Is Trump Stronger Than He Seems?

New polls suggest that Donald J. Trump has the lowest approval and favorability ratings of any incoming president in the polling era — by a lot. Unsurprisingly, he is not buying it.

He tweeted that the polls are “rigged” just like the “phony” pre-election polls that showed Hillary Clinton on track for victory.

Mr. Trump’s point is not persuasive. The pre-election polls weren’t off by much over all: Mrs. Clinton won the popular vote by about two percentage points, not far from her edge of three to four points in the final national polls.

But there might be some merit to his sentiment about the polls, even if his specific argument isn’t credible. CONT.

Nate Cohn, New York Times

Recent polls: Donald Trump

No Towering Problem in US as Trump Takes Office

As Donald Trump becomes the 45th U.S. president, he faces a nation without one dominant, clear-cut problem. Between 8% and 11% of Americans, when asked to name the nation’s most important problem, mention a cluster of issues, including the economy, dissatisfaction with government, race relations, healthcare, unemployment and election reform. CONT.

Michael Smith, Gallup

Fox News Poll: A divided, yet optimistic country awaits Trump

When president-elect Donald Trump addressed America after winning the election, he emphasized uniting the country. A new Fox News Poll suggests that could be a challenge.

In addition, President Obama leaves office on a high note. CONT.

Dana Blanton, Fox News

Fox News Poll: Views on ObamaCare shift

The number of voters who want Obamacare completely repealed is at a new low — as is the number who wants to keep it as is. And for the first time, more favor expanding the law than killing it entirely.

Yet a new Fox News Poll also finds a majority continues to favor at least partial repeal of the health care law. CONT.

Dana Blanton, Fox News

The Political Cost of Obamacare

As Republicans gear up to repeal – and somehow replace – Obamacare, Democrats are digging in for a fight. Armed with a new slogan “Make America Sick Again,” Democrats are eager to portray Republicans as modern-day scrooges who are going to rip health care away from deserving and struggling Americans. Yet, all their tough talk about defending the law stands in stark contrast to the amount of money they spent in their own campaigns promoting it. CONT.

Amy Walter, Cook Political Report

Barack Obama Won The White House, But Democrats Lost The Country. What Happened?

… In his eight years in office, Obama oversaw the rapid erosion of the Democratic Party’s political power in state legislatures, congressional districts and governor’s mansions. At the beginning of Obama’s term, Democrats controlled 59 percent of state legislatures, while now they control only 31 percent, the lowest percentage for the party since the turn of the 20th century. They held 29 governor’s offices and now have only 16, the party’s lowest number since 1920.

A look back at the Obama era shows that the party’s big-tent message was both working and backfiring at the same time. The raw numbers seemed to add up to Democratic power, but in American politics, two plus two can add up to four — or, just as easily, to being up crap creak in a leaky canoe. The same national trends that allowed Obama to win two terms — and Clinton to win the popular vote in 2016 — hurt Democrats in statehouses, governor’s mansions and congressional districts. …

Now, as the Democrats rend their hearts and garments, the biggest question they must consider is what can be done to harness the potential of those already assembled under the tent, balance their geographically lopsided coalition, and do so during a time of pitched racial and economic debate. CONT.

Clare Malone, FiveThirtyEight

The Real Story Of 2016

… While data geeks and traditional journalists each made their share of mistakes when assessing Trump’s chances during the campaign, their behavior since the election has been different. After Trump’s victory, the various academics and journalists who’d built models to estimate the election odds engaged in detailed self-assessments of how their forecasts had performed. Not all of these assessments were mea culpas — ours emphatically wasn’t (more about that in a moment) — but they at least grappled with the reality of what the models had said.

By contrast, some traditional reporters and editors have built a revisionist history about how they covered Trump and why he won. …

Why, then, had so many people who covered the campaign been so confident of Clinton’s chances? This is the question I’ve spent the past two to three months thinking about. CONT.

Nate Silver, FiveThirtyEight

The Great Instigator

Donald Trump always seems most grounded in chaos. He thrives on contradicting his aides, surprising his allies, disparaging his opponents. He revels in the tempest. …

But the unprecedented concern about Trump in polling since the election also signals he may be miscalculating how much turmoil most Americans will tolerate from a president. …

Indeed, amid all the swirling currents, the clearest message of Trump’s transition is that he has narrowed his support since Election Day, rather than expanding it as almost all of his predecessors did. … Results from this week’s flurry of polls capture an unprecedented level of unease about a new president. CONT.

Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic

Recent polls: President-elect Trump

CNN/ORC Poll shows last-minute love for Obamacare

Americans views of Obamacare tilt narrowly positive, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, marking the first time more have favored than opposed the law since its passage in 2010. The shift comes at the same time more than 8-in-10 say the law is likely to be repealed and replaced by incoming president Donald Trump. CONT.

Jennifer Agiesta, CNN

On Eve of Inauguration, Americans Expect Nation’s Deep Political Divisions to Persist

Ahead of Donald Trump’s inauguration as the nation’s 45th president, the public sees a country deeply fractured along partisan lines. Fully 86% describe the country as more politically divided today than in the past, while just 12% say the country is no more divided. CONT.