Trump’s Job Approval Stabilizing at Lower Level

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The FINANCIAL — President Donald Trump’s job approval rating has stabilized, registering 34% or 35% in each Gallup Daily tracking three-day rolling average since Aug. 20, including 35% in the latest update based on Aug. 27-29 interviewing.

The 34% approval ratings recorded last week tie the Aug. 11-13 measurement as the lowest Trump has had as president.

After starting out in the mid-40s, Trump’s job approval rating has been below the 40% mark in each month since February. He is on pace to spend the entire month of August below 40%, with his job approval rating last at 40% on July 11, according to Gallup.

The stable, lower job approval ratings in recent days produced a 35% weekly average for Trump during the week of Aug. 21-27. This is the lowest weekly average of his presidency.

Because of the recent pattern, Trump’s full-term approval average since he took office in January has now fallen below 40% for the first time, to 39%. The historically low job approval ratings for Trump are well-documented, but the weakness of his 39% term average to date is stark:

No other president has had a full-term average of less than 45% approval (Harry Truman) while in office.

No other president has averaged less than 49% approval during his first year in office.

Only three presidents — Bill Clinton (49%), Ronald Reagan (57%) and Barack Obama (57%) — have averaged less than 60% job approval in their first year.

Trump still has nearly five months left in his first year in office, and three full years beyond that until his first term is over. His unusually low ratings so far mean his support will need to improve substantially to avoid leaving office with the worst approval ratings a president has had by a significant margin.

Democratic Approval of Trump Stuck in Single Digits

The chances of Trump’s ratings improving substantially, however, are hampered by his low support among Democrats, a major reason why his overall approval is so low. In Aug. 21-27 Gallup polling, an average of 7% of Democrats said they approve of the job Trump is doing.

Single-digit approval ratings of the president are not uncommon in the recent era of highly polarized job approval ratings. Obama and George W. Bush registered many single-digit approval ratings from Republicans and Democrats, respectively, while in office. But neither did so for the first time until much later in his presidency — Obama in October 2010, nearly two years into his presidency, and Bush in October 2004, during his fourth year in office.

In contrast, Trump fell below 10% job approval among Democrats his second full week in office. Although Trump has seen some approval ratings among Democrats of 10% or higher since then, he has not done so since the week of April 24-30.

Obama had the lowest full-term average approval rating among supporters of the opposition party, at 13%. Trump has averaged 8% job approval among Democrats to date.

Republican Approval Is Slipping but Remains Healthy

As would be expected, Trump’s fellow Republicans still largely approve of the job he is doing, averaging 78% approval last week. But it is Trump’s lowest weekly approval rating among Republicans so far, and significantly below his 85% average to date within his own party.

While still healthy in an absolute sense, Republican approval of Trump is only slightly better than Obama’s low point among his fellow Democrats (72%) in October 2011. That low point for Obama came amid a series of financial setbacks for the U.S., including a downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, bleak jobs reports and the spreading of the Occupy Wall Street movement across the nation. His job approval rating among all Americans at that time was 41%.

Trump’s approval rating among Republicans could still fall much lower. George W. Bush’s low point was 55% Republican approval in October 2008 — coincident with his personal record-low overall rating of 25% — after Congress passed legislation to bail out banks from the September 2008 financial crisis.

Three in 10 Independents Approve of Trump

Currently, 30% of political independents approve of the job Trump is doing, which is lower than Obama’s worst showing among the group as president — 31% in December 2013 and again in March 2014. Bush’s approval among independents sank to as low as 19% in October 2008.


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