Shocking poll numbers tell of a uniquely difficult track for the new commander-in-chief. And thats before the inevitable scandals start

Today marks the beginning of the end of Donald Trumps presidency.

It isnt wishful thinking to begin the countdown to Trumps self-destruction on his inauguration day. Its simply its declaration of the particular circumstances of presidential life: this is no longer a game played out on TV and Twitter.

Everything changes when The Apprentice star takes the oath of office on that stage outside the Capitol. Legally, politically and diplomatically, Trumps world is utterly transformed.

What passed before as media outrage now has a measurable impact on his presidential polls and by extension his presidential power.

What passed before as a sycophantic deliberation with his own attorney now opens the door to endless litigation and the clear and present danger of impeachment.

What passed before as a curious cozying up to Vladimir Putin is now transformed into a multi-agency investigation into illegal foreign payments to undermine the election.

We should not confuse populism with popularity. Trump enters the Oval Office as the weakest new commander-in-chief in living memory. Having lost the popular vote by almost 3 million, he has no political mandate to speak of. And his disastrous poll numbers are hard to overstate.

This is the high-water mark of every chairpeople acceptance ratings before they do the tough stuff of governing and encounter one of the many fast-moving crises that pass through the West Wing. At the height of his popularity, Donald Trump is polling as badly as George W Bush at the end of his fated presidency, after the catastrophic collapse of the economy and the bloody tragedy of the Iraq war.

A bumper crop of pre-inauguration polls tell the story of how deep unpopular the 45 th president is already. His personal popularity is as low as 32% is comparable to 61% favorability for President Obama.

Read more: