South Florida renders verdict on Donald Trump’s first 100 days – Sun Sentinel


Sun Sentinel
South Florida renders verdict on Donald Trump's first 100 days
Sun Sentinel
As President Donald Trump hits the 100 day mark in office on April 29, 2017, South Florida voters give thier assessments of Trump's performance at what historically is a time to assess new presidents. Voters are as polarized as they were on Election Day.

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As President Donald Trump hits 100 days in office on Saturday, opinion in South Florida appears to be every bit as polarized as it was on Election Day almost six months ago.

  • Ruben Kagan, who lives west of Boynton Beach, thinks Trump “is the best thing that ever happened.” Melissa Nocera, who lives west of Boca Raton, thinks “he’s narcissistic and out of his mind.”
  • Randall Bishop, of Sunrise, is worried that Trump’s handing of the nuclear threat from North Korea could end in World War III. Sandor Goldstein, a Wisconsonite who spends some of his cold weather time in West Boca — and whose son is an Air Force physician stationed in South Korea — is confident the president’s approach will keep his son safe.
  • Leslie Fleming, of Lighthouse Point, praises Trump as “a fighter. He’s trying to do everything he promised.” Her husband, Scott, said he’s troubled by what he sees as Trump’s impulsive flip-flopping and called the president’s behavior “embarrassing” for the country.

As Trump reaches the 100-day mark, interviews in recent days with 34 people in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties show widely divergent — and intense — views about the real estate developer turned reality TV show host turned president.

As you might expect, Republicans and independents who voted for Trump turned in many grades of A for his first 100 days. Democrats and independents who voted last year for Hillary Clinton mostly gave Ds and Fs. Only a handful of people judged him in the middle, with a C.

The divergent assessments show up in public opinion polls.

  • Trump was viewed favorably by 45 percent of Florida voters and unfavorably by 41 percent in a survey released this week by Firehouse Strategies, a public affairs consulting firm, and 0ptimus, a data analytics firm. The survey has a 2.7 margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. Firehouse is led by people who used to work for U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and 0ptimus did data work for Rubio’s unsuccessful 2018 presidential campaign.
  • A nationwide University of Southern California Dornsife/Los Angeles Times Daybreak poll this week, which asked a slightly different question, found 40 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s performance and 46 percent disapprove. The margin of error was 2 percentage points.
  • The intensity of Florida voters’ feelings jumps out within the favorable/unfavorable ratings. A total of 38 percent have a strongly favorable view of Trump, with just 7 percent viewing him somewhat favorably. And 36 percent have a strongly unfavorable view, while 5 percent are somewhat unfavorable.
  • The intensity shown in the poll reinforces what Patty Miranda has seen at her restaurant in Deerfield Beach. Miranda has owned the Olympia Flame Diner for 25 years, and said the amount and intensity of political discussions skyrocketed around the time of last summer’s presidential nomination conventions – and it hasn’t let up.

“There’s definitely more political talk,” Miranda said. “It’s more passionate, absolutely.”

It’s showing up among families, including the Flemings, who discussed the president after breakfast this week at Olympia Flame. They’re independents who both voted for Democrat Barack Obama, but cast different ballots last year — Scott Fleming, 55, for Clinton; Leslie Fleming, 53, for Trump — last year.