- First time under 40% for Donald Trump since October
- Approval down among all party groups
- Trump approval ratings for handling issues also down sharply
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President Donald Trump's job approval rating has fallen to 39% amid nationwide protests about racial injustice. His ratings this year had been the best of his presidency but are now back near his term average of 40%.
Line graph. President Donald Trump's current 39% job approval rating is down from 49% in the prior poll and the lowest since October 2018.
The latest reading is from a May 28-June 4 poll, conducted as protests occurred throughout the country after the May 25 death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black Minneapolis man, died in police custody after a white officer pressed his knee on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes.
Trump's comments and actions in response to the protests last week, including a vow to send U.S. military troops to cities to quell violent protests, were controversial. The administration was widely criticized after police in Washington, D.C., used chemical irritants to disperse peaceful protestors from an area shortly before the president posed for photos in front of a nearby church.
The protests are occurring as the nation continues to deal with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The poll was completed before the news Friday about an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate.
The decline in approval returns the metric to a level last seen in October, shortly after the House of Representatives launched an impeachment inquiry into Trump's dealings with the Ukraine government.
Trump's latest job approval rating fell significantly among all party groups, and by similar margins among each. This includes drops of seven percentage points among Republicans (to 85%) and independents (to 39%), and nine points among Democrats (to 5%).
Republicans' approval of Trump is the lowest it has been since September 2018 (also 85%).
Economic Job Approval Drops Below Majority Level
Forty-seven percent of Americans approve of President Trump's handling of the economy, a decline from 63% in January and 58% in February. Approval of Trump's handling of the economy had not been under 50% since November 2017, when 45% approved.
Line graph. 47% of Americans approve of President Trump's handling of the economy, down from 58% in February.
President Trump's economic approval rating has been 10 points higher than his overall job approval rating, on average, throughout his presidency in surveys in which both measures were asked. Currently, eight percentage points separate his economic approval rating and overall job approval rating.
It is unclear what impact the new unemployment numbers will have on Trump's economic approval rating or his overall job approval rating. The drop in the unemployment rate was unexpected, though the rate remains historically high and is likely higher than reported due to errors in how workers furloughed during the coronavirus pandemic were categorized.
Americans are also increasingly critical of the president's response to the coronavirus pandemic itself. Currently, 42% approve of the way Trump has handled the matter, down from 50% in the prior reading in late April, and 60% just after coronavirus infections spiked in many areas of the country in mid-March.
Also, 41% of U.S. adults approve of the president's handling of foreign affairs, seven points lower than the previous measure in February. The current approval rating on foreign affairs nearly matches the 40% average approval on this issue throughout his presidency.
The year 2020 had been a more favorable one for the Trump administration than prior years, with his job approval rating reaching personal bests during two periods. The first came in late January and early February, the time spanning his Senate trial on the impeachment charges and ultimate acquittal by the Senate on Feb. 5. The second came in the spring after the coronavirus situation produced a brief rally event for the president and Congress.
Public anger over the Floyd killing and racial injustice more generally have proven to be a significant challenge for the president, in addition to the ongoing challenges for society and the economy arising from the coronavirus.
His current level of approval would make another term as president unlikely, given the historical relationship between job approval ratings and incumbent reelection. With five months to go before Election Day, there is still time for those ratings to improve and get back near the 50% level associated with incumbent reelection in the past, but also time for them to get worse and give the president even longer odds of winning a second term.
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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