Monday / November 12.
HomeFT Selectby the numbers — FT.com

by the numbers — FT.com

President Donald Trump’s populist views, reality television stardom, and penchant for Twitter insults all but guaranteed an out-of-the-ordinary first 100 days for the billionaire political neophyte. A look at the data reveals how Mr Trump compares with previous Oval Office occupants.

Bills signed into law

Enacted legislation for last seven presidents in first 100 days

Source: govtrack.us

The White House touts that Mr Trump has accomplished more in his first 100 days than any president since the 1940s. Despite being prolific at enacting legislation, quantity does not necessarily translate to impact. Mr Trump has come up short in fulfilling his 100-days campaign promises, and many of the laws simply undo laws passed under Mr Obama. By contrast, Mr Obama signed stimulus measures worth more than $800bn in his first 100 days, even though he only signed 14 bills.

It helps that Republicans control both the House and Senate. Two other presidents who enacted a similar volume of legislation – Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton – were also aided by a grip on Congress.

Executive orders

Number of executive orders under last seven presidents in first 100 days

Source: The American Presidency Project

Mr Trump’s most noteworthy method of governing so far has come in the form of executive orders. In his first two weeks alone, Mr Trump used this form of presidential action to ban travel from several Muslim-majority countries, order the Mexican border wall construction, and take aim at the Affordable Care Act.

Golf days

Number of last seven presidents’ golf games in first 100 days

Source: Mark Knoller of CBS News, The Miller Center, William J. Clinton Presidential Library and Museum, The New York Times, Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum, Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, Politico

After criticising Mr Obama on Twitter at least two dozen times for playing golf, Mr Trump has had a change of heart on how often a president should hit the links. Mr Trump has golfed 17 times so far in his presidency, according to CBS News correspondent Mark Knoller. Mr Obama golfed only once in his first 100 days, and a total of 333 times throughout his presidency.

Mr Trump has visited his private Florida resort, Mar-a-Lago, half of the 14 weekends of his presidency. He has spent 17 days and 14 hours of his first 100 days in Palm Beach, Florida. Each of the visits is estimated to cost taxpayers upwards of $3m, according to an analysis by Politico.

Approval ratings

Approval ratings of last seven presidents

Source: Gallup

Mr Trump began his presidency with the lowest approval rating of any president at inauguration since Gallup began polling in the 1940s. His approval sank below 40 per cent after only two months, a level that even unpopular presidents don’t hit until they’ve been in office for a longer period.

But his overall approval rating doesn’t show the whole picture. Republicans still approve of Mr Trump just as much as – or more than – they approved of previous Republican presidents.

S&P 500

S&P 500 closes for last seven presidents (rebased)

Source: Google Finance

The S&P 500 hit record highs after the election as investors eagerly awaited Mr Trump’s actions on tax reform and cutting red tape. Gains have plateaued since the peak of the Trump trade, when the S&P 500 had jumped 12 per cent since the election. After the healthcare bill failure, tax reform delays and uncertainty about a regulatory overhaul, Mr Trump will end his first 100 days with the S&P 500 still up – but with returns lower than some of his predecessors.

Dollar index

Dollar index for last seven presidents

Source: Bloomberg

The dollar dropped sharply in mid April after Mr Trump complained it was too strong and attributed its earlier surge, in part, to confidence in his presidency. The currency is certainly strong, but Presidents George W Bush and Jimmy Carter both dealt with a stronger currency at the beginning of their administrations.

Consumer sentiment

Index of consumer sentiment for last six presidents

Source: University of Michigan

Consumer confidence at inauguration was higher under Mr Trump than under any other recent White House resident. But actual business investment and spending has fallen short of the surge in consumer and business confidence ratings Mr Trump heralded. Morgan Stanley’s economists estimate the gap between soft data, such as consumer confidence, and hard data is at its widest since at least 2000.

Staffing levels

Formal presidential nominations of key positions requiring Senate confirmation

Nominated and awaiting Senate confirmation

Nominated and awaiting Senate confirmation

Source: Partnership for Public Service

Mr Trump has struggled to fill the more than 4,000 vacancies in the administration that need a presidential appointment. He continues to lag behind previous presidents in nominating certain central presidential appointees requiring a Senate confirmation.

Job growth

Change in nonfarm payrolls in first three months of presidency (in thousands)

Source: St Louis Federal Reserve Economic Research

Employment levels are a stretch to attribute to any president so early in his term – after all, Mr Obama inherited an economy in freefall. The present commander in chief – who said he would “be the greatest jobs producer that God ever created” and promised to repatriate jobs – inherited a US jobless rate at its lowest since before the financial crisis. But job growth cooled sharply in March. After taking credit for previous positive jobs reports, the Trump administration was mum when US employers added only 98,000 jobs last month, falling well below the 180,000 expected.

Via FT