Two-thirds of the country don’t think you can trust this president! They don’t think he is honest! That’s a remarkable finding.
It’s also virtually the exact same way that voters judged Trump on the question of being honest and trustworthy on November 8, 2016 — the day he was elected president.
All of this is to say that while most politicians would see just one third of voters viewing them as honest as a political catastrophe, that number may matter less to Trump’s political future than you might think. The vast preponderance of voters in the 2016 election thought he was neither honest nor trustworthy — and he won anyway!
The record is stunning. This is a President who simply lacks concern for ensuring that what he says comports with fact. In a normal world, that would be almost immediately disqualifying for a president. But in a normal world, Donald Trump never even sniffs the presidency.
He was not punished for his lack of truthfulness during the campaign (and the exit polls suggest people were well aware of it). Does that mean that we are in some sort of post-truth political moment where people expect politicians to lie to them and, as a result, don’t penalize the pols who do exactly that? Is Trump a lone exception to this rule, as he is to so many other conventional political ideas? Or was the willingness to give him a pass on, you know, telling the truth simply a moment in time — the result of an overwhelming desire to try something different and the belief that Clinton wasn’t any better?
We won’t know those answers until 2020. But don’t assume that simply because two thirds of voters don’t trust Trump, he’s a stone-cold loser in his re-election race. If being regarded as honest and trustworthy was a sine qua non for voters, Trump wouldn’t have been elected in the first place.