Trump Has Set A New Record For The Most Terrible Early Approval Numbers In Living Memory
President Trump’s Approval Numbers Are Abysmal Less Than Two Weeks Into His First (And Presumably Only) Term
It doesn’t matter how low you set the bar:
International limbo dancing champion US President Donald Trump will always manage to find a way to wiggle beneath it. And driving that fact home are Trump’s sorry approval numbers, the lowest of any new President in American history (well, going back as far as approval numbers have been recorded, anyway).
Since George Gallup first introduced the concept of presidential approval ratings back in 1937, American journalists have used the statistic as the official yardstick of public opinion upon which a president’s general job performance is measured. And in the eighty years since their introduction, no US President has ever started out their first term in office as abysmally or as embarrassingly as President Donald Trump, who has set a new record low that likely won’t be surpassed for quite some time.
As of this article being written, Donald Trump’s daily approval rating sits at a paltry 43%, the lowest approval rating ever held by any new president. Meanwhile, Trump has also managed to set another bad record: he’s the first US President in history to have a higher disapproval rating at the beginning of his first term than his approval rating, with 50% of Americans not liking Trump’s first week-plus on the job.
Trump’s hideous numbers follow a record-low approval during his transition. Trump’s numbers then averaged in the low 40’s, giving him the lowest transition approval ratings in history. Long story short? Trump has started off his presidency in every way, shape, and form as the most unpopular beginning president in American history.
New presidents generally see high approval and low disapproval numbers as the country waits to see what the incoming Commander-In-Chief will do once in office. Never has a new president been unable to have an approval rating at least twice as high as their disapproval in that period, and many presidents held single-digit disapproval numbers in that time.
The lowest approval ratings ever were consecutive, a tie shared by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, both of whom had 51% approval ratings at the starts of their first terms. Ronald Reagan’s starting disapproval rating was unusually high for a new president at the time, at 13%, while Bush’s disapproval was closer to the norm at 6%.
In terms of starting disapproval numbers, George W. Bush held the record previous to Trump. Bush had 57% approval and 25% disapproval… impressive numbers, given the fact that Bush lost the popular vote by what was then the largest margin in American history. Trump beat that margin as well, having lost the popular vote by 2.8 million ballots, more than three times the number Bush lost the popular vote by.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama’s first week was the polar opposite of Trump’s. He enjoyed a 68% approval, tying Dwight D. Eisenhower and coming close to the record holder, John F. Kennedy, who started out with an impressive 72%.
Barack Obama’s lowest approval rating ever sat at 38%… only five points off from Trump’s terrible starting numbers. Obama’s numbers did improve after those lulls, of course. But will Trump’s numbers get any better? Or will he challenge Truman’s 22% low? Only time will tell, but if I were a gambler, you wouldn’t need to guess which way my next paycheck would go.