NewsWorks Tonight host Dave Heller sits down for his weekly conversation with Gallup’s Frank Newport to talk about trends in U.S. opinion.
On this first day of Donald Trump’s Presidency, we look for some perspective.
There is no one, dominant problem facing the nation, according to the public. This is very unusual for incoming presidents. The only other president who took office with no dominant problem was George W. Bush in 2001.
Barack Obama took office with the huge worry over the economy; Bill Clinton took office with the economy dominant as the top problem; Ronald Reagan took office with a huge concern over inflation and the cost of living; Jimmy Carter took office with overwhelming concern about the economy and about inflation/cost of living; Richard Nixon took office with the Vietnam War as the dominant issue; John F. Kennedy took office with the economy as the top problem; and Dwight D. Eisenhower took office with concerns about war/possible war as the top problem.
Americans are more positive about the economy than at any time since the recession. They’re also very satisfied with their personal lives and are thriving more than at any time since the Great Recession.
The big, overarching sociological issue is the people’s loss of faith in major institutions that under-gird social structure and culture: the government most specifically, but also other institutions, and the media.
Trump is, overall, neither in sync nor out of sync with American public opinion in terms of his policy proposals. Americans like the proposal to spend more on infrastructure, lowering taxes and term limiting Congress. Americans are opposed to building a wall, and deporting illegal immigrants, and many Americans are mixed on what to do about the Affordable Care Act.