Donald Trump’s Job Approval Numbers Continue To Be Historically Bad

President Trump's job approval numbers continue to be worse than those of any President since the end of World War Two.

A new poll from CNN shows President Trump’s job approval numbers hitting some of their lowest levels yet as his Presidency nears the end of its second year:

Six-in-10 Americans disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as President, according to a Gallup poll out Monday. Thirty-eight percent approve of the President.

The last time his approval rating dipped under 40% was just a few weeks ago, but his disapproval hasn’t been at 60% or higher since around this time last year, in December 2017, when the guilty plea of his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, and his endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (who was accused of sexual misconduct) were in the news.

Trump’s most recent approval rating is down five percentage points since last week’s Gallup poll and reflects a slight decrease in almost every demographic group, but especially among those aged 18-29, who went from 35% approval of the President to 28%. The disapproval rating increased seven percentage points since last week.

Gallup polls, which are conducted each week, reflect more fluctuation in Trump’s approval, which has moved often between 35% and 45% since he assumed the office of President.

At this point in his presidency, just after his party also lost control of the House of Representatives, Barack Obama had a 45% approval rating, around average for him. Obama’s approval rating never went below 40% in Gallup’s polling. However, Trump isn’t the first president to have such low ratings. George W. Bush hit 31% in the year following Hurricane Katrina. At its highest, however, his disapproval rating was 65%, five-points higher than Trump’s is now.

More from The Hill:

Six-in-10 Americans disapprove of President Trump’s job performance, matching an all-time high for his disapproval rating in the Gallup Poll.

weekly presidential job approval tracker released Monday found that 60 percent of Americans disapprove of Trump’s performance, while 38 percent said they approve as of the week ending Nov. 25.

The president’s disapproval rating has largely hovered in the mid-50 percent range in the Gallup poll, but this week marks the fourth time it has hit 60 percent.

It previously hit that threshold in August 2017 in the aftermath of a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va., again in late October 2017 and once more in December 2017 around the time the GOP passed its tax-cut legislation.

The Gallup weekly presidential approval tracker has a margin of error of 3 percentage points, and is based on a survey of roughly 1,500 adults.

The dip in numbers came during the same week that Trump signaled he would not dole out additional punishment against Saudi Arabia or Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman over the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

He also clashed with Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts over the 9th Circuit’s rulings, and his administration issued a report that contained a dire warning about the effects of climate change.

Looking at other polls, we can see that while there is some variation in the numbers the President is clearly still doing fairly badly when it comes to job approval:

  • The latest Economist/YouGov poll, for example, puts the Presidents job approval at 45% and his disapproval at 53% for a -8.0 point deficit;
  • The latest Reuters/Ipsos poll puts the Presidents job approval at 44% and his disapproval at 51%, for a -7.0 point deficit;
  • The latest Quinnipiac poll puts the President job approval at 41% and his disapproval at 54%, for a -13.0 point deficit;
  • The latest CBS News poll puts the Presidents job approval at 39% and his disapproval at 55%. for a -16 point deficit; and finally.
  • The latest Rasmussen poll has the Presidents approval and disapproval numbers tied at 49%. but this appears t be an outlier.

Looking at the polling averages, we see that the President’s approval numbers remain as bad as they have been since he entered office:

  • The RealClearPolitics average, for example, puts the Presidents average job approval at 42.9% and his disapproval at 53.0%, for a deficit of -10.1 points;
  • In the Pollster average, the President’s job approval stands at 43.9% while his disapproval stands at 51.8%, for a deficit of -7.9 points. Among Democrats, the President’s disapproval remains overwhelming high while the numbers among Republicans show his approval at overwhelmingly high levels. Among Independents meanwhile, the President’s job approval stands at 37.2% and his disapproval stands at 56.5%, for a deficit of -19.3  points;
  • Finally, in the FiveThirtyEight average, the President’s job approval stands at 42.5% and his disapproval stands at 52.8% for a deficit of -10.3 points.

The RealClearPolitics chart, meanwhile, shows the extent to which the President has maintained a consistently unpopular image from virtually the moment he entered office:

As I’ve said before, President Trump’s job approval numbers remain at levels that are historically low for a newly elected President at this point in his Presidency. While many President’s have seen their numbers decline as they enter their second year in office, none in recent memory have had numbers this low. More importantly, none have seen their numbers this consistently low from virtually the first day that they took office. While this doesn’t necessarily tell us where things might be a year or more from now, it certainly doesn’t portend well for a President that has faced difficulties from the start and who doesn’t seem to be doing a very good job of winning friends or influencing people.

Every President in recent memory has started off their time in office with genuinely positive job approval numbers. To a large degree, this is because voters appear to want to think the best of whoever the new POTUS is and want them to do the best job possible. How long that honeymoon lasts has varied, and often is related to things beyond the control of an individual POTUS. In recent times, though, it’s lasted for a considerable period. For Geoge W. Bush, it lasted basically four years but that’s pretty much because his numbers were sent into the stratosphere after 9/11 and it took a long time for that to fade. It wasn’t until after 2004, that Bush’s approval numbers began to sink thanks to a tightening economy and a seemingly endless war in Iraq. And, of course, he left office with one of the worst approval/disapproval ratios of any post-WW2 President with the exception of Nixon.  For Obama, it wasn’t until well into his second year that his approval number had sunk to the point where there was even a slight majority that disapproved of his performance rather than approved. Obama’s numbers would fluctuate from there until 2012 when they bounced back just in time for the election, and after that, he remained mostly in positive territory for the remainder of his time in office.  Trump started out in the negative and it didn’t take very long for him to reach point Buah didn’t reach until 2007. We’ve already seen in the midterm election returns what it means for the President and his party when the President has historically low job approval numbers. If those numbers continue, and there’s no reason to believe that they are going to improve significantly at this point, then it’s likely that 2020 is going to make 2018 look like a picnic.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, Public Opinion Polls, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook


  1. OzarkHillbilly says:

    How low would they have to go for the GOP to jettison him? What is the “stop the hemorrhaging” #?

  2. mattbernius says:


    How low would they have to go for the GOP to jettison him? What is the “stop the hemorrhaging” #?

    They really can’t. Here’s the critical thing about 2018, the core Trump voters keep showing up. They are ridiculously loyal. The Republicans won an average of 83% of Trump’s ’16 votes in contested House races.

    Those are huge numbers. Contrast this with 2010 where ~50% of the people who voted for Obama showed up for the midterms.

    It was just the Democratic voter turn out was higher.

    But the reality is that (as we’ve seen with the GOP twitter account) there is now officially no daylight between the mainstream GOP and Trump. They are one in the same.

  3. Moosebreath says:


    “But the reality is that (as we’ve seen with the GOP twitter account) there is now officially no daylight between the mainstream GOP and Trump. They are one in the same.”

    Exactly. It has become notable when a Republican officeholder doesn’t repeat Trump’s opinions verbatim, and an incredible surprise when one votes against Trump on anything at all.

  4. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    Well, Republicans in Congress don’t really VOTE with Trump at rates noticeably different than historical norms as far as I know. A party follows it’s President the vast majority of the time, regardless of a specific individual. Nor am I certain that public opposition by members of Congress to their party President is happening more or less frequently than previously either. What is different is our expectation that Trump is so out of line that his party *should* be reining him in much more often, and how much emphasis the press is putting on his consistent critics (if anything, I suspect we are hearing a lot more public dissent from a few Republicans vs Trump, than we did public dissent from Dems against Obama). For most of the commentators here we just still think it should be even higher than it is 🙂

  5. Kathy says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    For most of the commentators here we just still think it should be even higher than it is

    Well, consider that the headline “6 in 10 Americans disapprove of Trump” could also be stated as “There’s something seriously wrong with 4 in 10 Americans.”

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @mattbernius: I really don’t have any expectation we will ever reach it. The GOP is wholly enslaved to the base, and trump is their savior. To turn their back on the base would be political suicide.

    My question is, and it’s an entirely theoretical question, at what point does sticking with the base become equally suicidal? At what new low *approval #* would we see significant #s of GOP abandoning the field as Flake and Corker have?

    And when I say *approval #* I speak not just of trump, but the whole racist, misogynistic, science denying, fiscally irresponsible, rule of law for thee but not the rich ideology. Again, it is a purely theoretical question.

    I don’t ever see it happening.

  7. Kathy says:


    Like others before him, Trump should find the disapproval from his base once the economy goes into recession.

    I’d like to say “will” rather than “should,” but I can’t. In many ways, the base will take on the character of their leader. Especially when it’s easier. Once the new Congress goes into session, El Cheeto will blame everything that goes wrong on the democrats in the House, even when they can’t have affected events, and even if they vote for his policies.

    He did it in one of the failed attempts to repeal the ACA, complaining that not a single Democrat voted for repeal, even though the law, such as it was, was crafted behind their backs.

    It’s easier to blame others than to take responsibility. His base will be too eager to do so.

  8. MarkedMan says:


    But the reality is that (as we’ve seen with the GOP twitter account) there is now officially no daylight between the mainstream GOP and Trump

    I think it is even more dire than that: there is effectively no GOP as an entity. There are only individual party members. Three things have brought this about:
    1) A number of cycles ago the Tea Party convinced the Republican Party to jettison the last of authority the Party had in selecting presidential candidates. The Primary is now simply a popular vote of anyone identified as a Republican (or even Inds or Dems in open primary states) and there is no mechanism to stop anyone. If they could have, the “Establishment” would have stopped Trump in 2016.
    2) Over the past couple of decades the Republicans have done everything they can to eliminate limits on campaign giving. What this means is that early in the primaries a billionaire hobbyist can trot out their favorite candidate and fund him (almost always a him) until late in the primaries. This is mostly harmless unless a toxic grifter like Newt Gingrich gets involved. He’s primarily interested in having some billionaire schmuck pay for promotion of his latest book but does so by inciting the controversy at every opportunity. Combined with others that play this role (admittedly, unlike Newt some of them are actually stupid enough to believe what they are saying) it guarantees to suck the publicity wind from the sails of more normal contenders for months.
    3) Campaign fund raising has always been sketchy but the Republican machine has raised it to astronomical levels. I would be surprised if 1 in 10 dollars raised during primary season is actually used to promote any individual candidate or cause, and most of that $1 would be spent more in ginning up outrage then in bonding them to a candidate.

    The bottom line: there is no GOP establishment that can turn on Trump. Those we think of as the Establishment have no real power left. All that is left is individual Congress critters trying to figure out what will let them keep their seats and grifter campaign machinery invested only in keeping outrage turned to 11. And what better way than having Trump in power?

  9. Michael Reynolds says:

    Rasmussen is consistently an outlier favoring Trump. Rasmussen is owned by the same holding company that owns the National Enquirer, a Trump toadying operation. I have a suspicion that Rasmussen cooks their numbers.

  10. mattbernius says:

    Just out of curiosity, how is that all that different than the current state of the Democrats (especially post 2016)?

  11. grumpy realist says:

    @Kathy: Bringing up Brexit again….given the chaos that the U.K. political establishment is steering into, I wouldn’t be surprised if a) the Brexit agreement fails to get though the HOC b) the pound crashes c) reverberations occur throughout the financial system.

    People might end up stampeding into the US stock market as one of the non-European economies still chugging along, but I don’t expect a Brexit no-deal (if the Brits finally crash out) to do anything but take an axe to the roots of their economy.

    There’s a reason I took my gains in the stock market off the table….

  12. Kathy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Rasmussen is owned by the same holding company that owns the National Enquirer,[..]

    Ah, that explains so much.

  13. SenyorDave says:

    Used to work for Nielsen and Arbitron, two of the “gold standard” companies when it comes to telephone surveys. Most of the major polling companies (Gallup, Pew, Quinnipiac, etc.) are generally pretty good, but many tend to undersample cell-only households, then adjust. Definitely more accurate to spend the extra bucks to truly represent the cell-only HH’s, but it does cost a bundle (as much as ten times more to sample a CPO HH). Rasmussen has alway been considered somewhat of a joke, consistently producing GOP-favoring outliers.

  14. Kathy says:


    Less different. There was an item about that today on Five Thirty Eight, partly speculating on the 2020 Primary.

  15. gVOR08 says:


    And when I say *approval #* I speak not just of trump, but the whole racist, misogynistic, science denying, fiscally irresponsible, rule of law for thee but not the rich ideology. Again, it is a purely theoretical question.

    I don’t ever see it happening.

    Atrios explains one reason it won’t happen.

    I’m not dumb enough to think that all members of the “liberal media” are actually liberal. I mean some are, and some certainly are not, but what they all have in common is pretending to not know exactly what most members of the Republican party want. Too lazy to look it up, but not that long ago a Dem polling/focus group outfit discovered that the problem with telling voters the perfectly truthful agenda of the Republican party, without hyperbole, is that voters think it’s so outlandish that they are being lied to. But most voters are blissfully dumb as they have better things to do than pay attention to politics all the time. However, there are people who are paid – sometimes a lot! – to pay attention to politics all the time and explain it to voters. And they don’t do it honestly. Republicans aren’t exactly very secretive about their agenda. Especially this generation, which has been simmering in their own bullshit for so long they don’t get that normies don’t actually think neo-feudalism is appealing.

    We have gone from the generation of Republicans who lied on FOX News to the generation who believed the lies. They will destroy the country if they are not stopped. And the supposedly liberal MSM won’t tell people that.

  16. Teve says:

    @gVOR08: I like that atrios bit, and found a similar item recently you might like:

    Trump’s Base Has Become Too Delusional For the GOP’s Own Good

  17. EddieInCA says:

    You won’t be able to separate Trump from his Base until Fox turns on Trump. And even in that scenario, the Trump Base might turn on Fox, not Trump.

    It’s fascinating from a psychology and sociology standpoint.

    I’ve given up, literally, trying to understand or “help” them. They’re on their own. I’ve bought my place in Mexico (San Miguel deAllende) and have an exit plan if needed. As I posted back in January, I’m fully in cash waiting for the inevitable recession heading our way. While I missed out on several months worth of gains, I’ve not lost any money the last six months.

    If I had any guts, I’d actually be short the market on the next big move up. But my exit plan is more important.

  18. Sleeping Dog says:

    Cratering numbers that don’t reflect GM’s plant closings and layoffs or the Minneapolis Feds report on farm bankruptcies. All hitting Trump country.

  19. gVOR08 says:

    @Teve: I did like it. The Rs are driving each other further and further from reality. As Kevin Drum has said, “GOPus delendus est.

  20. MarkedMan says:


    how is that all that different than the current state of the Democrats

    Good question. Up until this year the superdelegates allowed a way for Dems to pull the ripcord if they ever got a nominee like Trump. But the Bernie Bros took that away. The Dems may really regret that. The Dems don’t seem to have as many billionaire hobbyists wanting to spend their money on half wits that are willing to stroke their egos. That can certainly change. And it is my impression that the Dem fund raising machinery is significantly less scammy but I don’t have hard data on that.

    So – not good. As of a couple of months ago there are no structural mechanisms that would prevent a Trump like Dem figure. We are only relying on momentum.

  21. Kylopod says:

    @MarkedMan: It’s not at all clear that Trump would have survived proportionally allocated primaries like the Dems have. He didn’t win an absolute majority in a single state until nearly three months into primary season, and by that point he’d accumulated so many delegates there was literally no way for any of his rivals to overtake him without a contested convention. He was only able to get that far because Republican primaries are mostly winner-take-all, enabling him to amass an insurmountable delegate lead with plurality-wins alone–something that would not be possible on the Democratic side.

    As I’ve mentioned before, there was a poll in Feb. 2016 indicating that when Republican voters were asked to choose between Rubio and Trump, or between Cruz and Trump, either Rubio or Cruz beat Trump by double digits.

    That suggests Trump’s victory depended heavily on the large and divided field, where his rivals canceled each other out even though together they were more popular than he was. That’s much less likely to happen in a Democratic primary no matter how crowded it gets, simply because a candidate who wins 33% of the vote will never be awarded more than roughly that proportion of the delegates.

  22. MarkedMan says:

    @Kylopod: I hadn’t considered that. It’s at least a little reassuring.

  23. Teve says:
  24. JohnMcC says:

    @gVOR08: An aphorism that comes to mind more and more these days, watching the administration: Whom the gods would destroy, they first make insane.

  25. CSK says:


    No doubt it will be The Gateway Pundit.

  26. Teve says:

    @CSK: How wack can someone be, that Fox News isn’t Trumpist enough?

  27. CSK says:


    The true Trumpkins have decided that Fox is getting too left-wing for them. Not sufficiently worshipful of Trump.

  28. Kathy says:


    The Kim Jong Trump News Network.

  29. wr says:

    @grumpy realist: ” I wouldn’t be surprised if a) the Brexit agreement fails to get though the HOC b) the pound crashes c) reverberations occur throughout the financial system.”

    Well, if the pound is going to crash, I hope it does so by mid-January. I’ve got dinner reservations at the River Cafe on February 1, and that place isn’t cheap!

  30. wr says:

    @MarkedMan: ” The Dems don’t seem to have as many billionaire hobbyists wanting to spend their money on half wits that are willing to stroke their egos.”

    For some reason, the Democratic billionaires who want to spend money on elections all seem to want to run themselves…

  31. Teve says:

    In a blockbuster interview, key Mueller witness and Roger Stone associate Jerome Corsi admits to MSNBC’s Ari Melber that he lied to Congress, that he tried to get stolen Clinton emails back to the Trump campaign in 2016, that he “absolutely” intended to help the Trump campaign by doing so, that he told Roger Stone about John Podesta’s emails and that his lawyers are still communicating with Trump’s legal team “as if” there is a joint legal defense.



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