Poll: Americans Deeply Divided on Trump’s Legacy

The partisan divide in Americans’ opinions of Donald Trump’s presidency has only widened since he left office two months ago.

Former President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Fla., on Feb. 28, 2021. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

(CN) — Americans are divided along party lines over how they view former President Donald Trump’s tenure in the White House, according to a new Pew Research Center survey.

More than half of U.S. adults (53%) say the Trump presidency was a below-average one, and 41% called him a “terrible” president. Only 35% described his presidency as above average.

Famous for his red trucker hat emblazoned with the “Make America Great Again” campaign slogan, Trump himself was called “great” by only 17% of Americans, according to the survey published Monday.

More than three-quarters of Republicans and conservative independents said Trump made progress on the nation’s biggest problems, while only 7% of Democrats and liberal independents agreed. On the other hand, two-thirds of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents said he made problems worse in the U.S., while only 5% of Republicans and conservative-leaning independents agreed with that view.

Setting partisan analysis aside, almost identical shares of adults in the U.S. believe Trump made progress on the United States’ major problems (38%) as disagree with that statement (37%).

The survey purposefully did not specify what the “major problems facing the country” were in the question posed to survey respondents.

Pew researchers report that 51% of Americans rate Trump “very coldly,” or between 0 and 24 on a scale to 100. Just under one-fourth of Americans gave Trump a “very warm” rating, 75 or greater.

These numbers track with the nonpartisan polling organization’s findings throughout the Trump presidency. When the same question was posed in November 2020, 50% gave Trump a very cold rating, while 23% gave him a very warm one. According to this metric, the former president was at his least divisive in December 2016, when only 37% of U.S. adults rated him between 0 and 24.

Perhaps predictably, the partisan divide here is stark: since March 2018, at least four-fifths of Democrats and independents leaning Democrat gave Trump a very cold rating. Looking back, liberals are as icy as ever on Trump’s legacy, with 84% agreeing on a very cold rating.

To find these figures, the researchers polled 12,055 adults in the U.S. in the first week of March — nearly two months after Trump left office — via web surveys conducted in English and Spanish. The survey’s respondents were members of Pew’s American Trends Panel, which is nationally representative and whose poll responses are weighted to correct for population demographics and survey noncoverage.

“Inevitably, survey samples will be imperfect models of the population. But they can be adjusted to better match the population through the process of weighting, which aligns characteristics of the sample to known population parameters,” the Pew Research Center explains.

For statistics derived from the full sample of 12,055 respondents, the margin of error is plus or minus 1.5%.

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