Time for our periodic review of President Trump’s approval ratings.
They continue to be terrible by any reasonable or historical standard. In the past, I have noted that though the numbers were low, they were sort of holding up, in a range of badness. That may be changing.
In order to be consistent in my analysis (and not cherry-pick results), I’ve consistently relied on Gallup, which publishes an updated three-day average most days and which, I should note, is not the worst approval poll for Trump. Gallup’s latest published three-day average shows him “under water” as he has been since his first week in office, which means more disapprovers than approvers.
The latest Gallup numbers are 58 disapproval/36 percent approval. The gap has been 20 points or so for a long while. The 36/58 split is not the worst approval rating Gallup has recorded for Trump, but he did equal his worst-yet Gallup rating ever a few days earlier when hit 60 percent disapproval on August 1.
Here’s the graph of Trump’s Gallup ratings since he took office. If you look at it over the weekend, you may find fresher numbers.
But looking at a larger number of approval pools, Gallup is not Trump’s worst. Not at all. It’s about average among the many outfits who poll on this. The Huffington Post averages numbers from 32 different polling operations and the current average is 56.5 percent disapproval/37.9 percent approval, but if you look at the whole picture (which they update constantly) you’ll see that there are many better and worse numbers that make it up.
But there are basically no approval rating polls — and haven’t been for a long while — that buck the basic fact that disapprovers of Trump outnumber approvers by between 15 and 20 percentage points and the trend line has been consistently getting worst for him.
Three more small points:
Small point No. 1: Historical perspective: I have said in the past that Trump has had a historically terrible approval rating for a president in his first term. Gallup (which has much more history of measuring presidential approval than most others measurers; their numbers go back to Harry Truman) confirms, for example, that Trump’s average disapproval number during the second quarter of his first year was the worst ever (by a fairly large margin).
Barack Obama had the second lowest and George W. Bush the third lowest, so maybe it says something about how much quicker the American is to turn against a new president, rather than giving him a honeymoon period.
Other than those three most recent presidents, every other new president, going back to Dwight Eisenhower, averaged at least 60 percent, and actually Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy were in the 70s.
Trump’s record-low average for the second quarter was 38.8 percent.
Small point No. 2: There is, of course, a lot more polling nowadays and a lot more ways of measuring approval. For example, Gallup now asks those who disapprove of the current incumbent whether their disapproval is rooted in his policies or his character.
In Trump’s case, it is 65 percent character, versus just 16 percent his policies. They’ve asked this question only going back to Trump’s two immediate predecessors. When asked at this stage of George W. Bush’s first term, just 17 percent said it was his character of which they disapproved and for Obama just 14 percent said so.
Small point No. 3: Nowadays, many polls ask of those who approve of a president whether they view him with strong approval or weak approval. As you might guess, a huge portion of those who voted for Hillary Clinton last year say they view Trump with strong disapproval, and that number has risen, but who cares about them, right?
But even among those who voted for Trump, the share who view him with strong approval has dropped from 56 percent on inauguration day to 41 percent now, according to this Morning Consult poll taken at the 200-day mark of Trump’s presidency.
A good question is whether those who have become less enchanted with Trump will continue the direction of their drift and become disenchanted, a development that would obviously have big implications for his chances of being reelected, should he seek a second-term, which he says he will do.