Trump’s Job Approval Hits New Lows In Two New Polls

More bad polling news for President Trump.

Trump Shrug 2

The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows President Trump hitting a new low in job approval:

President Donald Trump’s approval rating has fallen to its lowest level since he took office, with Americans disapproving of his performance as commander in chief and handling of some policy issues while largely favoring his work on the economy, a new Wall Street Journal-NBC News poll finds.

Mr. Trump’s job approval rating stood at 38%, a five point drop from September, the poll showed. Over all, 58% said they disapproved of the job Mr. Trump has done.

More than 8 in 10 Republicans continue to approve of Mr. Trump’s job performance. Still, the survey found a dip in his support among political independents—and signs of erosion among some of the president’s core voters.

In particular, his job approval among white women who don’t have a four-year college degree stands at 40%, compared with 54% who disapprove. That is a sharp swing from the previous month, when 50% approved and 46% disapproved.

Fred Yang, a Democratic pollster who conducted the survey with Republican Bill McInturff, said: “I think we could be seeing signs where there’s a little bit of fraying of the Trump base.”

The poll offered some consolation for a White House that is now pushing to pass a tax plan that was one of Mr. Trump’s core campaign promises.

Mr. Trump often highlights the nation’s low unemployment rate and surging stock market, and the message seems to be sinking in. By a five point margin—42% to 37%—Americans in the survey approved of Mr. Trump’s handling of the economy.

Rank-and-file Republicans are still largely lining up behind the president. While 36% of people in the survey viewed Mr. Trump in a positive light, nearly 80% of Republicans or those leaning toward the GOP held a favorable view of the president.

Some 54% of people over all and 13% of Republicans said they held an unfavorable view of the president.

As this chart indicates, the President’s approval is in the negative when it comes to virtually every policy area:

WSJ Trump Approval Poll Chart

The Gallup poll released today also shows Trump hitting a new low in job approval:

President Trump’s job approval rating has dropped to a new low, according to the most recent Gallup tracking poll.

Just 33 percent of respondents in the Gallup daily survey approve of the job Trump is doing as president.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said they disapprove of Trump’s job performance.

The Gallup survey is based on a three-day rolling average. It is conducted among 1,500 adults and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Trump’s 33 percent approval rating is his lowest since taking office, according to Gallup.

Trump had previously hit 34 percent approval at the end of August.

These numbers are largely consistent with a Fox News Poll released last week that also showed the President hitting a new low in that poll, with much of the negative assessment coming as a result of the President’s handling of Hurricane Maria hitting Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands last month. They are also consistent with the past nine months of Trump’s Presidency, which has shown him consistently running with a negative job approval number and hitting lows that haven’t been seen in such polling since the end of World War Two. The only comparable situation appears to be President Bill Clinton, whose numbers were negative during the first year of his Presidency, but Clinton’s numbers were never nearly as bad as Trump’s are today and no President has reached levels like this until very late in their Presidency, such as happened with President Nixon in the months before his resignation and President George W. Bush during his final year in office.

Looking at the poll averages, we see the trend that has been in place since at least February still present, with no signs that it is going to change. RealClearPolitics, for example, puts Trump’s approval rating at an average of 39.1% and his disapproval at 56.1%. On the economy, the average finds that the public is significantly more positive than they are overall, with 45.1% saying they approve of Trump in this area and 45.1% saying they disapprove. The picture isn’t so great when it comes to foreign policy, with 37.2% approving of Trump’s performance in this area and 55.8% disapproving. On Pollster, the average shows Trump’s numbers at 37.8% approval and  57.9% disapproval. As always, the overwhelming number of Democrats have a negative view of the President, the overwhelming number of Republicans have an overwhelmingly positive view, and Independents viewing him worse than the public as a whole with just 34.4% approving of the job the President is doing while 57 .1% disapprove. FiveThirtyEight’s average, meanwhile, puts Trump’s approval at 37.3% and his disapproval at 57.1% in an average that is weighted to take poll reliability into consideration.

As the RealClearPolitics chart shows, Trump remains at a historically negative low:

Trump Job Approval RCP 103017


Obviously, these polls were taken prior to the news about the charges filed this morning against former Trump Campaign Manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Klein and former Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadapolous, but one can largely predict that these numbers are more likely to turn negative than positive in the wake of such news. This is especially true given the fact that the White House has chosen to react to these charges and the dismissive tone that they have unsurprisingly taken. Additionally, the fact that these charges tend to show that the Mueller investigation is apparently on course to continue pursuing the leads wherever they may lead it would likely reinforce the doubts about the Administration that already exist among members of the public. Given that, it’s likely that we’ll see Trump’s numbers go down even further and that we’ll get yet another test of just where Trump’s floor of support lies right now. If it starts to dip below thirty percent, which seems to be the next major floor they’re headed to, then the Trump Administration will be in a position unseen by any incoming Administration since the end of the Second World War.

One indication of where things could be headed for the Administration can be seen in the bellwether right track/wrong track poll, which is continuing to reflect the public’s overwhelmingly negative view of the state of the country. According to the RealClearPolitics average, the number shows just 30.8% of Americans saying that the country is moving in the right direction while 60.9% say it is moving in the wrong direction:

RCP RightTrackWrongTrack 103017

Granted, the chart shows that this number has been in negative territory for the past seven years, but the recent trend also shows that it is turning more negative after briefly improving in the wake of last year’s election. This is despite the fact that the news about the economy and related issues has been relatively good during this period. Obviously, the performance of the Administration and the behavior of this President has at least something to do with the public’s increasingly negative view of the state of the country. As we get closer to the 2018 midterms, that doesn’t bode well for the political fortunes of the President or his party, something that is also indicated in the Wall Street Journal/NBC poll:

With midterm elections a year away, more people say they want to see Democrats than Republicans control Congress, 48% to 41%. Typically, Democratic gains in Congress are associated with a lead of about 10 percentage points on this question.

The midterm elections figure in large part to be a referendum on the Trump presidency.

Asked about their motivations in casting a vote in the midterms, 46% said they wanted more Democrats to be elected in order “to be a check and balance to Donald Trump and congressional Republicans.” By contrast, 28% said they wanted “more Republicans who will help Donald Trump and congressional Republicans pass their agenda.”

Views were divided by party, with 79% of Democrats saying their vote would be intended as a check on Mr. Trump and the GOP, and 71% of Republicans saying their vote was intended to help the president and his party pass their priorities.

The RealClearPolitics for the Generic Congressional Ballot, meanwhile, stands at 46.0% saying they’d prefer a Democratic Congress and 35.3% saying they’d prefer a Republican Congress while the Pollster average puts the number at 41.7% siding with the Democrats and 35.3% siding with Republicans. Admittedly, at this point it is premature to make any real assessments regarding 2018, of course, but for the moment at least things are looking good for Democrats. These numbers suggest that this trend is likely to continue for the foreseeable future.

FILED UNDER: Congress, Public Opinion Polls, 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. michael reynolds says:

    If I were Trump it’d be the economy that would worry me. He’s got a 37% approval and half the country openly despising him in good economic times? That’s not reassuring for Don.

    I’ve been harping for some time on the fact that Trump has not added so much as a single supporter in ten months. Not one – during good economic times. Where’s his up-side? Where is his pool of potential recruits? 37% is a decent core of support if you have the capacity to grow it. If you can’t grow it what have you got?

  2. Paul Hooson says:

    The only good news for Trump here? Those polls were taken before today’s indictments news….

  3. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    If I were Trump it’d be the economy that would worry me.

    Isn’t that just what I was telling you the other day? You’ve come around to my view quicker than I thought.

    In any case, I doubt that Trump himself worries very much about this. I think he truly believes he’s magically immune to the normal rules of politics and that he can “fake news”-ize all negative reports out of existence.

  4. michael reynolds says:

    I imagine an indictment of Ivanka and Jared would focus his mind.

    I think he senses danger. He certainly acts as if he’s terrified. I’m professionally-speaking a ‘character’ guy. People act in character, not always in their own interests, but in character. A psychopath like Trump may be a lot of things but blind to danger isn’t one of them. His sort may be outwardly confident, but he knows Mueller is a serious threat.

    There is no explanation other than an awareness of guilt for Trump’s actions and statements. He acts exactly like a guilty man who knows he’s been caught but doesn’t know how to deal with it. He’s throwing scat around his cage because that’s Trump. He’s lying because that’s Trump. He’s trying to bluster and bully his way through, because that’s all Trump has.

    I expect him to panic at some point and fire Mueller, which will be an admission of guilt. He’s a weak man and a stupid one. He’ll panic. I’m sure Kelly is trying to stop him, but Trump will panic nevertheless. He already is.

  5. Kylopod says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I think he senses danger.

    But the question is what he’s afraid of. I think his biggest fear isn’t impeachment but humiliation. He has secrets he doesn’t want people to know about, whether it be something like the pee tape or that he isn’t as wealthy as he claims.

  6. HarvardLaw92 says:


    But the question is what he’s afraid of

    He’s afraid that when this investigation inevitably leads to The Trump Org’s financial dealings with certain Russians & Ukrainians (and it’s already heading there), the scenario will change to money laundering and RICO enhancements. Do some reading about the penalties involved with a successful determination of racketeering / corrupt enterprise.

    I’ve (to the extent that I can within the boundaries of privilege, anyway) been shouting from the rooftops for some time now that this election tampering business is interesting, but it’s not the story – and it’s not what’s keeping Mangolini up at night. It’s a toss-up as to whether he’s more afraid of being exposed as a naked, threadbare emperor or of seeing what few actual assets his company has left seized as the products of racketeering.

    It has always been about the money, and if any part of this stands a chance of bringing him down, it will be the money.

  7. michael reynolds says:


    It will always be about money and ego, the two being essentially the same thing to him. He’s built himself a house of cards and now there’s a strong wind blowing. Money-laundering and dirty deals are the heart of this.

    He won’t be able to take the pressure. My money’s on a firing of Mueller.

  8. MarkedMan says:

    @HarvardLaw92: Makes sense. And from what I’ve read, everything significant Manafort and Gates was charged with can be replicated by the NYS AG, and Trump can’t pardon them there. And anything financial on Trump probably falls into the same category. Even if the Republican Supreme Court decides Trump can pardon anyone he wants, including himself, he can’t pardon anyone in NY or NJ.

    A couple of years ago I said in the comment section here, probably numerous times, that Trump would never let his campaign go too far. If the ridiculous happened and he won the primary, he wouldn’t accept the nomination. I was so certain because I couldn’t believe he would be stupid enough to let his financial dealings be exposed to sunlight. In the event, I was wrong. He is stupid enough.

  9. rachel says:

    And ignorant enough. He lived in a fishbowl in NYC and thought he knew what being in the public eye meant, but being POTUS is more like being under an electron microscope than the casual inspection a guppy gets from its owner.

  10. An Interested Party says:

    My money’s on a firing of Mueller.

    Hmmm…and then what very interesting things will happen, I wonder…

  11. MarkedMan says:

    I have to admit I’m a bit stunned by how all-in the Republican media* is with Trump’s crimes. They seem only interested in massaging the world view of his base, who in turn seem to have reached “Nyahh, Nyahh, Nyahh, Nyahh, We don’t care what you haters say, we Trust Jim and Tammy Faye” levels of self delusion. I’m not stunned because of the lack of morality (Roger Ailes. Rupert Murdoch. Jeannine Pirro. Rush Limbaugh. Sean Hannity. No. The lack of morality is no shock.) But rather, the lack of long term planning here. What is their end game? They seem to be all in on catering to an ever shrinking, ever aging audience. Surely they realize that Trump will eventually fall? That they will be left with 25% of the country that are consumed with anger, hate and frustration, the majority of who will end up turning off the news entirely? Yes, their marketing pitch is that they can supply viewers and listeners who are more gullible and more easily panicked into buying nonsense and scams than average. And, sure, right now their audience is increasingly densely packed with true believers. But they must see that some day it will come crashing down.

    *Many people refer to these clowns as the “Conservative Media”, but they are in no way conservative. There are only two things that drive their token philosophy: 100% buy in to the Republican Party, and rage against the Democrats.

  12. gVOR08 says:


    Surely they realize that Trump will eventually fall? That they will be left with 25% of the country that are consumed with anger, hate and frustration, the majority of who will end up turning off the news entirely?

    Then they will always have been at war with East Asia anti Trump and that nice Mike Pence will have saved the country from that horrible Trump who was solely responsible for any bad thing the Republicans ever did.

  13. Rick Zhang says:

    @MarkedMan: Yes, at this point we should consider Fox to be a propaganda apparatus of the Republican Party. I can just imagine what the internal discussions were when Breitbart was eating their lunch. Do we cater to the populists and shift in that direction? Where is the party leadership going? Then it turns out as we thought that they have no principles and will instead go where the money takes them. It’s not news if you calibrate what you say to what your readership wants to hear.

    The sinking of the Trump tide has shown who the true principled conservatives and libertarians are – those who have chosen to rebuke Trump and Bannonism. As it turns out, they were largely the educated elite and foreign policy pros, with a smattering of principled politicians like Amash, Flake, Graham, Corker, and Sasse.

  14. MarkedMan says:

    @Rick Zhang: What you said is correct. But I didn’t expect Fox News to be principled. I simply don’t understand their economic interest in this. By focusing on an ever smaller, older group they appear to be eating their seed corn. For the life of me they are acting like executives who are trying to run up the apparent value of the company by cutting off investment in the future. Executives do this for one of two reasons: they are going to sell the company to someone “who doesn’t know the horse is dead but hasn’t hit the ground yet”, or they have a huge one or two year bonus tied to some metric and they are going to make that number and then walk away.

  15. DrDaveT says:


    I didn’t expect Fox News to be principled. I simply don’t understand their economic interest in this.

    Most US businesses find it difficult to look farther ahead than next quarter’s earnings report. What makes you think Fox would be more farsighted than the norm?