- Trump's current 44% approval rating back to pre-impeachment levels
- Approval among independents down seven points since late February
- Trump's approval trajectory similar to Clinton's post-impeachment
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As the COVID-19 pandemic hits the U.S. and President Donald Trump's impeachment acquittal becomes a distant memory for Americans, his 44% job approval rating is down five percentage points, and back to where it was before the Senate acquitted him on the House's impeachment charges.
The latest reading is from Gallup's March 2-13 poll, which was conducted as the novel coronavirus spread throughout the U.S., eventually leading to international travel restrictions, the cancellation of major U.S. events and widespread school closures. The magnitude of the COVID-19 crisis in the U.S. quickly evolved over the poll's field period, and Americans' (particularly Democrats' and independents') concern about it increased sharply. The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded historic declines in the past two weeks.
The president's approval rating has been elevated due to higher ratings from Republicans and independents since it was clear that he was going to be acquitted in his impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate. While Trump's approval rating among Republicans (91%) and Democrats (7%) remains stable, independents' approval fell seven points in the last two weeks to 35%.
It remains to be seen how much impact COVID-19 will have on Trump's approval rating, but there is historical precedent for a post-impeachment bounce followed by a relatively quick return to pre-impeachment levels. After Bill Clinton's December 1998 impeachment, his approval rating rose to the highest level of his presidency -- and remained high following his February 1999 Senate acquittal. One month after being acquitted, Clinton's approval rating was back to where it was before he was impeached. The trajectory of Trump's approval rating is quite similar.
|Clinton, 1998-1999||%||Trump, 2019-2020||%|
|Pre-impeachment||Dec 15-16||63||Dec 2-15||45|
|Impeachment||Dec 19||Dec 18|
|Post-impeachment||Dec 19-20||73||Jan 2-15||44|
|Pre-acquittal||Jan 8-10||67||Jan 16-29||49|
|Senate acquittal||Feb 12||Feb 5|
|Initial post-acquittal||Feb 12-13||68||Feb 3-16||49|
|Month following acquittal||Mar 12-14||62||March 2-13||44|
Gallup noted a discernable increase in Trump's approval rating around the time he was acquitted by the U.S. Senate. Now, his approval rating is back to where it was before that bounce. Whether the decline reflects the fading of the post-acquittal rally or a reaction to the emerging coronavirus threat is unclear. With coronavirus dominating the news, not to mention Americans' daily lives, Trump -- who has given several press briefings on the matter -- will increasingly be evaluated on his ability to navigate the crisis.
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Explore President Trump's approval ratings and compare them with those of past presidents in the Gallup Presidential Job Approval Center.
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