Clearly the doomsday scenarios have faded.
But the same poll suggests that Trump isn't getting great reviews and that he still has plenty to prove. It also suggests that people still want him to change.
Overall, just 26 percent of Americans say Trump is a good role model, and more than 6 in 10 say he's “reckless” and has “poor judgment.” Fully 36 percent of Republicans and GOP-leaning voters continue to describe Trump as reckless, and 34 percent still say he has poor judgment. Only 52 percent say he's a good role model. Those numbers are basically where they were before, if a touch better. And many of these are people who voted for Trump, mind you.
In addition, Trump continues to lag far behind his predecessors on his approval rating and views of his transition process.
Pew shows that just 40 percent of people say they approve of Trump's choices to fill out his Cabinet and his administration. That process has featured a number of controversial picks, including Trump's picks to serve as attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, along with his decision to tap other very wealthy people for many posts.
And just 41 percent approve of the job Trump has done explaining his agenda. Both of those are significantly lower than the past four presidents were at this point, none of which fell below a majority on either of those measures. And as recently as 2008, 7 in 10 approved of President-elect Obama on both counts, so it's not as though this is just a new reality of our partisan era; it's apparently specific to Trump.
Perhaps the most telling chart in the study, though, is this one.
It shows that a majority of Americans — 54 percent — still say Trump has done too little to distance himself from white nationalist groups. This number includes 31 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning voters. This, of course, could owe to the controversy over another Trump pick, chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, and Bannon's ties to the so-called “alt-right.”
This number speaks to very real lingering concerns about Trump's character and ability to be an effective president. So does the fact that people have been urging Trump to be more cautious post-election, both on and off Twitter.
Trump has certainly enjoyed a bit of a honeymoon period as president-elect, and his approval rating has risen just as we expected it would. But that measure can also be pretty superficial. Even President Obama has urged us to give Trump a chance, after all. And it seems as though Americans are heeding that advice.
But as for all the character flaws and liabilities that Trump demonstrated on the campaign trail? To many Americans, they're all still very much there. And even many Republicans continue to hold on to those reservations. What's more, little they've seen Trump produce has truly given them reason to applaud. Trump won 46 percent of the vote, but his favorable rating was generally closer to 40 percent. The numbers above suggest he's still stuck around 40 percent, for all intents and purposes.
Trump won an election, and Republicans have control of the country. But that hasn't vindicated Trump's approach to politics. People who are increasingly hopeful that he'll be a success also still want him to reform his ways.
He has shown little appetite for that, and his early reviews show that could be a problem. We'll see if he switches it up; this poll suggests he may have to.