- Solid majorities have consistently approved of Biden since he took office
- Biden's first-quarter average is similar to those of Clinton and both Bushes
- Well above Trump but trails Obama, who was above par for his era
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As President Joe Biden approaches the symbolic 100th day of his presidency at the end of this month, his job approval rating is back to its post-inauguration high of 57%. It has varied between 54% and 57% since he took office.
Line graph. Trend from January 2021 to April 2021 in President Joe Biden's job approval ratings. Percentage approving was 57% in January, 56% in February, 54% in March and 57% in April.
Biden's 100-day approval rating, based on an April 1-21 Gallup poll, well exceeds former President Donald Trump's 41% 100-day score but falls short of Barack Obama's 65% and George W. Bush's 62%. However, it's similar to readings in the mid- to high 50s for George H.W. Bush (58%) and Bill Clinton (55%).
Biden Averages 56% Approval in Entire First Quarter
Given the stability in Biden's approval rating thus far, his latest reading of 57% at roughly the 100-day mark nearly matches the 56% job approval score he has averaged during his first quarter in office, from Jan. 20 through April 19. Along with Biden's 100-day score, his first-quarter approval is on par with several of the past six presidents: G.W. Bush (58%), G.H.W. Bush (57%) and Clinton (55%).
Of the other two presidents who served during the past three decades, Obama, with a 63% first-quarter approval rating, was above par for the period, while Trump was well below par, averaging an all-time low of 41%.
All presidents taking office before 1989 had higher initial job approval ratings than Biden's, in terms of their first-quarter averages as well as their approval at 100 days.
|Approval at 100 days||First-quarter average|
|2001: G.W. Bush||62||58|
|1989: G.H.W. Bush||58||57|
|Approval at 100 days is based on latest April Gallup poll presidential approval ratings starting on or before April 29 of each year. First-quarter average based on ratings in Gallup surveys with start dates between Jan. 20 and Apr. 19 of each year.|
Views of Biden Steady at the Subgroup Level
The strong party divisions seen in Biden's approval rating in earlier readings have persisted in the latest, with 94% of Democrats and 11% of Republicans approving of his performance.
His current ratings by gender, age, race and education also roughly match his averages among these groups in January, February and March. He receives higher support from women, younger adults, non-White adults and college graduates than from their counterparts.
|18 to 34||60||36||4|
|35 to 54||57||39||3|
|55 and older||55||43||2|
|Not college graduates||53||44||4|
|Gallup, April 1-21, 2021|
No Set Pattern for First-Year Ratings
There are nearly as many patterns to presidents' quarterly ratings in their first year in office as there are presidents.
Elected presidents starting their first term with 60% or better job approval tended not to see it grow; only John F. Kennedy achieved that in 1961. But others maintained high support (Richard Nixon), lost a moderate amount (Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan) or lost a sizable amount (Jimmy Carter and Obama). Downturns in the economy (such as in 1981) and controversy over specific policies (as with the Affordable Care Act in 2009) and criticism of being too pro-business (mentioned by Eisenhower detractors in 1953) were among the factors behind these declines.
Of the three presidents who had first-quarter approval ratings between 55% and 59%, Clinton experienced a slight decline in approval by his fourth quarter in office, while G.H.W. Bush and G.W. Bush both saw sizable gains, with the latter Bush's rise resulting from Americans' response to the 9/11 attacks in the third quarter. The fall of the Berlin Wall and events leading up to it in 1989 may have contributed to increases in the elder Bush's approval rating throughout his first year.
Trump is the only president with a first-quarter average approval rating anywhere near as low as his 41%, and it declined slightly from there.
|1st qtr||2nd qtr||3rd qtr||4th qtr||Change
(4th vs. 1st qtr)
|60% or higher|
|2001: G.W. Bush||58||56||72||86||+28|
|1989: G.H. W. Bush||57||64||69||74||+17|
Biden took office with a fairly normal level of popularity for recent presidents and has not done anything to shake that support with the American people. As evidenced by the great variation in the trajectory of past presidents' first-year approval ratings, where Biden's approval rating goes from here will be dictated by political, economic and global factors both within and beyond his control. However, extreme partisan differences in how he's viewed, should they persist, could limit the upper and lower bounds of his job approval rating, thereby limiting its movement.
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