Data | Where does Donald Trump's low approval rating rank among U.S. Presidents in recent history?

The U.S. President's approval rating based on the Gallup poll has never crossed the 50% mark

June 17, 2020 11:59 pm | Updated June 18, 2020 12:32 am IST

U.S. President Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump's job approval rating is a mere 39%, with just over four months remaining for the Presidential elections. The Presidential job approval rating, based on the Gallup poll, is the percentage of respondents who answer "approve" for the question "Do you approve or disapprove of the way [President's name] is handling his job as President?".

1,240 days into his tenure, Mr. Trump's approval rating has not crossed the 50% mark even once, the only President to hold that particular distinction among the last 14 Presidents for whom data was available. Moreover, incumbent Presidents who lost their bid for a second term had approval ratings below 40% just before the election, suggesting a correlation between electoral success and their approval ratings.

Lowest average

The chart shows the average approval rating for the first 1,240 days of each President's tenure. Donald Trump had the lowest average among the last 14 Presidents for whom data was available.

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image/svg+xmlFranklin RooseveltJohn F. KennedyDwight EisenhowerGeorge W. BushGeorge H.W. BushLyndon JohnsonRichard NixonHarry TrumanBarack ObamaRonald ReaganBill ClintonJimmy CarterGerald FordDonald Trump3545556575Average approval rating 1,240 days into the tenure (%)

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Lowest peak

The chart shows the highest approval rating achieved by Presidents in their first 1,240 days. Mr. Trump did not cross the 50% mark at any point in his tenure, besides having the lowest peak approval among Presidents in this period.

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image/svg+xmlHarry TrumanGeorge W. BushGeorge H.W. BushFranklin RooseveltJohn F KennedyLyndon JohnsonDwight EisenhowerJimmy CarterGerald FordBarack ObamaRonald ReaganRichard Nixon455565758595Highest approval rating 1,240 days into the tenure (%)Bill ClintonDonald Trump

Also read: Where it counts,Trump has been weak, not strong: David Frum

The election connect

The chart shows the last available approval rating of incumbent Presidents before they contested elections for a second term. Among the listed Presidents, Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush were the only two who lost their bids for a second term, and both had a low approval rating of 37. Mr. Trump's latest approval rating (in red) is in the same range as that of Carter and Bush.

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image/svg+xmlGeorge H.W. BushDonald TrumpJ. CarterB. ObamaBill ClintonR. NixonR. ReaganD. Eisenhower36404448525560George W. Bush
 

The Presidents listed in this chart are those whose latest approval ratings before their bid for a second term was at most three months before the corresponding election. Though Harry Truman and Gerald Ford contested for a second term, the last available approval rating for them was more than five months away, and were hence not considered for this chart.

Also read: Trump resumes fundraising to build cash lead against Biden

Persistent lows

The chart shows all approval ratings recorded in the first 1,240 days of a President’s tenure. Mr. Trump’s ratings were consistently low since the start of his tenure.

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image/svg+xmlApproval rating (%)Days into tenure10080604020020040060080010001200Donald TrumpBarack Obama
 

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