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tv   President Trumps First 100 Days  CSPAN  June 20, 2017 4:38am-6:14am EDT

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he will speak in front of the senate energy and natural resources committee. we begin live coverage at 10:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. later in the day federal communications commission will hear testimony from the fcc chair and commissioners. they spent before senate appropriations subcommittee live at 2:30 eastern on c-span3. on wednesday, former homeland security secretary jeh johnson will testify on russian interference in the 2016 presidential elections. be speaking before the house intelligence committee. you will be able to watch live starting at 10:00 a.m. eastern here on c-span3. you can watch online at or stream on the c-span radio app. up next, remarks from l.a. times, washington bureau chief david lauder on the first 100 days of the trump administration. he was join by several university of southern california political science professors as they looked at trump supporters and voters and
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polling collect by usc before the election. this is about 90 minutes. [ inaudible ] on behalf of the institute, political science department [ inaudible ] welcome to the next in a series of conferences that we're holding designed to bring together political actors, journalists and academics to discuss major issues and inflection points. we have two changes. first anthony scaramucci who was close to president trump phone willed to say he has been summoned to a meeting in washington. ambassador nina [ inaudible ] who was in china when she accepted this conference put the date and time into her phone there, and so she showed up yesterday, primed and ready for the conference. but we're ready today and we have an outstanding array of panelists. our aim is to proceed, as in all of these conferences, in the
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president of president kennedy who called on americans to disenthrall themselves also from truism and stereotype and never enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought. or as president reagan said the ultimate determinative in the struggle will be a test of ideas. let me introduce my friend and colleague in this venture to moderate the first panel, professor dennis trunk. >> good morning. i would like to add my welcome to all of you at the usc 100 days conference on the trump administration and trump presidency. bob and i hosted a conference in late november after the election and everyone who participated in that event i think was a bit stunned because of the unexpected outcome, and now we're almost 100 days into the
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administration and i think we're still probably a bit disoriented by the whirlwind of events that have been taking place, from russia to syria, wire tapping, travel ban, north korea, repeal and replacement of obamacare, supreme court nomination, tax reform, the list goes on. we're going to today try to make sense of many of these things with the help of an amazing group of experts, from the usc [ inaudible ] and beyond. in planning these conferences, principle goal that bob and i have -- have used is to bring together in dialogue the perspectives, insights of scholars and also those active in the world of public affairs. i think then it is appropriate that this marriage of perspectives is taking place in this particular venue which is known as town and gown.
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so let me provide you with a brief preview of today's event. we're going to have four panel discussions over the course of the day, two this morning and also two this afternoon, separated by a lunch break. our two morning panels are going to focus on the state of public opinion and on domestic politics and in the afternoon we will talk about the administration's actions in foreign affairs and also discuss the future of the democratic and republican parties. at the end of each of our panels we're going to reserve time for the audience to be asking to ask questions. so i want to invite all of you and i want to thank you again for being here, getting here on a -- on an early morning, for an early morning panel in los angeles is always a challenge i know. so thank you for being here, and i invite you to sit back and enjoy today's discussion. i'm going to start by moderating the first panel.
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thank you very much. [ applause ] >> good morning. [ inaudible ]. >> panel one [ inaudible ]. >> how is that? nothing. [ inaudible ]. >> so the first panel is on politics and polling, and i want to begin by introducing the panelists here. going from left to right, to my far left is joel pollock. joel is the senior editor at large and in-house counsel at "brightbart news." he's also the author of "how
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trump won, the inside story of a revolution." [ inaudible ] marie hancock alpharo is a professor of political science and gender studies at usc thorn site and is a renowned scholar on the topics of the intersection of race, gender, class and sexuality politics. bill carrick is a democratic consultant and chief strategist for diane feinstein and erik garcetti. to my right is ari captane who is executive director of usc dorn side center for economic and social research. to his right is jill darling. jill is sur i have director for usc dorn side center for economic and social research.
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ari and jill direct the usc and day break hole which has gained some notoriety for in the november 2016 election, for showing trump to be doing much better than a lot of other competitor polls. lastly, david lauder is the washington bureau chief at the los angeles times. he works with and reports on the [ inaudible ] poll. so we're going to begin with a presentation of the day break poll results at the 100 day mark, and jill and ari will be -- will be doing that for us. >> my turn now. good morning. so i'm going to start and just sort of walk of through some of the findings from the poll that we just conducted and a poll that we conducted in april, and then i will hand it off to ari
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to tell us a little bit more about some of the in-depth findings. so i'm going to stay seated here because it is a little hard to see this from the dais but it is hard to stand here, too. as an introduction, these surveys that we conducted were among respondents in a national internet panel that we maintained at the center for economic and social research. it is a probability-based panel. we asked questions of them before the election, in our preelection polling, and then we did follow-up surveys in january, february, march and april, and some of the -- a couple of the questions that we talk about today were asked over time in those. mostly what we're going to be looking at is the post-election result over the last two months where we polled in march and april. we're interested in mainly
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really looking into rather than sort of investigating the high-level horse race numbers that -- headline numbers i'm probably going to really sort of give you right now, we really are very interested in diving a little deeper and looking at some of the underlying reasons for what we're seeing and trying to get a little bit more in depth. that's an ongoing project for us and this is sort of an opening salvo in that. all right. so to start with, basically there is still the partisan divide that we saw before the election continues to persist after the election in the sense that people who are -- voted for donald trump -- and in all of these slides that going to be designated in red as is now traditional -- and people who voted for hillary clinton are the blue bars in these charts. so you can see when you ask about just this very general question that pollsters like to ask because it is actually pretty useful, and it doesn't
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always but this time very much closely tracks this partisan divide. but we see that there's a lot of optimism being expressed here by trump voters and the opposite feeling among people who voted for hillary clinton. i'll talk about third party voters a little bit later on, so right now i'm sort of going to be going through this divide and talking about how we really are seeing a country where two groups of people are seeing things very deeply from one another. this is the -- talking about the -- we asked them to tell us about how they saw things improving or whether they were getting worse or staying the same over the next 12 months in a variety of issues that we asked about. you can see that for this, this is expecting improvement, there's sort of guarded optimism among trump voters for -- and i
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can't see the list from here so let me just get it off my page here so i can tell you exactly what those are. the list -- the list that we asked about were the rights of minorities and women, individual freedoms, threat of terrorism, jobs and unemployment, health care and health care reform, race relations and the environment. there was quite a bit of optimism among trump voters about jobs and employment, a small among about clon ton voters as well. you can see this is very different from the response that we got from the clinton voters and this is now the percent that said things are going to get worse. so, you know, rather than people thinking that things are going to stay the same, you can see clinton voters really feeling like the month ahead -- and we are talking about the short term here, 12-month outlook, looks
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pretty bad. there's sort of a guarded sense of -- i don't know if it is optimism, but i would say the plurality of who thought things would stay the same or get better, the majority think it is going to get the same or better about unemployment, perhaps looking toward infrastructure spending, in that category. so we also asked about -- asked them to say worhether or not th would attribute a series of positive characteristics to trump, and those were keeping promises, speaking for people like me, inspiring confidence, bringing needed change to washington d.c., representing american values, if his ethical and trustworthy, and bases policy on facts and good data. as you can see, he had extremely high levels of endorsement among his own voters and very low
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endorsement among clinton's voters. so, once again, a view of the president that is just strikingly different from one another. and this extends then to, of course, the deep divisions that we see when you rate -- rating his job as president, where once again we have pretty much equal levels of approval and disapproval depending on whether -- who they voted for in the election. this neither category, which is neither approve or disapprove, was much higher a month ago. so we saw some consolidation across here, and particularly among trump vote ofrs, trump vos who were maybe waiting to see what the president would do over time moved into the category of approval just really over the last month. so we also asked about keeping
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promises. you know, that's one of the themes that has come up around the 100 days mark, you know, has he accomplished what he said he would do, and people who voted for donald trump, the majority, 81%, thought that he accomplish as much or more than he said he would do. you can see that the majority of clinton voters disagreed with that, but 20%, one in five, said he had at least accomplished as much as he said he would do. so there's a certainly amount of giving trump some credit for at least working towards what he said he would do and perhaps not holding him responsible among his supporters for not accomplishing some of the sort of large scale things that he said, they can see him working towards it. so we -- in sort of trying to get at the idea of whether there was a difference between whether
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people liked him personally and approve of his policies, we actually asked that question spread out this way. did they like him personally and/or like or dislike him personally and/or approve of his policies, and we also gave them an out in not being sure about his policies. as you can see, we had a high percentage of -- but not -- let's see. i can't even see that number and i don't remember it off the top of my head. was that -- >> 53. >> thank you. 53% of republicans who said that they like him and approve of his policies. so not overwhelmingly so. and another 19% there, one in five, who said they like him. they're not really sure yet about his policies. again, there's sort of a sub set of wait and see. and then another 17% who said that they dislike him personally
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but approve of his policies. of course, we did see some of that in the preelection polling as well, that people were saying that they were voting for him based on issues rather than -- rather than personality. the feeling among clinton supporters, of course, seven out of ten disliked him, disapproved, and 20% said that they disliked him and they weren't really sure yet about his policies, they had to wait and see. so we don't have a lot of optimism among the -- excuse me -- the third party voters either. 59% disapproved of his -- the job that he's doing. he had a high proportion saying he is on the wrong track, disliking trump and being not sure about his policies and
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predicting things were getting -- there's a certain amount of optimism but not a lot in predicting things would get better in jobs and employment, 56% saying things would stay the same. we didn't see much optimism about things getting better among this group, and when you see this almost exact division between people who voted for clinton and voted for trump, the reason for overall low ratings that you're seeing in other surve surveys than we saw in ours for approval and right track and optimism about the future, really it is the -- tipping the balance are the folks who voted for third parties, the independent and people who didn't actually vote in the election but we're not showing here. we did see some small changes since march as i mentioned earlier among trump supporters. we had a 10 point increase among
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trump voters that brought them further into the job approval category, and we saw some improvement among -- not much movement among clinton and third party voters. we saw sort of an interesting effect too that it was sort of more detectable in terms of downward ripples and positive attributes for trump in among his supporters, people feeling like they weren't as enthusiastically endorsing that he had kept his promises, that he was bringing needed change, perhaps because of the blockage that had been going on, but on the other hand quite a bit of the movement towards approval from neutrality was among people, the other group of people who really did see him as keeping his promises and bringing needed change. so that's sort of a division among that group of trump voters
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as well. oh, yeah. so we did see -- we have seen, you know, that in many ways really opinions have changed little. we still have the post-election era that generally you have a honeymoon period for presidents who -- you know, where you have support from both sides, or at least sort of a positive level of waiting and seeing. in this case because of the rhetoric that we've had since the election and all of the events that have gone on, we're seeing this persistence -- and ari is going to take it from here and tell us a little bit more about some of what has gone on. >> thank you. so i'm going to show you some more red and white -- red and blue, i think that's sort of in the nature of what we do today. i will start with a -- i would say with brown and yellow. so we have done this poll for quite a while, and the
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underlying data of the panel has been around for about three or four years. sometimes i will talk about things we know from a few years ago and then finally i will talk about what we found just a few weeks ago. so one of the things we asked a number of times starting in august was how happy would you be when hillary clinton would be president and how happy would you be if donald trump would be president? it seems, as you know trump got elected i'm only going to talk about trump here. if you look at august, you know, quite a bit of the respondents said they would be very unhappy if trump were president. these are the people who gave zero on a zero to ten scale, and a small number said they would be happy if trump were president. right after the election you see quite a bit of change. you see that people who thought about really bad if trump would become president, it drops from
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40 to 30. the number of people who say they would be very happy is going up. we don't really know why this is, but you can sort of imagine how this happened. after the election always thought it was terrible if trump would become president and you wake up and he's actually president. and maybe you decide life is not as bad as you thought, but it is something that we don't quite know what happened. and if you look after that, so you look at sort of the brown bar are the people that would be very unhappy. then after the election really not much has changed on either. so the people didn't like the notion that he would be president, that number hasn't really changed. what you do see though is the yellow bar seems to be going down a little bit. we seattle bit of slipping if you like in support for trump. you can also look at this in a different way. so what you do here is we look at just the average score on the zero to ten scale. i said people can give a numb fwer between zero and ten, zero is bad and ten is very good, and
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we blake it down by who they vote for in the election and you see among the trump voters there's a bit of slippage. on zero to ten scale, about three-quarters of a point on average the support has gone down. and then for the clinton voters there's really no change, no change that's worth talking about. among other voters maybe a little more and then among [ inaudible ] there's a little less. so all together my [ inaudible ] would be there's not thatch change. there's another way to look at that because we also asked people if the election were today who would you vote for, and what you find is that the vast majority of the trump voters say they would vote for him again. and as a matter of fact -- so, by the way, you may have noticed that jill sometimes couldn't read the slide. the reason is we're actually looking at -- what you see is actually the number of people who would say they would vote for clinton again is a little less than the
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people who say they would vote for trump again. so in many ways, you know, opinions haven't really change willed as much. people are pretty much fixed in their preferences, and there's some movement from people who voted for johnson or stein. one of the things that jill talks about a little bit, optimism and pes michl, optimism and pessimism, we would ask how dow feel about the situation and we would ask dow think it is going to be better next year. you see that, and this is about one or two years ago. it is one or two years ago because not everyone answered this question at the same time but way before the election. what you see there is that clinton voters, the clinton voters were definitely more optimistic about financial future than trump voters. now we ask this question in
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april and you see a stark reversal. now you see not only trump voters are much more optimistic and for example the clinton voters are more likely to say their future financial situation will be worse than today. but as that number has shrunk to only 5% for the trump voters. about the same, there's not too much of a difference. we can still also show it in a different way. what i do here is simply look at the difference between the percent of -- between the clinton and trump voters. what you see is sort of the dark red, that's before the election and then sort of the, what is it, vague pink is after the election. you see before the election there was quite a difference in optimism between clinton and trump voters, and then after the election you see it goes the other way. you see that now the trump voters are 30 percentage points more likely to be optimistic. if you look at worse, you see
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that among -- before the election the clinton voters was 6% less likely to think it was going to get worse and now they're 11% more likely to think it is getting worse. so we see really a remarkable change in optimism. realistically nothing has changed at this point, right? it is not as if suddenly the world has changed. it is just a different expectation as a result one has to assume of who got elected. in general the country is fragmented not just in what they feel and thai believes as jill has said but also in, for example, who they know. about half of the clinton voters, they don't really know anyone who voted for trump, maybe a few, but then among the trump voters there's hardly anyone who knows anyone who voted for clinton. so you have these different groups. they have their own circle of friends and acquaintances, they have similar opinions, and as a
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result their opinion doesn't necessarily change very much because their opinions get reinforced by the people they talk to, and i think that's pretty symmetric among the two groups. so i'm now going to talk a little bit about -- of course, we have many questions. i'm just picking a few that i think are worth sort of highlighting. so one of the questions we asked is -- because people have talked about alienation, do feel a part of the political process, do they feel they have any influence on what is going on. so we showed people a number of statements they could agree or disagree with. this is the statement where, the statement is essentially people like me have very little say in what is going on in washington. you see here that the clinton assumption is actually pretty much the same. it is not as if one group is alienated, the other one isn't.
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they're pretty much on the same page. on the other hand if you then ask them, what do you -- what kind of opinion do you value, then you see a stark difference. you see that the statement where people are asked to agree or disagree with the statement i rather trust ordinary people than experts, you see that the clinton voters are much more likely to disagree with that. they're much more likely to put their trust in experts than tru trump voters. you see it more starkly if you look at the statement that say scientific facts don't help much. you see a full 50% of the clinton voters strongly disagree with that statement. you will see among trump voters people are much more likely to endorse that statement. of course, if you think of probably discussions about some of the -- you know, some of the more debatable or scientific findings that are more part of public debate, then of course you can understand how this plays out in this case. on the other hand, if you ask
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the question, do you consider yourself to be like most americans, then actually they're pretty similar. so whether you're a trump voter or clinton voter, you feel that you're like other americans and i guess that's not surprising if you only know people who have been clinton voters or trump voters. the american they perceive they're living in and what is happening in society is very different across these groups. you can see this here, for instance. so we asked people a number of questions about facts. we just asked them if it is true or false. by the way, each of these statements you see a t or an f in front, and that's our belief whether they're true or false. you can disagree but that's what we think is true. i'm not going through all of them. for example, there is a question about -- i can see, okay. so there's a question about whether there were a few million illegal votes cast in the election. you see a definite statement that's endorsed much more by
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trump voters than clinton voters. during the obama administration, about nine million jobs were created. you see that around 80% of the clinton voters actually agree with that and less than half of the trump voters believe that's true. to have one final example, of course we have the long running discussion about the russian influence in 2016 election, and you see again it is about 80% of the clinton voters really think it played a role and then among the trump voters it is more like 15%. so they are really different. so clinton are aware of where these places are coming from, the sources of news that they consult. so we asked people, you know, what are your news sources and they can click on as many as they like. what you see here is probably not surprising, is that the clinton voters, they have a pretty broad range of news sources they consult like npr
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and cnn and national newspapers. if you look at the trump voter, of course there's also a variation across sources but for them fox news is by far the most important, whereas for the same time clinton voters fox is at the bottom. it even gets more striking if you look at who do they trust. so this is about who they trust. now you see that the clinton voters, they trust pretty much every news source except fox, and the trump voters -- you know, i'm exaggerating a little bit -- pretty much they trust the white house, the trump white house which is now a category. it wasn't on the previous one. but then you see fox is a close second. you see the other ones being quite a bit lower. it is worth to explore this a little more. one of the things we do is so this graph, what we do here is we only look at the people who say they trust fox. so we look at all of those who say they trust fox, and then we look at how much do they trust
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these other sources. what you see is that these other sources, npr, cnn or the national newspapers, they get scored way below 50%. if you trust fox you are unlikely to trust these other sources very much. of course, we can repeat this game for everyone who trusts cnn. here we have everyone that trusts cnn, you know, we ask them who else do you trust and you see these trust these other sources well above 50% except for one, they don't really trust fox all that much. do the same thing for national newspapers, washington street journal, "new york times," usa today, and you see the people that trust these national newspapers, they trust other sources except fox not so much. finally msnbc the same picture. what you see is people either trust fox and not the others very much or the other way around. by the way, you may note here that internet sources are not in here and that's because we asked for a number of internet sources, but they really get less than 10%. people may read the internet,
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they may look at the internet, but when it comes to trust at this point it is not to be expected. it is really in many ways, you might say, fox visa v the rest. so if we sort of, you know, summarize or define here, third of all, as i said the traditional media still seem to be the dominant source of information. and then there is agreement probably among the electorate in many ways that they don't feel generally they have a lot of say in what is going on in the government. but then the country is fragmented in a number of different ways. first of all, as we have seen, you know, their friends and acquaintances usually have the same opinion so there's not that much call for exchange of different ideas, and then they have different news sources they consult, different news sources they trust, they have different opinions about the roles of expertise, they have different opinions about the government, they have quite different views
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on whether certain facts are true or not true. they're very different in their expectations about the future, whether optimistic or pessimistic. of course, all of that feeds directly into appreciation of the president. you know, finally what is important, we haven't really seen all that much of a change. so what we have here is -- and i think by now it should be clear given all of the blue and red bars i have shown and jill has shown, is that the country is very divided in many different ways, and also the division doesn't really change that much. so it seems to be reasonable to expect that this division will be with us for quite a while. >> thank you. thank you, jill. [ applause ] >> ari. [ applause ] >> what i would like to do is get some of the other panelists involved in the discussion of the poll. let me start with david because david wrote in today's "los
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angeles times" in an overview and also some analysis of the 100 days and with reference to the poll that jill and ari just went over. you know, david, i was wondering could you put some of these findings and give some historical perspective for us. you know, party polarization has been a fact of life in u.s. politics for a while now, but even -- but these results show even greater disagreement between democrats and republicans than has been the case with recent administrations. what we're seeing is not only disapproval but we're also seeing a lot of intensity of opinion, people who strongly approve or strongly disapprove. so the poll results i think are in keeping with the growing trend toward disapproval, disapproval of the president among members of the opposition
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party, but we've seen rather dramatic changes over time. if you go back a half century, at the 100 century with john f. kennedy's administration, over 60% or more of republicans approved of kennedy. even if we look at barack obama, his approval rating in his first administration was in the mid 30s. so today only around 10% of democrats approve of trump. so tell us about, you know, presidential honeymoons. are they a thing of the past? >> that's a good question. so let me just start out by thanking ari and jill. we had a very productive polling partnership with them and with the -- through the election and i'm glad that's continued. it is always a pleasure to be here on the usc campus, so i want to thank them and bob and
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the students and the center for doing this work. so if there are two things that i, uh, would hope, uh, you all would take away from the poll and from what we've seen with -- with president trump and his -- his standing with the country, would be polarization and stability. as dennis was alluding to, it was not that long ago that presidents would come into office with significant support from the opposition party. it didn't always last, but they would at least start out that way. as i think bob and bill carrick would probably agree, public figures' approval ratings tended to be event driven. if you had success, your approval rating would go up.
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if you had something happen that was bad, your approval rating would go down. what we found with president obama after the first few months, his approval rating settled into an extremely polarized pattern that basically never changed. if we blip up a little bit, the bin laden raid, for example, tick his approval level up a few points. the stand-off over the debt ceiling in 2011 ticked it down a few points, but those blips were both small and temporary. overall obama's approval rating was remarkably stable and remarkably polarized, even more so than george w. bush's had been. and it appears that president trump has continues exactly that same pattern of a hyperpolarized and therefore extremely stable
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approval rating where those who don't like him don't like him and those who do like him are going to stick with him. that's largely because the approval ratings and the political polarization have become consistent with a number of other -- what you could think of as tribal divisions in american politics, divisions of race, divisions of education, divisions of urban versus rural, the kinds of things that get to the question that goes through a person's mind of "i'm the kind of person who." i'm the kind of person who looks at the world in a particular way, and that particular way has become consistent with a particular political party which didn't used to be the case. if you think back to the 1960s and '70s, there were conservative democrats, there were liberal republicans. those species have largely
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disappeared at this point, and the two parties have become so much more consistent along these -- these fundamental fault lines of "i'm the kind of person who," that it is much harder for them to change. so you see this very stable level of approval with trump. now, with trump the approval rating is lower, stable but lower than it was with obama, and that largely reflect the reality that the republican base is smaller than the democratic base. so you're starting out with a smaller group. so then, of course, the question becomes what happens over the next several years? we don't know, needily to say, but there are a couple of things that i would suggest we can look toward and things that will be critical. one is that not only is the republican base smaller than the
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democratic base, it is more divided. obama largely converted the democratic party. the democratic party became the obama party. trump captured the republican party. he hasn't converted it yet. he may but he has not yet done that. as the poll shows, as jill mentioned about one in six trump voters say they don't really like him. they may approve of his policies, but they voted for him because they disliked the other candidate more, not because they liked him. there was a lot of negative polarization in the -- in the election and it has benefitted trump ultimately. that group of republicans who don't particularly like trump tend to be more up scale, better educated, the kind of voters that we saw in suburban regions
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like orange county here in southern california or like the suburbs of atlanta where the special election was held earlier this month where the republicans have been underperforming. so that's one thing to look at, that kind of fraction in the republican party. the other is the kind of thing that we've seen in the -- in the health care debate. the administration has been unable to get an obamacare repeal bill through the house despite the fact that it was a central campaign theme not only for the president but even more so for republican members of congress going back to 2010. part of that reflects the fact that republicans have been able to agree on repeal but not on replacement, but part of it also reflects some very deep divisions within the republican
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party about policy, and those are divisions that trump to some extent has exacerbated because his policies, prescriptions, the sort of nationalist, populist appeals that he has made are to a significant extent at odds with other parts of the republican party and you see that push and pull in health care debate. you see it in -- whenever the debate turns to entitlements where the president's views are significantly different from those of the house leadership and to some extent the senate leadership. you see it on trade and you'll see it in the tax debate as this unfolds over the next year. so as those debates continue the
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question i think -- and the one that my colleagues and i in washington are going to be trying to watch is does the president succeed in converting the republican party and really making it his party, or do these divisions between his position and the more orthodox republican's position persist in worsen, in which case you may begin to see his approval ratings move downward despite those -- the kind of tribal polarization that i mentioned to begin with. so those are my thoughts at this point. >> great, thanks. you know, in the poll, picking up on that, there's good news and bad news for the democrats. trump is seen as out of touch, but at the same time we've seen in polling that the democratic
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party is seen as being even more out of touch with the people than trump is. we are seeing no regrets from trump voters, but we're seeing maybe some regrets in the poll and the results that jill and ari just present. we're seeing some regrets among clinton voters, not that they would have voted for trump but that they might have stayed at home or voted for a third party candidate. when you look at the 100-day poll it is not only a report card on republicans, but it also tells us how well i think -- or maybe gives us some clues about how well the democrats are doing in countering trump. what does the poll tell us about the successor la or lack of suc of the democratic party as the opposition party? i want to turn to bill carrick as the democratic strategist. how do you interpret public opinion at this stage as far as
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how well the party is doing, the democratic party? >> well, thanks for that, dennis. the reality is the whole entire political landscape right now is totally dominated by trump, and the democratic party has got obviously a little divided on how to approach that. how do you deal with trump? we have people who make a strong case that we should be in continual and aggressive, active resistance to the republicans, and there are people who are looking to try to figure out, okay, is there any way we can do business with this guy on something. as jill suggested the largest opportunity there teams sob infrastructure, although as
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david suggested when we get into these issues they become rather complex, and there are republicans who think infrastructure is to give tax cuts to build things and the democrats want no part of that. they want to see public investment in infrastructure with at a minimum public/private partnerships. there's a deep division in the democratic party on how to deal with trump. now, on the other hand, trump may deal with himself in a way that ends up being beneficial to the democrats. obviously the big takeaway from this poll is the unbelievable polarization. americans seem to be trapped in their own silos, whether they're partisan, racial, geographic or ethnic, and to some extent gender based, and even to the
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point that the old cliche about everybody goes and finds the news they like is starting to be suddenly true based on the numbers that have come back. it is not universal, but obviously there are republicans, trump supporters who go to fox news to hear what they want to hear and there are democrats and progressives who go to msnbc seeking the news they want. so we're almost having a debate with people with two different sets of information about the world and the country. i thought it was the most intriguing weaknesses i saw with respect to trump in this is the individual attributes here that were quite negative. the big picture, we still see the polarization, we see an extension of the november election and people's attitudes
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on election day. but you look at the individual attributes about what he's doing and how people react to that and how they feel about him and his ability to accomplish things or be consistent, all of these things, they're really quite bad. now, they may actually be predictors of where public opinion takes donald trump in probably the relatively near future. i would also say there's to me -- i mean the numbers didn't deal directly with this, but, you know, the real question mark is he is now locked into a post-november position, the same place he was then. the question is if he had success, david, instead of failure on health care, what if he had suck sealed ceeded in re
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and coming up with an alternative, would that have taken voters in the trump soft category -- which you see plenty of evidence that there are some soft supporters of trump -- if they start to not like the things that he's accomplishing -- right now he is being judged by his failures. you know, i think maybe for the republicans worse than his failures may be his successes. i mean just one of the subjects of the day, i mean, okay, raise your hand if you thought we would be in a trade war with canada now. you know, so we're -- his successes may be more damaging to the republicans than his failures. grid lock has also been with us for a while, but as dennis said, but if you look at -- we had two in our lifetime, almost
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everybody in the room's lifetime, we've had two extremely polarizing elections. '92, which people forget, was a three-way election and a whole of a lot of voters said, a plague on both your houses. bill clinton got elected and his approval rating was in the 50s in the first 1 hu00 days. in 2000 we had the longest election process in the history of the country. we were still counting almost up to the inauguration. in fact, if vice president gore hadn't taken himself out, we may still be counting. the reality is that he, president george w. bush ended up with an approval rating in the low 50s. so the depths of trump's lack of approval rating are -- are obviously unique and historic.
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and his -- you know, everybody moves off the bottom, and he's going to -- he may move 10 points and you may actually be, you know, within striking distance of george w. bush and bill clinton were in two very polarizing post-election environments, but that's not going to help him. that's not going to help him govern. finally, i think david makes an excellent point, and we're seeing this, but i don't think this wasn't in our poll today but we've seen other polls that have paul ryan may end up being exactly where nancy pelosi is in public opinion pretty quickly. congress gets a lot of credit for grid lock. it is just inevitable.
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if the government, god forbid, shuts down that is usually right on congress. it will be on the president too, but at what point does the interest and ambitions of the congressional republican diverge from trump's personal agenda? we have discussed trade, entitlement, tax cuts and some of the foreign policy issues. we've seen stark differences between the republicans and the president. we don't often have that in our political system. we're not a parliamentary system. it is not the same as uk, but we are usually the partisans of one political party are very supportive of the president. now, occasionally we've -- certainly during the 1950s we had eisenhower doing a lot of business with democrats and we
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saw bill clinton in the '90s do a lot of business with republicans. we've had that dynamic, but we've usually, we've usually had, you know, the roosevelt/taft is a case in point, but we usually had those of the president's party in congress be very supportive. so far we've seen with the freedom caucus and the moderates, we've seen a lot of fracturing of the republican coalition in congress. and when we've had that in the past or we've had rumors of that, the president's gone across the aisle and dealt with the democrats. now, with the exception of infrastructure i don't see a lot of opportunity for trump to figure out how to do business with the democrats. and if he's going to transcend this polarization and grid lock we saw in the poll, he's going to have to figure out some way to do that.
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