Fox News Poll: Candid? Yes. Presidential? Not so much. Voters describe Trump

President Donald Trump says what he thinks -- a majority agrees on that.  Maybe that’s part of the reason most don’t call him presidential.

The latest Fox News Poll asks voters how well several words and phrases apply to the president.

Trump is most defined by the “says what he thinks” trait.  More than 8-in-10 voters think that describes him “extremely” or “very” well (81 percent).

The only other term a majority agrees fits is “bully” (53 percent).

In addition, many say “outsider” (44 percent) and “unstable” (44 percent) describe the president well.


Fewer voters, about one-third, assign the clearly positive terms “competent” (35 percent), “strong leader” (35 percent), and “problem solver” (32 percent).

Three-in-10 say “knowledgeable” (31 percent), “honest” (30 percent), and “steady leader” (30 percent) define the president well.

Voters are least likely to call Trump “presidential” (25 percent), “moral leader” (25 percent), and “compassionate” (26 percent).

“For past presidents, the traits that correlate most powerfully with increased support are ‘strong leader’ and ‘compassionate,’” says Republican pollster Daron Shaw, who conducts the Fox News Poll with Democratic counterpart Chris Anderson.

“Trump gets points for candor, but he needs to convince more people he is strong and empathetic.”

Four other positive traits don’t fit Trump in the least, over half of voters say: “presidential” (56 percent), “moral leader” (55 percent), “compassionate” (53 percent), and “steady leader” (53 percent) -- apply to him “not at all.”

“The country’s faced two crises recently, with the racial violence in Charlottesville and Hurricane Harvey in Houston,” says Anderson.

“So far, voters see Trump as sorely lacking the strong, compassionate, moral leadership necessary in these difficult times.”

Among Trump voters, he gets his highest marks for “says what he thinks” (93 percent describes well), “strong leader” (74 percent), and “competent” (73 percent).

He’s most defined among those who backed Hillary Clinton as “bully” (83 percent describes well), “unstable” (78 percent), and “says what he thinks” (70 percent).

The Fox News poll is based on landline and cellphone interviews with 1,006 randomly chosen registered voters nationwide and was conducted under the joint direction of Anderson Robbins Research (D) and Shaw & Company Research (R) from August 27-29, 2017.  The poll has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus three percentage points for all registered voters.