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Trump's Job Approval Trending Back Down, Now 40%

Trump's Job Approval Trending Back Down, Now 40%

Story Highlights

  • Trump approval down from 46% in April
  • Approval shift largely because of political independents
  • Despite slip, half still approve of Trump's handling of the economy

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- After rising to 46% in April, President Donald Trump's job approval rating skidded in May, first dipping to 42% and now to 40%. His latest rating, from a May 15-30 Gallup poll, is similar to the 39% he received in March and matches his average since taking office.

Line graph. President Trump’s job approval has varied between 37% and 46% in 2019; it is now 40%, similar to his term average.

Trump's back-to-back ratings at the 45%-46% level in April represent his longest stretch to date at that level of approval from the American public. This occurred in the first few weeks after the release of the special counsel report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, which found insufficient evidence that the Trump campaign had colluded with Russian operatives. A stronger-than-expected jobs report in April may have helped keep Trump's rating elevated that month.

Since then, as more details about the report have emerged and special counsel Robert Mueller himself has clarified that it was not within his legal purview to bring criminal charges against a sitting president, Democratic calls for Trump's impeachment have mounted. At the same time, renewed talk about possible trade wars with China rattled Wall Street, sending stock markets down in May even as employment indicators remained strong.

Trump's approval rating fell by an average of four percentage points between April and May, from 45% to 41%, based on combined data for the two polls conducted each month. The drop was fairly even across most demographic subgroups but showed more variation by party.

While Trump's monthly approval ratings among Republicans and Democrats were virtually unchanged in May compared with April, his approval fell six points among independents.

Trump Approval by Subgroup, Based on Average Monthly Data
  March 2019 April 2019 May 2019 Change since April
  % % % pct. pts.
U.S. adults 39 45 41 -4
Male 48 52 47 -5
Female 31 38 36 -2
18-29 19 33 28 -5
30-49 43 44 40 -4
50-64 49 50 45 -5
65+ 43 54 51 -3
White 51 55 52 -3
Nonwhite 16 23 19 -4
College graduate 35 39 35 -4
Not college graduate 41 48 44 -4
Party ID  
Republican 90 90 89 -1
Independent 33 39 33 -6
Democrat 4 10 8 -2

Although Down, Half Still Approve of Trump on the Economy

The latest poll also finds Trump earning nearly term-average ratings for his handling of the economy and foreign affairs: 50% for the economy and 37% for foreign affairs. Both ratings are down from the prior readings in February.

Line graph. Trump approval on the economy and foreign affairs since 2017. Current ratings are 50% and 37%, respectively.

Bottom Line

Trump's approval rating rose in April, likely because of news events that, at least initially, bolstered his denial of any collusion with Russia during the 2016 campaign and validated his economic leadership. However, the effect seemed greatest on political independents, who by definition are less anchored than others politically. When the news became less favorable to Trump, independents' approval reverted to what it was in March, and Trump's approval rating has accordingly returned to its more normal level near 40%.

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

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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