Trump Hits Negative Job Approval In Record Time

After just over a week in office, Donald Trump already has a negative job approval number. That's a modern record.

Donald Trump Shrug

Donald Trump has hit majority disapproval in his job approval numbers in a record amount of time:

In normal times, it takes American presidents hundreds of days before they reach a majority disapproval rating.

This has been the case for the last five presidents – with Bill Clinton being the previous record holder after taking 573 days to have more than 50 per cent of Americans disapprove of his presidency.

But Donald Trump, the billionaire businessman, TV star and now US president, has smashed this record after his victory on a wave of anti-establishment anger.

It has taken just eight days for him to gain a majority disapproval rating, according to Gallup polling, with 51 per cent of Americans saying they disapproved of the President on 28 January 2016.

Trump’s first week in office has caused controversy and international outcry after a raft of executive orders has seen immigration halted from seven Muslim-majority countries, the unravelling of Obamacare, the withdrawal from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal and the blocking of funding for groups that perform abortions.

He attacked the media for saying (truthfully) that Obama’s inauguration crowd size was larger than his own, after millions of people around the world took to the street on the Women’s March one day into his presidency.

The unprecedented week in American politics has helped Trump break the record for the shortest amount of time for a president to reach a majority disapproval rating.

Compared to his eight days, it took Barack Obama 936 days and George W. Bush 1,205 days to see over half the country disapprove of them.

The Republican managed to win November’s US election by claiming certain key swing states in order to clinch the presidency, despite losing the popular vote by 2.9 million ballots.

This may go some of the way to explain why his approval rating is 24 points lower than Barack Obama’s when he was just eight days into his presidency.

Even before his inauguration his approval ratings were the lowest of any president in two decades.

According to Gallup, the last three presidents had approval ratings of at least 65 per cent during their presidential transitions – significantly higher than Trump’s.

Some 75 percent of America’s approved of the way Obama handled his transition, while 65 per cent approved of Bush and 67 per cent approved of Clinton.

This compares to Trump, whose transition was approved of by 48 per cent of Americans – while another 48 per cent disapprove.

As noted, this is far different from recent incoming Presidents who have generally enjoyed a honeymoon of sorts from the American public, in many cases an extended honeymoon:

Trump’s polling has also turned negative in other polling as well. As of today, only two polls, Rasmussen and The Economist/YouGov, show Trump’s job approval in positive territory with the remainder of the polls that have tracked Presidential job approval to date showing more people disapproving of Trump’s performance than approving of it. As of today, that gives him a RealClearPolitics average of 44.8% disapprove and 43.7% approve. Trump’s personal favorability, meanwhile, remains overwhelmingly negative, which may explain his low job approval numbers. Obviously, it’s difficult to discern a trend from just one week’s worth of polling. At the same time, though, it does show that things aren’t necessarily going to be easy for the Trump Administration going forward.

It’s also worth noting that these job approval numbers tend to be very cyclical and that we’re likely to hit a time in the future when Trump and his team manage to go through a week or two without stepping all over themselves with mistakes and miscalculations and his numbers turn somewhat positive. At the same time, though, I don’t expect that we are going to see Trump’s numbers do as well as some previous Presidents absent some real positive change or an event that results in the same kind of bonding around the President that we see after other national tragedies or crisis moments such as 9/11. Even then, as I noted above, one of the reasons why this President has seen his job approval numbers turn negative so quickly is because of the fact that he went into the election so widely disliked that the only reason he was able to win is because he was running against a candidate who was as disliked as he was. While those favorability numbers did improve somewhat during the transition, they remained overwhelmingly negative right up until Inauguration Day. Ordinarily, Americans try to come to like their President, and the transition process usually helps that along by allowing the incoming President to humanize themselves in a way the campaign did not  Additionally, the American public tends want to see their President succeed, so they’re generally willing to cut them a break in the beginning. Trump isn’t getting that break in no small part because of the reputation he had before even running for President and the kind of campaign that he ran. As a result, he’s likely to find it harder to garner majority support anytime soon, if he ever gets there.  Obviously, this could make a bid for re-election in 2020 more difficult than it otherwise might be, but even before we get there it is likely to have an impact on Trump’s Presidency. If Trump’s number continue to trend downward over the long term, then Republicans on Capitol Hill are going feel more free to oppose him on policy grounds and to criticize Administration network that threatens to engulf the party in controversy. This could mean that it will be less likely that Trump will actually be able to enact his policies into law.

FILED UNDER: Public Opinion Polls, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held 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 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. KM says:

    Ouch! Right in the ego. Cue twitter tantrums, Conway and Spincer trying their hardest to make it look like anyone but the ManBaby’s fault he sucks.

    Can we officially call him the Eight-Day Failure now? God took seven to make creation, Trump makes spirited effort to eff it all up in eight – can’t even get that right. All around fail.

  2. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    Those polls are rigged. In fact he is going to investigate those polls. Trump is very popular. Tremendously popular. The most popular ever. And his wildly successful executive orders are only making him more popular every day.

    Seriously though…Trump is a sign that our great experiment in Democracy has failed.

  3. Sleeping Dog says:

    The polls, they’re all lies, LIES. The people love me. Donald tweets from his bunker.

    I was disappointed when ‘W’ entered the WH, but at least I knew he was a decent human being who simply saw the world differently that I did. I didn’t believe he’d be successful and he wasn’t, but I believed that ‘W’ thought and acted in what he believed to be the best interest of America and the world. Donnie comb-over, not so much.

  4. CSK says:

    Were they able to prevent him from seeing this, or do you suppose they have him in restraints now?

    If or when he breaks loose from the restraints, I’d love to see his Twitter feed.

  5. HarvardLaw92 says:


    I have my popcorn and scotch prepared & waiting.

  6. Rick Zhang says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl:

    I wouldn’t necessarily say that it failed. Rather, several quotes spring to mind:

    “A republic, if you can keep it.”
    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    “It’s always darkest before it’s pitch black.”

    In short, we’ve not had a disastrous period like the post-Vietnam 1970s for quite some time. People have forgotten how bad things could be and they equate the Bush-Obama years, which while not great are not terrible (and probably the new normal). They yearn to do better and keep shaking things up. The problem is that with each dice roll you may actually get a worse result, not better.

    Eternal vigilance and constant resistance against tyranny is the only solution. That and the martyr system – let the people have their way, endure the disaster of the next 4 years, and beat the populists into submission for the next generation.

  7. NW-Steve says:

    I’m sure the numbers will turn around when he adds Canadians to the immigration ban, as any prudent President would clearly do.

  8. grumpy realist says:

    @Rick Zhang: It’s at times like this that I channel my inner Mencken:

  9. CSK says:


    I’ll see you the popcorn and raise you a vodka martini. Though I have zero objection to a fine single malt.

  10. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @Rick Zhang:

    “It’s always darkest before it’s pitch black.”

    Like it.

  11. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    @grumpy realist:
    This Mencken quote applies…

    Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

  12. gVOR08 says:

    A week is not a trend. Trump’s supporters are eating this up with spoons. ‘Look at how those stupid elitists are trying to thwart Trump’s efforts to make us safe.’

    The polarization of the electorate is driven by self selected media exposure. I think a lot of people voted for Trump because they’ve always voted for Republicans. Some of them may be open to persuasion. Otherwise, no, they cannot be persuaded. Even if the MSM unexpectedly support truth, justice, and the American way, these people will find media and a Facebook hive mind that sustain their beliefs. I would have estimated their number at 27%, but it may now be higher, perhaps much higher. Trump’s popularity will tell us whether they are few enough to be isolated or whether we’re screwed.

  13. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:

    The guy that shot up the Canadian Mosque is described as a right-wing troll and a Trump supporter.
    I do hope there are some seriously bad-ass Muslims in whatever prison he ends up in.

  14. Terrye Cravens says:

    Only 51% disapprove? What is wrong with people? I think Republicans might well turn on Trump…not the true believers, but the rational people who care about money, a working economy, not being made to look like a nation of loons.

    The AG of Washington state is suing the Trump administration over the ban. No doubt they got an earful from all of those high tech business people. Money talks. Trump should know that.

  15. Pch101 says:

    His honeymoon lasted all of zero seconds. It’s a shame that it wasn’t shorter than that.

  16. C. Clavin says:

    Trump just politicized and thus compromised the DOJ.
    We are in deep Banana Republic now.
    Republicans who vote for Sessions after tonight have no integrity.
    Well I guess Republican and no integrity is redundant.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    You can really see that businessman acumen at work. A politician? Hell, it could take a politician years to become rejected like a bad baboon heart transplant. But a businessman? He can make a complete ass of himself in a week!

    Most incompetent president ever.

  18. CSK says:

    Trump has fired Acting AG Sally Yates for refusing to comply. The Trumpkins are, of course, thrilled.

  19. Paul Hooson says:

    I never was a fan of this absurd braggart who has often failed at business at the expense of others. How 46% of voters could trust in him is a mystery to me. Barry Goldwater was a responsible conservative compared to Trump’s hard right nationalist ideology.

  20. Paul Hooson says:

    @CSK: It seemed like sound legal advice that this executive order was not constitutional, but Mr. Trump does not care about the rule of law or constitutionality it seems.

  21. michilines says:

    An hour late. The horror.

  22. dxq says:

    are we in total government meltdown now?

  23. Stormy Dragon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Most incompetent president ever.

    I think James Buchanan still holds that title.

  24. Gustopher says:


    are we in total government meltdown now?

    No. Trump has found someone who will defend his EO, and DHS will implement it. I think Yates did the right thing in refusing to defend this, but there is no systematic meltdown. It just sucks, and will keep on sucking.

  25. dxq says:

    rumors are that whole DOJ and State are shell-shocked and have no idea what’s coming next.

  26. Rich says:

    @KM: It won’t be long before his job approval rating sinks to the same IQ level of his deplorables. Single digits.

  27. SKI says:

    Given the mindset of Trump and his closest advisors, I’m waiting to see what the 21st century version of the Reichstag fire is.

  28. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    David Frum tells us exactly how this is going to play out…
    “…The president of the United States, on the other hand, is restrained first and foremost by his own ethics and public spirit. What happens if somebody comes to the high office lacking those qualities?…”

  29. rachel says:

    @SKI: And when it happens, will the majority of Americans point at it and say, “See? We told you his incompetence was putting us all in danger,” or will they fall in line like they did after 9/11?

  30. Guarneri says:

    Poll: only 27% of people are rooting for the New England Patriots.

    No of New England Super Bowls: a bunch.
    No of polls that correctly predicted Hillary getting bitch slapped in the election…….none.
    No of malcontents taking out their anger in impotent fashion on internet sites………..priceless.

  31. SC_Birdflyte says:

    When the DJIA hit 20000 last week, a number of my pro-Trump friends posted gloating GIFs on Facebook. Personally, since I’ve taken a lot of my gains since 2009 off the table, it would make me laugh to see a major market tumble. That could be a real test of how well Vlad’s Lad handles economic upsets.

  32. Daryl's other brother Darryl says:


    No of polls that correctly predicted Hillary getting bitch slapped in the election…….none.

    Clinton won by 3 million votes.
    Your savior…the allegedly brilliant manager…is proving to be more wildly incompetent by the day.
    Maybe you should get those swamp fever dreams taken care of while you can still get insurance.

  33. J-Dub says:

    @Paul Hooson:

    failed at business at the expense of others

    Even when he succeeds, he does it at the expense of others. There is no win-win with him. He can’t put up a building and provide a nice profit for his sub-contractors as well. No, he has to try to screw them out of their share after they have done their job.

  34. Pch101 says:


    I suppose that none of your friends at Zero Hedge or the Kremlin pointed out to you that NFL teams don’t need sixty senators in order to score a touchdown.

  35. wr says:

    @Guarneri: “Poll: only 27% of people are rooting for the New England Patriots.

    No of New England Super Bowls: a bunch.”

    So you think there’s some kind of correlation between the number of fans rooting for a team and its chances of success?

  36. J-Dub says:

    @SC_Birdflyte: The Trump stock market rally is very narrow, comprised mostly of bank and energy companies. Banks anticipate fewer regulations that will allow them to once again gamble with their customer’s money and screw them over with egregious fees. Energy companies also anticipate fewer regulations that will allow them to pollute at will. Neither are sustainable and the market will be overwhelmed by everything else Trump is doing. 2008 all over again? We’ll see. Like you, my powder is dry. I’m not hoping for it, but I’m ready for it.

  37. al-Alameda says:


    Poll: only 27% of people are rooting for the New England Patriots.

    ** it’s not a Breitbart Poll so I don’t trust it

    No of New England Super Bowls: a bunch.

    ** Number of Super Bowl losses, a bunch

    No of polls that correctly predicted Hillary getting bitch slapped in the election…….none.

    ** Number of votes Trump lost by, 3,000,000

    No of malcontents taking out their anger in impotent fashion on internet sites………..priceless

    ** Number of bitter resentful and angry Trump voters who can’t get over the fact that there is actually dissent to this petty, vindictive, narcissist autocrat president – 62,979,636 or 2.9M fewer than those who dissent.

  38. SenyorDave says:

    @J-Dub: Even when he succeeds, he does it at the expense of others. There is no win-win with him. He can’t put up a building and provide a nice profit for his sub-contractors as well. No, he has to try to screw them out of their share after they have done their job.

    To this day I don’t understand why that issue didn’t gain any traction during the election. These were the small business owners Trump claimed to care about, and he regularly screwed them on their fees, and bragged about it. My dad was a consulting engineer, and he had his own business. His word was his bond. Trump is a thief in business, period. His MO is go ahead and sue me for what you owe, I can outlast you. And the WWC ate that up, decided that was part of a being a shrewd businessman. SMH.

  39. Franklin says:

    @Daryl’s other brother Darryl: You beat me to it, I was going to post that very quote. I was rather slow because I stopped to be appalled at Mencken’s opinion of Negro stock.

  40. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin:
    I’d like to highlight your link as a must read.

    Frum starts with a sci fi fantasy that Trump’s economics works, at least for a couple of years. But from there on it’s credible and deadly serious. Frum sees the lessons of Hungary, South Africa, Turkey, and Russia. Autocracy is no longer ushered in with Brown Shirts and secret police. It comes in via slow co-option of the bureaucracy, courts, and media. A boiling frog scenario, not a revolution. Frum’s examples were never strong democracies, not very long ago we were. We have a better chance than they did.

    Except for a period when he’d been thrown off the bus, Frum’s been a pretty reliable Republican flunky. He doesn’t say what he’s going to do, but his message to the rest of us is RESIST.

  41. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Stormy Dragon:Trump’s only been President for a week. It takes time to become the ultimate at anything.

  42. Kylopod says:

    @Stormy Dragon: Debatable. Buchanan gets on “worst president” lists because of the consequences of his presidency. There arguably have been several presidents of equal or greater incompetence who happened never to get the opportunity to inflict the level of damage Buchanan caused.

  43. Lit3Bolt says:

    The Trump admin will be a 400 level poly sci class in the future called:

    “How To Not Spend Political Capital 410”

    By making everything a clown show and a worthless fight, the Trump admin is looking like the Carter admin, and undermines the chances of truly broad legislation being passed.

    With Carter, it was pure inexperience and incompetence, but with Trump, his needy and combative ego puts him in the middle of everything when it would be MUCH better for him to fade in the background.

  44. CSK says:

    Slightly OT, but a couple of news outlets are reporting that Melania and Barron won’t be moving into the White House at all even after the school year is finished. If this is true, I can’t say I’m shocked. Presumably Ivanka will function as de facto First Lady.

  45. grumpy realist says: