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Trump Job Approval Slips to 36.9% in His Third Quarter

Trump Job Approval Slips to 36.9% in His Third Quarter

Story Highlights

  • Down two points from his second-quarter average
  • Third quarter included Trump's personal low 34% rating
  • 10 points lower than any elected president in third quarter

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Throughout Donald Trump's third quarter as president, from July 20 through Oct. 19, an average of 36.9% of U.S. adults approved of the job he was doing. That represented a nearly two-percentage-point decline from his second quarter, after a similar decline from his first to second quarter.

Donald Trump's Quarterly Average Presidential Job Approval Ratings

Trump's job approval rating was below 40% in all but one of the Gallup Daily tracking three-day rolling averages reported during the third quarter.

This includes Trump's personal low 34% job approval rating, measured multiple times in mid- and late August. Those ratings came after Trump made provocative statements about North Korea on Twitter and offered late and equivocal condemnation of white supremacists involved in violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

His latest Gallup Daily tracking job approval rating, based on Oct. 17-19 interviewing, is 35%.

Trump's Third-Quarter Average Lower Than Any Other President's

Trump has consistently had much lower approval ratings than any elected president in his first year. His third-quarter ratings continued that trend, as they were more than 10 percentage points lower than the previous low third-quarter rating, 47.7% for Bill Clinton in 1993. All other elected presidents had approval ratings above 50% in their third quarters, with five of these at 60% or higher.

Elected Presidents' Third-Quarter Job Approval Averages
Dates % Approve Number of measurements
Eisenhower July 20-Oct. 19, 1953 68.3 4
Kennedy July 20-Oct. 19, 1961 76.8 4
Nixon July 20-Oct. 19, 1969 59.7 6
Carter July 20-Oct. 19, 1977 60.2 6
Reagan July 20-Oct. 19, 1981 56.8 5
G.H.W. Bush July 20-Oct. 19, 1989 69.0 3
Clinton July 20-Oct. 19, 1993 47.7 7
G.W. Bush July 20-Oct. 19, 2001 71.5 10
Obama July 20-Oct. 19, 2009 52.9 90
Trump July 20-Oct. 19, 2017 36.9 92
Gallup

Gerald Ford had a 39.3% job approval during his third quarter in office, in early 1975. Ford took office after President Richard Nixon resigned in August 1974 and began his presidency with positive ratings, but saw them decline sharply after his controversial pardon of Nixon one month into his term.

Trump's third-quarter approval rating is not only poor in comparison with other presidents at the same point in their administrations but also ranks among the lowest in Gallup's history. Of the 288 presidential quarters during which Gallup has measured job approval, only 31 -- about 10% -- were worse than Trump's most recent average.

The lowest average for any president is 23% for Harry Truman during his 27th quarter in office, from October 1951-January 1952. In addition to Truman, four other presidents have had quarterly averages worse than Trump's at some point in their presidencies -- Jimmy Carter, Nixon, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

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Party Polarization a Key Factor in Trump Ratings

Trump's job approval ratings are low largely because he receives very little support from Democrats and relatively weak support from independents. He maintains broad approval among his fellow Republicans. In the third quarter, 80% of Republicans, 32% of independents and 8% of Democrats approved of Trump. However, his support among Republicans fell five points from the second quarter, accounting for most of the two-point decline among all Americans.

Donald Trump's Quarterly Average Presidential Job Approval Ratings, by Political Party

Bottom Line

The patterns in Trump's public support thus far are well-established -- historically low, highly politically polarized and fairly steady. The little movement in his approval ratings to date has consisted of modest declines, with two-point decreases in each of the last two quarters. Those changes have kept his ratings firmly below 40% in recent months.

Although some of Trump's approval woes are attributable to his policy actions and personal characteristics, some may also be attributable to the era in which he is governing. Like Trump, Barack Obama's ratings showed very high levels of party polarization and fairly modest variation over the course of his presidency. Unlike Trump, however, Obama's approval ratings started off high before settling down in the 40% range for most of the rest of his presidency.

Recent history, then, might suggest little chance for either short-term or sustained improvement in Trump's approval ratings.

Explore President Trump's approval ratings in depth and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted July 20-Oct. 19, 2017, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 46,663 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.

Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

Learn more about how the Gallup U.S. Daily works.

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