President Trump gestures as he returns to the White House. (Kevin Dietsch/pool/European Pressphoto Agency-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Every once in a while, Quinnipiac University conducts a national poll in which it asks people to describe the president in one word. It always yields an interesting result, if not necessarily a thoroughly robust one statistically (he said, covering his bases). As it did in the pollsters’ most recent iteration.

This time, respondents were asked the one word they would use to describe President Trump’s first year in office. There were 43 words that were mentioned at least five times — and most of those words were not complimentary.

The most common response was “disaster” (mentioned 69 times), followed by “chaotic” (62 times). The most popular complimentary word was “successful” (44 times), although that was quickly followed by “horrible” (28 times).

This is one of those rare times when a word cloud can be illuminating (he said, again covering his bases). The words that jump out at you here are probably not ones that Trump would use to describe his presidency.


We can make the point more clearly. Below, we’ve colored the words by whether they’re generally complimentary (shades of red) or negative (blues) toward Trump’s first year. (Words that are basically value-neutral were left as shades of gray.)


Quinnipiac also asked people to grade Trump’s first year. His grade-point average was a 1.5 — a D-plus average. Among Republicans, he had a 3.1; among Democrats, a 0.5. (Independents matched the overall average.)


A lot more Democrats gave Trump an F than Republicans gave Trump an A. In fact, the number of Republicans giving Trump a B was about equal to the number giving him an A.

That might explain some of the less dramatic evaluations of Trump’s first year: That it was “interesting” or “okay.” Those are B-minus-level ratings, to be sure.