During last year's darkly divisive campaign, as candidate Donald Trump said he wanted to punch a protester in the face and told a cable news host "I have to" hit back when hit against, poll after poll showed that voters were concerned about his temperament.
Now a new Pew Research Center survey has asked whether Americans think President-elect Trump will be too "impulsive" when it comes to making important decisions in office. The results, released Tuesday, said the majority — 58 percent — think Trump will be too abrupt in his decision-making, while 34 percent said they thought his approach to decision-making would be "about right." Just 4 percent said he would be too cautious.
The survey was conducted between Jan. 4 and 9, coming before Trump's tweets directed at actress Meryl Streep Sunday night, who criticized him during a speech at the Golden Globes awards, but after he had taken to Twitter to rebuke others who have opposed him publicly, such as United Steelworkers union leader Chuck Jones. The survey queried 1,502 U.S. adults, 651 of whom identified as Republicans and 726 of whom identified as Democrats.
Unsurprisingly, the survey's results broke down along party lines, with just 22 percent of conservative Republicans and 40 percent of moderate or liberal Republicans expressing concern that Trump's decision-making style will be too impulsive as president. Meanwhile, 94 percent of liberal Democrats and 77 percent of moderate or conservative Democrats said they were concerned about his approach.
The question was one of several in the new survey to address leadership issues regarding President-elect Trump in the days leading up to his inauguration. One of the primary jobs of incoming leaders is to effectively communicate the plans and policies they intend to enact and focus on as part of their agenda. The survey found that just 39 percent of the total group of respondents approved of the job Trump had done in explaining his plans and policies. That compared to 70 percent which approved of the job Obama had done of communicating his policies in 2008, Pew's report states.
Again, that finding broke down among party lines, with 72 percent of Republicans approving of his explanations and 83 percent of Democrats disagreeing.
Another major leadership responsibility — naming a senior team to help lead the country — also saw a lower approval rate compared with 2008, Pew found. Forty-one percent of respondents said they approved of Cabinet choices he had made, compared with 66 percent who approved of Obama's selections in 2008.
The survey also asked who they felt would be most active in actually running the administration, with 50 percent saying Trump would be in charge while 43 percent say other people in his administration would be. In this case, that is higher than in January 2001, Pew reports, when a CBS/New York Times survey found that 38 percent of people thought President George W. Bush would be in charge of his administration, while 53 percent said they felt others would be. Again, these results broke down largely along party lines.
The survey was released the same day that a poll from Quinnipiac University found lower numbers for Trump on other questions of leadership. When compared with a November poll, it showed lower percentages of Americans said he would be a better leader than Obama, that he'd take the country in the right direction, as well as more negative ratings on views of his honesty, his leadership skills, his level-headedness and his ability to unite the country.
The Pew survey also asked Americans whether they could name a Cabinet selection or other high-level appointment, and just 34 percent could recall at least one name. That's much lower than in January 2009, when 65 percent could do the same for Obama's picks — though likely because of the name recognition of Hillary Clinton as secretary of State — but higher than in 1993, when just 21 percent could name one of Bill Clinton's nominations.