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Trump's Job Rating Slides; U.S. Satisfaction Tumbles

Trump's Job Rating Slides; U.S. Satisfaction Tumbles

Story Highlights

  • Trump's job approval rating drops six percentage points, to 43%
  • Congress' approval rating reaches 30% for the first time in over a decade
  • U.S. satisfaction with the direction of the country tumbles 12 points

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As President Donald Trump works to contain the damage from the novel coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., the rally in support he enjoyed as the nation entered a virtual lockdown has faded. His job approval rating, now 43%, has slipped six percentage points since mid-March when he earned 49% approval, which tied his personal best.

Line graph. President Donald Trump’s job approval rating, November 2019 to April 2020.

These data are from an April 1-14 Gallup poll.

The six-point decline in the president's approval rating is the sharpest drop Gallup has recorded for the Trump presidency so far, largely because Trump's ratings have been highly stable and have yet to reach the historical average for presidents (back to 1945) of 53%.

However, his current 43% approval is still higher than most of the ratings he has received since he has been in the White House; his average rating since taking office is 40%. This year has been a relatively bright one for the president's standing -- averaging 46%, including three separate ratings of 49%.

The current health and economic crisis is undoubtedly the greatest challenge of his presidency so far -- and could imperil his standing in the final year of his first term as he seeks reelection.

Since the mid-March poll, Trump's job approval rating has fallen six points among Democrats (to 7%) and four points among independents (to 39%). Higher approval ratings among those groups helped fuel the short-lived rally in approval for Trump. Republicans' evaluations of Trump have been highly stable throughout 2020, and currently sit at 93% approval.

Congress' Approval Hits the 30% Mark for the First Time Since 2009

Congress may be enjoying a rally of its own, and one that may be persisting. Currently, 30% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing, up from 22% in early March. Congressional members' bipartisan work that led to the recent $2 trillion stimulus package may have boosted Americans' ratings of the legislative branch to the 30% mark this month -- a feat not seen in more than a decade.

Congress' ratings ranged between 31% and 39% for most of 2009 when Barack Obama was enjoying his presidential honeymoon and working with Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress. In October 2009, it sank below 30% and remained below that level for the decade that followed -- including a record low of 9% in November 2013 after the federal government shutdown that fall.

Line graph. Americans’ approval of the job Congress is doing, 2009-2020.

Ratings of Congress have improved most among independents, from 21% in March to 33% now. Democrats' current approval rating of 29% is seven points higher than in March, while Republicans' 26% is up four points.

Satisfaction With the Direction of the U.S. Drops Precipitously

Thirty percent of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S., marking a 12-point drop since the prior reading in early March.

A monthly drop this large has only been recorded twice in the past two decades:

  • in October 2008, days after the U.S. stock market crashed and the House rejected the Bush administration's initial attempt at financial rescue legislation
  • in July 2016, after a string of mass shootings -- including one at an Orlando nightclub in June, which was, at the time, the deadliest in U.S. history -- and multiple shootings of black men by white police officers, followed by retaliatory mass shootings of Dallas police officers in early July
Line graph. Americans’ satisfaction with the way things are going in the U.S., 2008-2020.

Satisfaction has dropped 17 points since March among Republicans (to 60%) and 14 points among independents (to 24%). Democrats' satisfaction level was already low -- 10% -- and is unchanged.

Bottom Line

The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the U.S. and its institutions in unprecedented ways, creating great challenges for leaders. It's unsurprising that fewer Americans are satisfied with the way things are going than was the case a month ago.

Americans' ratings of Trump's performance improved in mid-March, when the novel coronavirus threat demanded federal efforts to contain the spread. Trump addressed the nation on the threat on March 11, and a few days later recommended that Americans follow stay-at-home measures already in place in several states. But one month is a long time for Americans in quarantine, and the dip in the president's ratings may be equally reflective of their assessment of his performance and an overall souring mood as the unemployment rate and death toll both continue to climb.

Meanwhile, a brief moment of bipartisanship has given Congress a slightly better public image. Members of Congress elected within the past 10 years have never served at a time when the legislative body received such high approval. Compared with other U.S. institutions' ratings, 30% might not seem impressive -- but for the U.S. legislative branch, it's a notable figure in a decades-long trend.

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

View complete question responses and trends (PDF download).

Learn more about how the Gallup Poll Social Series works.

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