A new poll finds that a majority of voters expect President-elect Donald Trump to dismantle Obama’s legacy, and many think it isn’t such a bad idea.
A poll by Suffolk University/USA Today finds that 59 percent of respondents think Trump will quickly move to erase many of the things Barack Obama views as achievements during his eight year regime. Meanwhile a smaller though still significant number, 45 percent, said Trump’s plan to wipe out Obama’s legacy is a good thing. Still, 43 percent said they would disagree with the move.
But there was a “disconnect” in the polling, as David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston, noted. “A majority of voters said that history will assess Barack Obama as a great or good president,” Paleologos said. “And yet, there appears to be a disconnect, as so many voters are unconcerned that the job he did could be undone.”
Even as such a large number agreed that eliminating Obama’s legacy was warranted, the poll also found that most surveyed had high marks for President Obama. While 54 percent approved of the job he did (41 percent disapproved), the numbers of those saying he was a good or even great president were even stranger when weighed against the number who said his legacy should be erased.
The poll found that 18 percent said Obama would be remembered as a “great president” and almost 32 percent a “good president,” meaning just over half gave Obama very good marks for his eight years. In contrast, 25 percent said he was a fair president and only 23 percent marked him as a failed chief executive.
Also in relation to Obama’s legacy, the poll reports that 58 percent say the nation is more divided than ever, while only 29 percent say we are divided “about the same” as in the past.
As to the process that handed Donald Trump the White House, most said the Electoral College should remain part of our electoral system, with 50 percent saying it should continue. Forty-two percent said they would favor presidents being elected strictly via the popular vote.
As to Trump’s agenda, 46 percent said that Trump should focus on job creation, while only 17 percent said he should prioritize fighting ISIS and terrorism. Another 15 percent said he should transform Washington by “draining the swamp.”
One of Obama’s legacy programs, of course, is Obamacare, and the poll found a close result on the question of its effectiveness. Twenty-seven percent said Obamacare was the President’s biggest failure, while another 24 percent said it was his greatest achievement.
As to Mr. Trump’s vast business empire, 53 percent said the President-elect should do all he could to eliminate possible conflicts of interest between his business holdings and his job as president, and only 35 percent thought he was already taking the steps necessary to do so.
While polls asking who Americans think should be looking to run for president in 2020 are somewhat pointless this far out, two results were of interest. Fully 53 percent said First Lady Michelle Obama should never run for office and an even larger 66 percent said they’d like to see “someone new” run for president next time.
Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at email@example.com.