The president is pitiful. His need for approval — enormous public displays of approval — is depthless. And, speaking of approval, this is my monthly review of President Trump’s approval ratings (and of his poignant truth-defying efforts to convince either himself or the nation that those ratings are better than they are).
His approval ratings, throughout the first year of his presidency, have consistently been the worst of any first-year president. Of course, in an effort to be fair, I must acknowledge that such a generalization can apply to the decades since Franklin D. Roosevelt, the first president whose approval was measured by polls. Still, that’s 13 presidents and Trump’s first year numbers are the worst.
Of course, his detractors may be in some denial about the fact Trump’s approval numbers have never done below about 33 percent, nor have they fallen steadily during his first year. On the contrary, they have stayed within a relatively narrow range. His admirers (starting with himself) may be in denial about the fact that his approval numbers have never gone up much.
Gallup’s latest numbers, dated Sunday, show him with 40 percent approval, 57 percent disapproval. The Huffington Post, which aggregates and averages the approval ratings of a large number of reputable polls, has him at 44.3 percent approval, 54.4 disapproval, as I write this. If you click through to either of those sites, you will see that there have really been no significant or sustained movements of the lines, neither for the better nor the worse, in about a year.
Trump’s disapproval number is always in the mid-to-upper 50s, but never clears 60, except occasionally for a day or two, in his Gallup rating. His approval number has, for months, been a couple of points above or below 40 percent on the blended HuffPost line, and in the mid-to-upper 30s on Gallup.
Trump hasn’t talked about them much over these months, for the obvious reason that they show him more unpopular than popular. Then he suddenly decided to mention his ratings, in one poll, by Rasmussen, the one right-leaning pollster that has generally given him his best numbers.
Rasmussen just announced that my approval rating jumped to 49%, a far better number than I had in winning the Election, and higher than certain “sacred cows.” Other Trump polls are way up also. So why does the media refuse to write this? Oh well, someday!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2018
The poor man. So mistreated by the mean media, and so desperate that he is reduced to tweet-bragging at 6 a.m. about a single, outlying poll result that nonetheless shows him with an approval rating of 49 percent.
(Rasmussen, by the way, uses robo-dialing automated interviews and online-polling that many pollsters frown upon. I express no view of their technology. But when one pollster gets a substantially different result from most of the others, it’s important to keep one’s shirt on. Unless, that is, you are desperate for a better poll number.)
I can’t restrain myself from looking at some of these polls most days, but, barring some big development, I’ll try not to bother you with them again for a month or so. Have a good rest of February.