Best of all, job creation picked up dramatically since taxes went up on the rich and Obamacare went into full effect, disproving conservative economic nostrums yet again.
  2. Our uninsured rate is at a historic low.
    About nine out of ten Americans now have health insurance. Seventeen million Americans gaining coverage doesn’t mean health care in America is perfect. It just means Obama knows what he’s doing. At the very least he has a lot better sense of what he’s doing than the last president, who numbly watched about 8 million Americans lose their insurance.
  3. He’s gotten the rest of the world, including China, to commit to fighting climate change.
    Marco Rubio lives in a state that’s literally sinking into the the horrors of global warming. But the only evidence he needs to assure us that climate change doesn’t exist are checks from his donors. Obama, however, accepts climate science and has done more than all other presidents combined to fight it. His greatest accomplishment on this front — even greater than building a clean energy industry that could save the world via the Stimulus — is taking away the right’s favorite excuse for doing nothing about this looming disaster. He “pushed publicly and privately for China to commit to serious, meaningful reductions in emissions. The result was a landmark bilateral agreement where, for the first time, China agreed to concrete targets for emissions reductions. That, in turn, helped pave the way for the COP21 agreement reached in Paris,” explained Brandon Fureigh of the Truman National Security Project.
  4. Iran has given up 99 percent of its uranium peacefully.
    As we continue to deal with the endless consequences of a war we launched to remove weapons of mass destruction that didn’t actually exist, Obama has led the global effort to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons. Thus far the government in Tehran has complied fully with the agreement and willingly avoided any path that could lead to it gaining such a weapon. “And even if the Iranians were to attempt to produce enough nuclear fuel for a bomb, it will now take them more than a year to do so,” the New York Times editorial board noted. “Before the agreement, that breakout time was two to three months.”
  5. Under Obama, abortions and teen pregnancies have fallen to new lows.
    If you actually care about preventing abortions, you should be a huge fan of Barack Obama. Rubio said that he’d be willing to lose an election to defend his view that abortion should become illegal, even in cases of rape and incest. But the biggest difference between Rubio and Obama is that Obama prevents abortions. The abortion rate today is about half of what it was in 1976. Teen pregnancies are at an all-time low. Here is the greatest irony of the so-called life debate: Abortion is more common where it’s illegal. And if you want to prevent abortions, you do the opposite of what Republicans did in Texas by defunding Planned Parenthood and denying poor women access to health care. Instead, you do what Barack Obama did, with the greatest expansion of contraception coverage in American history via the Affordable Care Act, which may have been the one thing the U.S. government has done that will prevent the most abortions. Of course, Marco Rubio wants to repeal it.