Trump’s Job Approval At Historic Low For Incoming Presidents
Donald Trump's initial job approval numbers are lower than any President since the EIsenhower Administration.
Two weeks into the Trump Presidency, the first measurements of President Trump’s job approval numbers are showing public opinion being more negative about him than any President in recent memory:
It’s been two weeks since Donald Trump’s inauguration, and the new President’s work so far hasn’t impressed the American people.
A majority, 53%, disapprove of the way the President is handling his job, according to a new CNN/ORC poll, marking the highest disapproval for a new elected president since polls began tracking those results. Trump is the only President to hold a net-negative rating this early in his tenure.
Overall, 44% approve of the way he’s handling the job, seven points below the previous low-point of 51%. Further, the share who disapprove “strongly” of Trump’s work as president is nearly as large as the total block who approve, 43% feel intensely negative about Trump. Partisanship is the sharpest divider in opinions on Trump (90% of Republicans approve vs. 10% of Democrats).
Trump’s high disapproval most clearly differentiates his ratings from those of his predecessors. While Ronald Reagan’s first approval rating measure of 51% from Gallup in 1981 was not that far above Trump’s 44% now, Reagan’s disapproval number was far lower than Trump’s (13% to 53%). And George W. Bush, the last president to be elected without capturing the popular vote, held a far more positive 57% overall approval rating in February of his first year in office, with just 25% disapproving.
Trump’s job approval numbers in a new CBS News poll are similarly low:
Amid the flurry of far-reaching executive orders signed during his first two weeks in office, the president’s first recorded job approval rating in the CBS News Poll is at 40 percent. Some 48 percent of Americans disapprove, and 12 percent don’t have an opinion yet. Views of the 45th president are strikingly partisan: More than eight in 10 Republicans approve and more than eight in 10 Democrats disapprove of how he is handling his job. Independents are more likely to disapprove (46 percent) than approve (36 percent).
Mr. Trump’s first approval rating is a historic low when compared with other presidents during their first month in office, and he is the first president since 1953 (when Gallup started measuring the job performance of presidents just after their first inauguration) to have more Americans disapprove than approve of the job he is doing so early in his term.
Ratings of the most recent U.S. presidents were far less partisan. About a third of Republicans approved of the job Barack Obama was doing at the start of his presidency, and a similar percentage of Democrats approved of George W. Bush at the start of his first term.
President Trump does better on a couple of specific issues. Forty-three percent of Americans approve of his handling of the economy, while 37 percent disapprove. Americans split on how he is handling terrorism. Again, these results are highly partisan.
The numbers have been similar in other polls that have been released in the last two weeks, as well as the standard job approval tracking polls that have been tracking Trump’s job approval from his first day in office. The only exception to that rule has been Rasmussen’s tracking poll, which currently shows Trump at 54% approval and 46% disapproval, but it’s worth noting that even this poll shows Trump with the highest disapproval rating of any recent incoming President. As a result of all these numbers, the RealClearPolitics average leaves Trump upside down when it comes to job approval, with 48.3% disapproving of his performance in office to date and 46% approving. In the Pollster average, meanwhile, Trump stands at 49% disapproval and 43.8% approval On some level, of course, this isn’t surprising given the fact that Trump only received 45 .9% of the vote in the 2016 General Election and that his favorable/unfavorable numbers remain exceedingly high on the unfavorable side, which is historically unusual for an incoming President since the pattern has generally been that the American public gives the new President something of a honeymoon and that the transition and Inauguration generally provide them with that. Add into this the fact that both the transition and the first weeks in office for the new Administration have been far more error prone and controversial than Administrations in the recent past.
To be fair, two weeks is a small amount of time in which to judge the failure or success of a Presidential Administration. There are some 206 weeks left in Trump’s first term in office, and it will be another roughly 193 weeks before Trump will stand for re-election assuming that he chooses to run again. There’s a lot that can happen between now and then that could change how the public perceives him, both positive and negative. As things stand right now, though, the Trump Administration is most assuredly starting off on the wrong foot and that could have serious implications for its ability to advance its agenda in the months and years to come.
You’re right, it – 2 weeks – really is a small sample size, however for now I have to assume that this has no noticeable negative impact on the White working voters who installed him in the White House. These people probably, very generally: (1) like the travel ban on refugees/Muslims, (2) don’t care that he’s trying to bully Mexico, Canada, and Australia, (3) dislike judges who rule against his orders, (4) like that he is reprising his role of reality show “boss” with resounding “you’re fired” to those who deign to oppose his policy directives.
Until Trump directives and actions affect White working Trump voters directly I can’t imagine that they care if Trump is breaking glassware and pottery as he bulls his way through the Foreign Policy Pottery Barn Shop. This tell-it-like-it-is improv that Trump is running out there every day is exactly what these people liked about Trump.
Other, lesser presidents were unwilling to expend political capital, and so let it slowly wither on the vine. This president, greatest of presidents, knows that some actions are unpopular but have to happen anyway — he won’t let his tiny hands be tied by “popularity”, “legality”, “constitutionality” or “decorum”.
This is what a real leader looks like, and people are sitting up and taking notice. The Ayatollahs and the Australians have been put on notice!
Also, his poll numbers would be better if the pollsters weren’t counting millions of illegal immigrants and California.
Quite correct that the hardcore Trumpistas will stay true. And their faith will be sustained by the RWNJ media. During the W admin I ran into a lot of people who said they had been lifelong Republicans, but couldn’t do it anymore. Should be another run of them as it sinks in that no, there is no Successful Businessman ™ reasonable Trump. What they saw in the campaign wasn’t a show for the rubes, it was the real Trump. This is now a game not of numbers, but of turnout. Right now most of the 53% who disapprove are pretty fired up.
Whether the 53% stay fired up, and whether we have Republican defectors, depends on whether the supposedly liberal MSM report honestly on Trump or normalize him. Do what the Tea Party did, every time somebody prints something favorable, or even neutral, about Trump,call, write, email, bitch. Every time someone says he’s your President too, or respect the office if not the man, point out that if Trump wants respect, it falls on him to do something respectable. RESIST.
You forgot to include anything from the Pravda polls.
I know this guy, and I have to tell you – point blank – that he will not be able to handle it. He wants to be liked, wants to be popular & accepted. These are his driving forces in life.
You’ve already seen how he reacts when criticized. What’s happening now will drive him crazy and motivate him to put himself in the position of playing emotionally driven whack-a-mole defense for the rest of his presidency. It will be completely undermined and paralyzed as he spirals further and further into a never-ending tantrum.
Which will – and I am biding my time here – eventually lead to a serious mistake which we can use to splinter the GOP and torpedo him. Much of what he’s done so far is disgusting, but not what I’d classify as a serious mistake. Just easily spun missteps and humor at the expense of Trump and his clearly unqualified & unprepared staff.
Mark my words – the serious “GOP can’t ignore it” level screw-up that our allies won’t forgive is coming. It’s not a matter of if, but instead one of when. We have to 1) keep the pressure on him, brutal and unrelenting, to ensure that it happens and 2) be prepared to use it to our advantage when he goes over the line and makes the serious error.
Between August 26, 2013 and January 10, 2016, Gallup put Barack Obama’s approval rating higher than his disapproval rating a total of three times and for the end of 2013 and almost all of 2014, President Obama’s ratings were just as bad as Trump’s are now with approval in the low 40s and disapproval at 50 or above. Yet, Barack Obama somehow managed to remain President for all that time.
Trump’s the most unpopular person to ever win the White House in modern times and his enemies have refused to grant him the honeymoon that even George W. Bush got after his election. What else would you expect the poll numbers to say?
It does make me doubt the future of our species to see people get caught up in this only three months after the greatest polling failure in history made them all look like idiots. It’s like watching a Titanic survivor immediately jump on a boat back to England.
Wow, you completely erased Obama’s first term in some lame effort to create a false equivalence.
LOL, you keep carrying water for Trump like this and we’re going to start calling you Gunga Din.
@MBunge: “Trump’s the most unpopular person to ever win the White House in modern times …”
Gee, why would that be?
“…and his enemies …”
You misspelled ‘Patriotic Americans’.
“…have refused to grant him the honeymoon that even George W. Bush got after his election.”
But not President Obama.
Because you forgot, allow me to remind you:
Barack Obama was never granted a honeymoon.
You’re welcome. Please continue.
For everyone who thinks protest is useless, or that pointing out the illegitimacy of the popular vote loser Donald J. Trump (favored by Russia) is childish… this is the effect of all of that.
He gets no honeymoon. His policies are not given the benefit of the doubt by the media. Republican lawmakers are getting calls roughly 30 to 1 against his cabinet choices. Administration actions are immediately met with protest.
Will it have any effect on policy? If we keep up the pressure, even Republican congress-critters will start questioning whether helping Trump is worth their careers. 2018 will not have a normal off year electorate of complacent democrats. And, if it doesn’t work, what will, other than armed revolution?
The only failure in the aggregate in re polling is the fundamental innumeracy of the vast majority of the popultion who simply do not understand the statistics.
How has a guy who just jumped in to the political foray devised so much divisiveness in so short a time?
Happy to be of help…
I’m shocked that Trump won by a landslide. Seems like the poll maybe bias.
Two sentences; two errors. Nice work.
The polls were not all wrong before the election, Clinton did win the popular vote. And the state polls were all over the place. If Comey had not been a partisan hack and if Putin had not gone to such lengths to help his boy we would not be watching our Constitution trampled upon every single day by this doofus.
I am waiting for him to come out of his palace in Palm Springs wearing a crown and a cod piece.
He is an embarrassment.
@Jake: It depends, just ask Trump…the polls that say what he wants to hear are always right.
Your knees must really hurt.
Poor @MBunge thought he’d found a quiet time to re-emerge as a Trump supporter.
Just in time for Trump to equate the US with Russia as a moral force in this world. Comment, Mike?
Gee … Why am I somehow NOT surprised that you believe that ….. although he received 2.9 million votes fewer than the wife of Satan, and a swing of 80,000 votes in 3 hotly contested swing states would have won the election for Satan’s wife … that Trump won by a landslide?
Landslide is the new second place.
Im-ho-tep … Im-ho-tep …
This seems to be emerging as the popular theory, but I’m not buying it. Comey had very little reason to throw the election to Trump on political grounds. The Republican establishment didn’t support Trump (I would guess most of them pulled the lever for Hillary). The elected Republicans may have voiced tepid support for Trump in public but that was because they feared Getting primaries. So that leaves that Comey was compromised in some other way. My guess is that the Russians had something on him and pulled his chain.
Now, if there was going to be a serious investigation into Russian manipulation of the election, I would hold off making such accusations until the evidence was in. But the Republicans have made it clear that there will be no serious investigation. Does anyone here think Comey would authorize such an investigation?
@MarkedMan: Apparently you are not aware of Comey’s political leanings or his past in regards to the Clintons. And whatever his motivations might have been he broke protocol when he released that letter saying the investigation was on again…and then magically called it off a couple of days before the election. At which time time Trump started yammering about how it was all rigged. Comey should have done what he was supposed to do and kept his mouth shut. After all, when members of Congress ask him if he was investigating anyone other than Clinton Comey lied and said no. Now we know the FBI was investigating ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
I saw a picture the other day of Donald blowing Comey a kiss…isn’t that sweet?
In 2012, the RCP average was off by 3.2%. In 1980, polls underestimated Reagan by about 7%. And did you by any chance hear of a certain historical headline “Dewey Defeats Truman”?
You know how much the RCP average in 2016 was off by? 1.1%.
Greatest polling failure in history, huh? You, sir, don’t have the faintest idea what you’re talking about.
If the election had excluded the states that had fought for slavery, then Clinton would have won a popular vote landslide.
Abe Lincoln might have had the wrong idea.
@Pch101: Longer ago than I care to admit I spent my first two years after college in Dallas. Good times. Made good money, had good friends. But as for TX, as far as I’m concerned if the Mexicans want it back, they can have it.
Oh come on. Texas is a great place to live. Love everything about it, except for the Texans.
“Donald Trump’s initial job approval numbers are lower than any President since the EIsenhower Administration.”
That’s nice. Well, four years from now the electorate can do something about it. Meanwhile, its four years of OTB foot stomping, fist clenching and general whining.
Fascinating. By the way, here’s a poll result for you – its President Trump, not President Clinton.
@Guarneri: No one is angry anymore (no one I knew ever was, in fact), we’re just keeping you posted on how the “journey to reclaimed greatness” is going. So far, not so good.
It’s going to be an interesting 4 years. On Friday, Fox Radio News was reporting that Mattis had given a speech in Tokyo saying that irrespective of what the Japanese were hearing from the White House the United States see Japan as a valuable ally and respects their contribution to global peace.
I may have to start making popcorn; candy as a snack for this movie is going to be too sugary.
@Guarneri: In all seriousness, how do you rate Trump so far? I didn’t vote for him but I was willing to give him a chance. I had hoped that he would have started to act like an adult once he took office.
He’s been in the public eye for several decades. While his policy positions have been all over the map, his temperament and personality are essentially unchanged from 30 years ago. Anyone who thought there was a sliver of a chance he’d “turn into an adult” once elected wasn’t paying attention.
Frankly, we really need to retire that phrase “give him a chance.” That’s a phrase coming from normal political times and just doesn’t fit the present situation. It puts the onus on those doubting that an orangutan will suddenly become a Rhodes Scholar as if they’re the ones being unreasonable.
@Kylopod: You’re right. Maybe I should have said that once he was elected I resigned myself to the fact and decided to wait and see what happens.
Every time some of my relatives from Texas, Alabama, Arkansas or Georgia mock California I tell them that Lincoln made a big mistake back in 1860 when he didn’t let the South leave the Union. I’m only half kidding.
Interesting, because I’ve noticed that Trump supporters seem to be, despite their Electoral College victory, extremely angry that Trump lost the popular vote, and do not seem to be able to accept that fact. It’s almost as if they’re concerned that the legitimacy of the Trump presidency is somehow compromised by this?
I understand that Republicans – after having refused to accept the combined 4 terms of presidency of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama – were sure that Democrats would roll over and give Trump a chance to succeed. Frankly, I don’t understand that kind of magical thinking – really, why would Republicans think that a period of glad tidings was upon us, when their own model for success is/was predicated upon unrelenting opposition and obstruction of Democratic presidents.
Here’s something I never thought in a million years I’d see: an American President engaging in whataboutism in defense of Russia.
Republicans, who once made a multi-day pseudo-scandal out of Obama not wearing an American flag pin on his lapel, have so far been without comment on this, although I wouldn’t be surprised to hear from John McCain. Nothing yet, though.
Trump’s repeating a point he’s made before. This isn’t the first time he’s defended or excused Putin’s murders.
Since his fan club loves Putin, they certainly won’t care.
Polling showed her winning by 3% and she won by 2%. What a huge failure.
@Guarneri: Actually in two years the public can do something about it…however the gerrymandering will make that harder. BTW, I did not notice anyone cutting Obama or Clinton any slack.
““There are a lot of killers. We have a lot of killers,” Trump said. “Well, you think our country is so innocent?””
If a Democrat said this, the howls about how Democrats don’t understand American Exceptionalism would be deafening. But it’s alright for Trump, because he hasn’t yet signed the Ryan budget and tax cuts for the rich.
@Moosebreath: You know, the way Trump says that, it’s possible to believe he’s thinking about foreign military conflicts. Is Trump aware that Putin has had specific Russian citizens killed? Can he be that ignorant? Sorry, rhetorical question.
Electoral college landslide win
@Jake: The article you linked to not only doesn’t demonstrate that Trump’s electoral college victory was a “landslide,” it doesn’t even address the question! The word “landslide” never appears in the article–nor “electoral college,” for that matter. Do you even understand what those terms mean? Or do you just automatically assume that posting a pro-Trump article automatically constitutes a comeback to anything we say?
Trump actually scored the 11th smallest electoral college victory since 1804 (the first election after the passage of the 12th amendment). You hear that? Out of 54 elections in over 200 years, 43 involved higher percentages of the electoral vote than Trump received–only 10 of them were lower. Obama scored a higher share of the electoral vote twice, as did Bill Clinton, as did Ronald Reagan, as did Nixon once and George H.W. Bush once. And that’s just modern history.
While there’s never been any official or objective definition of a landslide, to refer to Trump’s victory as one renders the term utterly meaningless. It’s kind of like the word “tall.” One might describe John Kerry (6’4″) as a tall man, even though he isn’t tall in the same sense that Shaq O’Neal is tall. There are even contexts where it might make sense to describe a man who’s just six feet exactly as tall. Calling Trump’s electoral victory a “landslide” is like describing 5’7 John McCain as tall on the grounds that he’s taller than the average American–males and females included. It’s the type of claim only a Donald Trump would make.
“Electoral college landslide win”
Clinton 92 – 370
Clinton 96 – 379
Obama 08 – 365
Obama 12 – 332
Trump 16 – 306
Going back to 1980, the only president who got fewer electoral college votes was George W Bush.
@gVOR08: Realistically, we have to look to 2018. Every effort of the anti-Trump majority ought to be directed to: 1 Protecting vulnerable Democratic Senators in states DT carried and 2 Ousting as many GOP Congresscritters as possible. Electoral results talk.
While we’re on the topic, maybe those hearkening for a liberal version of the Tea Party should keep in mind that the TP blew several Senate races in 2010 and 2012 in its bid for purity, and that is definitely not an example the Dems ought to emulate. I’m not saying the left is on the verge of nominating a Christine O’Donnell or Todd Akin, but maybe the DailyKos types ought to cool it in assuming that a pol who talks like Liz Warren will hold electoral appeal in places like West Virginia or Missouri.
Trump has no landslide, only a never-ending bullcrap-slide.