Trump claims his low approval ratings are “phony” and “rigged”

On January 17th, CNN reported that, according to a CNN/ORC poll, only 40% of respondents approved of the way Donald Trump was handling his presidential transition. In contrast, 84% of respondents approved of the way Barack Obama handled his transition in 2009.

Also on the 17th, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll, The Washington Post reported:

President-elect Donald Trump will take the oath of office Friday as the least-popular incoming president in at least four decades…

A Gallup poll conducted between January 20 – 22 showed that:

  • Trump [was the] first elected president with initial sub-50% approval rating
  • Trump also elicits the highest disapproval rating for a new president
  • Women closely divided; 42% approve and 49% disapprove

Trump’s response via Twitter was that the polls were “phony” and “rigged.”

In fact, the 2016 election polls turned out to be relatively accurate. On November 8, 2016, according to The New York Times, the national polling average showed Hillary Clinton at 45.9% and Donald Trump at 42.8% — a difference of 3.1%.


While Donald Trump won the election with an Electoral College majority, Clinton won the popular vote by just under three million votes (2,865,075), or about 2.1% (source). Therefore, the national polling average was only off by about 1% — well within any such poll’s margin of error.

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