Trump to take office with poor ratings - except on jobs

WASHINGTON • Mr Donald Trump is poised to take office with the lowest approval ratings of any new president in recent history, but Americans trust the billionaire on one crucial point: jobs.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll on Tuesday had his favourability rating at 40 per cent, compared with Mr Obama's 79 per cent before inauguration and Mr George W. Bush's 62 per cent.

But since Mr Trump's White House win last November, companies have lined up to announce new factories or jobs in the United States, including air-conditioning manufacturer Carrier, Japan's SoftBank, Ford, Fiat Chrysler and Amazon with a headline-grabbing promise to create 100,000 jobs.

The latest additions to the growing list: Wal-Mart announced on Tuesday it would invest US$6.8 billion (S$9.67 billion) in the US and create 10,000 jobs, while General Motors announced US$1 billion in new US investments and pledged to create 5,000 new jobs.

Mr Trump - who since his election has wielded a mix of threats and incentives to push an America-first jobs agenda - has been quick to take credit.

"With all of the jobs I am bringing back into the US (even before taking office), with all of the new auto plants coming back into our country and with the massive cost reductions I have negotiated on military purchases and more, I believe the people are seeing 'big stuff'," he tweeted on Tuesday.

Mr Trump last month denounced the US$4 billion price tag on the next presidential plane, threatening to cancel the order unless the price came down.

The President-elect's message appears to be resonating.

According to a CNN/ORC poll released on Tuesday, 61 per cent of Americans believe he will be able to create good-paying jobs in economically challenged areas. The same percentage expects Mr Trump to do a good or excellent job in handling the economy, according to the Washington Post-ABC News poll .

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, NYTIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 19, 2017, with the headline 'Trump to take office with poor ratings - except on jobs'. Print Edition | Subscribe