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Trump Maintains Post-Election Bounce, but No New Gains

Trump Maintains Post-Election Bounce, but No New Gains

Chart: data points are described in article

Story Highlights

  • At 42%, no movement in Trump's rating since post-election poll
  • Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's ratings also unchanged

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After jumping from 34% in Gallup's final pre-election poll to 42% right after his election victory, President-elect Donald Trump's favorable rating from the American people remains at 42% today. The slight majority, 55%, still view him unfavorably.

Americans' Opinions of Donald Trump, October-December 2016

The latest results are from a Dec. 7-11 Gallup poll.

The eight-percentage-point post-election increase in Trump's favorability rating was slightly larger than the boosts experienced by Barack Obama in 2008 (+6), George W. Bush in 2000 (+4) and Bill Clinton in 1992 (+7). But Trump also had a much lower rating to start with, meaning that even with the bump in favorable views, he remains significantly less popular at this point than his predecessors. Obama, Bush and Clinton all had favorable ratings ranging from 58% to 68% after their initial election.

The three previous presidents also enjoyed additional boosts in their favorability between their elections and polls taken just before their inaugurations. Bush experienced the smallest bump of three points, while Obama enjoyed the largest bump of 10 points. Clinton saw his favorability climb eight points between his election and his inauguration.

The lack of change in Trump's favorable rating halfway through his transition period suggests that his favorable image may have stalled, making it likely that he will arrive on Inauguration Day with a significantly less positive image than Obama and Clinton, and perhaps Bush as well. Additionally, his 48% approval rating for his handling of the transition lags far behind those of previous presidents at a similar point in the process.

Obama's and Hillary Clinton's Ratings Steady Since Election

Like Trump's, the favorable ratings of his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton (41%), have held steady since the election. Clinton's image began to improve after her unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination in 2008, and as secretary of state in the years that followed, as many as two-thirds of Americans viewed her favorably. It is not out of the realm of possibility that her image could make a comeback as she retreats from the political limelight.

Barring any major problems for Obama over the next month, he is poised to exit the White House with higher favorable ratings than did Bill Clinton (57%) or George W. Bush (40%). Presidents have also generally become more favorably viewed after leaving office.

Favorable Ratings of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, November vs. December
Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of that person -- or if you have never heard of them. How about --
Nov 9-13 Dec 7-11
% %
Barack Obama 62 61
Hillary Clinton 43 41

Bottom Line

Though Trump experienced a typical post-election bump, it is too soon to say if he will experience the same boost in favorability that previous presidents have enjoyed from the time of their election to their Inauguration Days. At the moment, though, he struggles with historically low transition approval ratings, suggesting that his cabinet selections and preparations for the White House through early December have done nothing to change how many Americans view him.

But while Trump's presidency has yet to begin, Obama is ending his on a positive note, on par with several of his popular predecessors. And since the images of former presidents often take on a post-White House glow, it's possible that Obama's ratings could further increase in the coming years. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton's current ratings are not among her best. But this could change, as Americans have changed their minds about her many times before.

Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.

Survey Methods

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Dec. 7-11, 2016, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 1,028 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 ±4 percentage points 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 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.

View complete question responses and trends.

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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