What are the 10 most common words used by Americans to describe President Donald Trump? Two major news outlets just took a highly unusual poll last week to find out.
While most surveys focus on the president’s favorability and approval ratings, this ABC/Washington Post poll from last week asked a single odd question.
“What ONE WORD best describes your impression of Trump? Just the one word that best describes him.”
1,002 people were surveyed. 942 of them (94 percent) gave an answer. To the poll-takers’ likely chagrin, some of those answers were not fit to print. ABC News reports, “Some of the responses were too heated to mention. Six words respondents used to describe the president had to be abbreviated because the language was not suitable for publication.”
According to their coverage of the poll, the ten most common words that respondents gave were negative except for two.
“incompetent,” “arrogant,” “strong,” “idiot,” “egotistical,” “ignorant,” “great,” “racist,” “a——” and “narcissistic.”
ABC News adds the most common word used to describe Donald Trump was “incompetent” (four percent) and “arrogant,” followed by “strong” (three percent), “unqualified” (two percent), “ignorant” (two percent) and “unfit” (one percent). In addition to “strong,” other positive words included “determined” (one percent), “American” (one percent) and “patriotic” (one percent). The article also noted that variants of the same word — like “great” and “greatness” — were grouped together as single words.
The Washington Post‘s report on the poll’s findings puts Donald Trump in a somewhat more favorable light by grouping words together by general category. “Strong/Determined/Bold” was the most common word cluster used, at 9 percent. But the top 10 still only includes two other positive word groups for a total of three: “Great/Greatest/Good” and “Leader/American.”
Meanwhile, the words “Arrogant/Egocentric/Narcissist” (8 percent) and “Incompetent/Unqualified (7 percent) come in second and third. The next 10 word-clusters are either neutral or positive but represent fewer people. All in all, 32 percent of these word groups are negative, 23 percent are positive, and 8 percent are marked neutral. The rest of the respondents either didn’t answer, gave answers too obscene to print, or gave answers that didn’t fit into any of the top 20 word groups.
The pollsters observed nine percent of the responses are related to Donald Trump’s ability to do a good job as leader of the world’s most powerful nation. According to ABC, “These included words like ‘unqualified’ (two percent), ‘ignorant’ (two percent) and ‘unfit’ (one percent).”
The words most commonly used to describe Donald Trump reflect findings from more conventional surveys. On Friday, The Inquistr reported a poll of registered voters by Suffolk University-USA Today shows 57 percent view Donald Trump unfavorably, 64 percent say he’s set our country on the wrong track, and 62 percent also view the GOP unfavorably. Another poll taken September 28-October 2 by AP-NORC had more bad news for the president with an approval rating of just 32 percent.
GOP Pundit weighs in on poll results: Trump “isn’t listening to anybody.”
ABC News reports one of the takeaways from this poll is that the respondents’ views seemed driven more by Trump’s personality than by his policies or political ideology. They noted that not one single person used the words “conservative” or “republican” to describe him.
Alex Castellanos, a GOP consultant who’s also an ABC News contributor, observed, “A candidate who has this word cloud isn’t listening to anybody.” He adds that use of the word “strong” to describe Donald Trump doesn’t bode well. “Unpredictable strength, that’s plutonium,” he declared. You don’t know whether the plutonium will heat your home or blow up your town. People see him as personally dangerous.”
So now you may be wondering why these two traditional, old media news outlets would ask such an offbeat, Buzzfeed-like poll question? ABC News explained they wanted to shed some new light on the general mood. They’ve been tracking the public’s attitudes about Donald Trump ever since he rode down the escalator at Trump Tower and announced he was running back in 2016. Over the course of taking polls, they’ve observed, “Hard measures of favorability and job approval reveal a polarizing president who elicits intense emotions and reactions from Americans across the political spectrum.” In other words, polls have shown people seem to either love him or hate him.
ABC News and The Washington Post both note the poll was taken by phone Sept. 18-21 in both English and Spanish with a random sampling of 1,002 adults across the country. The ABC/Washington Post poll has a margin of error of 3.5 points.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]