As regular readers of this space know, I’m mildly obsessed with President Trump’s approval ratings. Of course, new numbers come out every day, so I generally restrain myself from writing about them unless he hits a new low or (if he ever does) a new high.
Although I look at the numbers most days, I haven’t mentioned them for over a month, so here’s the update, which I justify based on the latest Washington Post/ABC poll. It shows Trump with an approval rating of 36 percent in July, down from 42 in the previous WaPo poll in April, and a new low in that poll. As one might suspect the new low comes with a new high in disapproval at 58 percent, up five points from April.
A gap of 22 percentage points, in the negative direction, in one’s approval rating is, of course a terrible, horrible, no-good, very-bad day. It is not the worst showing in presidential approval rating polling history, but it is the case that Trump’s general numbers during his first six months in office are, by far, the worst first-six-months of any president in polling history.
And, because I am addicted to the old objectivity gag on factual matters, I feel honor-bound not to mention only the president’s worst numbers. I should mention that the Gallup organization, which polls every day and publishes the latest three-day moving average, shows the current incumbent with a slightly better 38 percent approval/56 percent disapproval approval. The other “good news” for Trump is that Gallup doesn’t agree that his current ratings are the worst of his presidency, although they are within hailing of his worst Gallup three-day average, a rating of 36 approval/60 percent disapproval, in June.
You can see the entire trend of Trump approval since inauguration, as measured by Gallup here. According to Gallup, approval of Trump fell below disapproval on his third day in office and has never risen above since. Nothing like that has ever happened to a president in the age of approval ratings.
Trump, who is less committed to the old objectivity gag, used to occasionally cite outlier approval polls that showed him above water and just ignore the majority of polls that showed him below.
The last time I recall him doing so was a February news conference at which he called out “how about that Rasmussen Poll,” referring to a 55 percent approval rating he had recently achieved, without mentioning that 10 other polls showed him below water at the time. But he long since fell below water in Rasmussen’s polling too, and, one might add, has stopped giving news conferences. Rasmussen’s most recent approval number for Trump, as of Sunday, was 43 percent, which is still on the high side of the many polls that measure this.
The Huffington Post aggregates all established public polls on the subject and averages them together, a practice that some pollsters view as illegitimate. That trendline is here, and it results in an average disapproval/approval rating of 55.3/40.7.
Of course, to divulge my own belief (as if it isn’t obvious), whether the portion of the public that approves of the job Trump’s performance in office is 40.7 percent, per the Huff Post aggregation, or 43 (Rasmussen), or 36 (Wash Post/ABC) or 38 (Gallup), that’s not bad, considering what he has actually accomplished that benefitted the country.
After all, 46 percent of the electorate voted for him. So, presumably, if his approval rating is in the 30s or around 40, the overwhelming majority of those voters still approve of his performance to date. Of what is it that they approve? Will they ever change their view? Stay tuned.