Fox News Halftime Report

Poll shows big win bonus for Trump

Viewer says media think he's a buffoon

 

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On the roster: Poll shows big win bonus for Trump - Trump will ‘work something out’ for illegal immigrants who came as children - Kelly to get nod for Homeland secretary - Drug stocks tumble after Trump warning - Ho, ho, ho

POLL SHOWS BIG WIN BONUS FOR TRUMP
This many Americans haven’t felt good about the direction of the country in years.

Donald Trump has never been more popular.

And most Americans are optimistic about the president-elect’s major agenda items.

As hard as it may be for many Democrats to believe, the Trump honeymoon is real –and could be durable.

The first big-name, reliable poll taken since the election has lots of good news for the president in waiting. The survey from Bloomberg pollster Ann Selzer shows that 37 percent of adults believe the country is on the right track.

“Big whoop,” you say. But it hasn’t been that high in almost four years. More significantly, only 49 percent say the country is on the wrong track, the lowest in the more than seven years of the poll’s history.

That can be attributed to two factors: happy Republicans and a record high in those withholding judgment: 14 percent.

In the days that followed the election, there was much anxiety in Washington about “normalizing” Trump. President Obama even came under criticism for his gracious welcome of the president-elect at the White House. Trump should be shunned, said the critics.

Ha!

Trump cards a 50 percent favorability rating in the Bloomberg poll, a 17-point jump since August. His unfavorable rating has improved by 20 points. Trump is still not as popular as Obama, who comes in at 56 percent. But Trump is doing pretty well for a guy who won with a popular vote minority and the lowest favorables of any winning nominee in the history of polling.

(Speaking of minority presidents, the Electoral College is one of the big losers in the poll, with just 41 percent saying the Framers’ system is still the best way to pick the president.)

On Trump’s agenda items there is optimism, too.

A narrow majority approves of most of Trump’s cabinet picks. And a jaw-dropping 73 percent were unfazed by Trump’s shifting stances on key issues like prosecuting Hillary Clinton, banning Muslims from entering the United States or retaining portions of ObamaCare.

In all, 55 percent of respondents said they were more optimistic about his presidency based on what they’d seen from him in the month since the vote.

Trump knows what voters like: jobs. Symbolic moves like saving hundreds of jobs at Carrier, a heating and air conditioning plant, are paying off. Some 54 percent of respondents said Trump would do better on jobs and employment than Obama. Half said Trump would do better at dealing with Wall Street.

Trump’s only real substantial deficit to Obama was on foreign policy, where just 40 percent think he’ll do better than the current commander-in-chief. That puts a little extra pepper on the secretary of state choice.

A cursory reading of the poll says that Trump has little to worry about conflicts of interest with 69 percent saying it would go too far for Trump to sell his businesses so neither he nor his family could profit from his actions.

He does have to bear in mind the 67 percent of respondents who believe Trump needs to choose between “being president and being a businessman, to avoid the appearance of a conflict.” But so far, so good.

There are clouds are on the horizon for Trump, though.

The essential challenge is this: It’s a lot easier to be popular when you are still in the skywriting phase of an administration. Trump will soon shift to a chisel on granite as he carves his policy proscriptions.

Each day brings news discomfiting to some segment of Trump’s supporters. Monday, it was Al Gore hanging out at Trump Tower. Tuesday, it was free-marketers worried about Trump picking winners and losers. Today, it’s new suggestions of leniency for illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

How much will Trump chase favorability ratings with popular positions? How much will he stick with his base? It’s tricky business for any president.

Having broad support is good, but it’s usually shallow and prone to evaporate in the first drought. Having deep support is also great. But if you stay down there too long, you get bends when you try to be on the surface. Neither a lungfish nor an anglerfish be.

In this moment, though, Trump is the beneficiary of what few would’ve predicted in the dark, rancorous days after the election: an undeniable win bonus.

THE RULEBOOK: A NICE LITTLE MIX
“The proposed Constitution, therefore, is, in strictness, neither a national nor a federal Constitution, but a composition of both.” – Alexander HamiltonFederalist No. 39

TIME OUT: STILL A MYSTERY
On today’s 75th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, author Craig Nelson recalls one of the remaining mysteries surrounding the attack concerning an ad for a dice game in the New Yorker with the pitch that the game was meant to pass time while people took shelter during an air raid. The strange part is that the ad appeared in the Nov. 22, 1941 issue, weeks before the Japanese attack or direct U.S. involvement in World War II, and the dice pictured in the ad are numbered “12” and “7.” Nelson’s research for his book, Pearl Harbor: From Infamy to Greatness, came across the story of a young Navy pilot who reportedly had a conversation with a passenger, and intelligence officer, who said the ad was considered to be a warning. But when investigating who placed the ad, the officer discovered it had been paid for in person in cash and the company selling the game never existed. Nelson tells Time, “I don’t quite believe if it’s a warning,” he says, “but if it’s not—what is it?” 

Flag on the play? - Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions

TRUMP WILL ‘WORK SOMETHING OUT’ FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGARANTS WHO CAME AS CHILDREN
USA Today: “Despite his hardline stance on immigration during the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump says he plans ‘to work something out’ for people who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children but now have work permits because of President Obama’s executive order. In his Time “Person of the Year” interview released Wednesday, Trump didn't back down from his promise to end Obama's executive orders on immigration, but he did offer an opening for people who qualified for Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. ‘We’re going to work something out that’s going to make people happy and proud,’ Trump said. ‘They got brought here at a very young age, they’ve worked here, they’ve gone to school here. Some were good students. Some have wonderful jobs. And they’re in never-never land because they don’t know what’s going to happen.’”

KELLY TO GET NOD FOR HOMELAND SECRETARY
NY Post: “Donald Trump plans to name a third retired general to a top national security spot, according to a new report. Retired Gen. John Kelly is the president-elect’s pick to be the next secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, CBS said Wednesday. Retired Gen. Jim Mattis was officially named Tuesday night to be the next secretary of defense. And retired Gen. Michael Flynn will serve as the president’s national security adviser. Kelly, a Marine, served most recently as head of US Southern Command. He left the military earlier this year. If confirmed by the Senate, Kelly will succeed President Obama’s appointee, Jeh Johnson.”

DRUG STOCKS TUMBLE AFTER TRUMP WARNING
Reuters: “Shares of U.S. pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies tumbled on Wednesday after President-elect Donald Trump said he would "bring down drug prices." In a cover article for Time magazine, which named Trump as Person of the Year, he said "I don't like what has happened with drug prices." Investors initially hailed Trump's victory as a boon for drug and biotech stocks, with the Nasdaq Biotech Index up as much as 12 percent in the two days after the Nov. 8 election. Investors were relieved that Trump's rival, Democrat Hillary Clinton, who had been critical of rising drug prices during the campaign, had not won the White House.”

SPENDING BILL ROLLS ON AHEAD OF FRIDAY DEADLINE
Roll Call: “Congressional negotiators released a stopgap spending bill Tuesday night to avert a partial government shutdown at midnight Friday and to fund federal agencies and programs through April 28… The measure includes $170 million in aid to rebuild water systems in Flint, Michigan, following a lead poisoning crisis, plus a boost of roughly $10.1 billion in uncapped war funds, divided between the Pentagon and the State Department. The package maintains the fiscal 2017 budget cap level of $1.07 trillion of combined defense and nondefense base discretionary spending put in place by the 2011 Budget Control Act. The House is expected to pass the package on Thursday and the Senate on Friday… The CR includes an expedited process for Senate consideration of a bill next year with language that specifically exempts the next secretary of Defense confirmed by the Senate from a law that requires retired officers to be out of the service for seven years before being considered for the post.”

SUBSTITUTIONS
Trump will hold the following meetings in New York today:

--Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel’s office said Trump’s team requested the meeting because of his experience as White House chief of staff and role as mayor of America’s third largest city. Emanuel has vowed his city would not corporate with the Trump administrations any to deport illegal immigrants.

--Scott Pruitt, attorney general of Oklahoma, rumored to be candidate for EPA boss.

--Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, which includes Hardy’s and Carl’s Jr., considered a potential choice for Labor secretary.

-- Gov. Pat McCrory, R-N.C., a Trump supporter who conceded a long-lasting recount in his bid for a second term.

AUDIBLE: HUT, HUT, HIKE
“I’ve been invited here to interview for the secretary of offence. Donald plans to run with the ball, and I know a lot about rushing a football.” – Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Barry Switzer talking to reporters about his visit to Trump Tower. 

[Watch Fox: The new series on “Special Report with Bret Baier” continues tonight on how Trump plans to end illegal immigration.]

PLAY-BY-PLAY
Trump is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year. See all of the Person of the Year covers since 1927 in 30 seconds - Time

Trump touts Asian investments in U.S. - Reuters

It’s official: Trump taps Iowa Gov for China ambassador - Reuters

Jonah Goldberg explains how to decipher what Trump says - NRO

Stopgap spending plan has money for refugee crisis, but not new refugees in U.S. - WashEx

Trump to meet with Ohio State victims, responders -
Columbus Dispatch

Recount efforts show Trump gains in Wisc. -
Fox News

Mich. appeals court says no to recount, but Greens look for reversal in higher court -
WashEx

No, Ben Carson never lived in public housing - USA Today

FROM THE BLEACHERS
“I’m throwing a flag on your statement that there are conservatives who ‘think that federal spending on domestic projects should go way up.’ I suppose you could find some anecdotally who might call themselves conservatives and believe such (I’m excluding defense spending), but I can’t think of any. Perhaps you could come up with some examples. And please, please, please don’t claim ‘tax expenditures’ as spending.” – Pat Conroy, Austin, Texas

[Ed. note: Well, maybe I am missing the point here, but I think that there are a lot of self-styled conservatives who want to see domestic spending increase. Donald Trump, I assume, considers himself a conservative. One of the core parts of his platform is to stop spending money overseas and start spending on “nation building” here at home. One of the agenda items for the president-elect’s first hundred days is a domestic infrastructure package of about $1 trillion paid for with deficit spending. It’s an investment Trump says will pay off in future years compensating for excess outlays now. For many, economic nationalism involves spending more money, at least at first, on America.]

“Another home run on your analysis of Trump versus conservative ideologues! For three decades, and either out of misplaced good intentions or corruption, conservatives and liberals have incentivized the export of jobs overseas…Trump's pressure on American companies is a bailout for the American worker in an attempt to reverse the liberal-conservative excesses of the past 30 years…American workers are ready to march for Trump in opposition to Ivory Tower intellectuals opposed to his actions on their behalf. Again, Bravo for your analysis.” – Eric Hutchins, Santa Barbara, Calif.

[Ed. note: Arguably Trump’s best sales pitch in the election was “I will be your voice.” For millions of Americans who have felt taken advantage of or victimized by a system “rigged” in favor of elites, it was refreshing and empowering to feel understood. The test now for Trump is to deliver results. The approach seems to be to establish a government that reflects many parts of the status quo, but allow Trump himself to be the change agent or even provocateur: a conservative ideological government, with a post-ideological president. If wages rise across the board, Trump will be heralded as a great president. If they remain stagnant or fall, he will be judged a disaster. Political pragmatism is judged on a strictly pass-fail basis.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

HO, HO, HO
WBOC: “HARBESON, Del. - The owner of an adult store in Harbeson is offering a way for families to take photos with Santa free of charge during the holidays. Tony Bryan dresses up as Santa Claus and has a miniature detached building called ‘Santa's House’ in the Dragon's Lair parking lot…Dragon's Lair owner Jennifer Layfield covers Bryan's costume and also provides toys for kids when they see Santa…‘Block out the fact that I'm a sex shop and just realize that I'm just a person who cares about little people,’ she says… Bryan walks up and down the road dressed as Santa waving at cars…‘This time of year, their parking lot is full with their own customers and the Santa Claus house is full with his customers,’ he says.  ‘Most of them don't even go into Dragon's Lair.’ Santa's house and the Dragon's Lair are close, but definitely separated. Layfield says it's not about business-- it's about providing joy to kids.”

Chris Stirewalt is digital politics editor for Fox News. Sally Persons contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in you inbox every day? Sign up here.

Chris Stirewalt joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in July of 2010 and serves as politics editor based in Washington, D.C. Additionally, he authors the daily Fox News Halftime Report political news note and co-hosts the hit podcast, Perino & Stirewalt: I'll Tell You What. He also is the host of Power Play, a feature video series on FoxNews.com. Stirewalt makes frequent appearances on network programs, including America’s Newsroom, Special Report with Bret Baier and Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. He also provides expert political analysis for FNC’s coverage of state, congressional and presidential elections.