According to the latest published Gallup numbers, the portion of Americans who say they approve of how President Donald Trump is doing his job is 36 percent. The portion who disapprove is 58.
Gallup polls on this every day and publishes an updated number based on a three-day rolling average. The numbers above were as of Saturday. Gallup publishes the updated number almost every day. If you would like to see the trend since Inauguration Day, it is here, and, if you save the link, you too can follow its ups and downs.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I check this number most days, which is contrary to my usual belief that we pay too much attention to polls. But, having confessed that, a few observations on the whole trend line:
For the entire four and a half months of his presidency so far, Trump has had terrible, awful, no-good approval ratings. Other presidents have had worse numbers than this, but never at the beginning of their presidencies. Barack Obama started out with approval ratings in the 60s, although he spent much of his second term “under water” (which means he had more disapprovers than approvers), as did George W. Bush.
But, to go “under water” during the first week of a new presidency, and to be in the mid-30s at this early stage of a presidency is unprecedented.
If there is anything good to say about Trump’s approval ratings, it would be that his terrible rating of today is not a new low. He hit 35 percent approval (and 59 percent disapproval) on his worst day, which was in March. Since then, he has gone up and down within a fairly narrow range just above and below the 40 percent mark.
Since he won the election with just 46 percent of the popular vote, it’s possible to look at an approval rating of 36 and believe that he is at least maintaining his standing among most of those who voted for him.
On a contrary note, legendary political number-cruncher Nate Silver wrote a piece in late May, headlined “Donald Trump’s base is shrinking,” in which he noted that those pollsters who ask respondent whether they approve “strongly” of the president’s performance has shrunk more than his overall approval has. Wrote Silver:
There’s been a considerable decline in the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump, from a peak of around 30 percent in February to just 21 or 22 percent of the electorate now. (The decline in Trump’s strong approval ratings is larger than the overall decline in his approval ratings, in fact.) Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support. And voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio, which could presage an “enthusiasm gap” that works against Trump at the midterms.