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Biden Job Approval a Respectable 57% at 100 Days

Biden Job Approval a Respectable 57% at 100 Days

Story Highlights

  • 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.

Initial Presidential Job Approval Rating Statistics for Elected Presidents
Presidents listed in reverse chronological order
Approval at 100 days First-quarter average
% %
2021: Biden 57 56
2017: Trump 41 41
2009: Obama 65 63
2001: G.W. Bush 62 58
1993: Clinton 55 55
1989: G.H.W. Bush 58 57
1981: Reagan 67 60
1977: Carter 63 69
1969: Nixon 61 62
1961: Kennedy 83 74
1953: Eisenhower 73 71
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.

President Job Biden's Job Approval in April, by Major Subgroup
Approve Disapprove No opinion
% % %
U.S. adults 57 40 3
Party ID
Democrats 94 5 1
Independents 58 37 5
Republicans 11 88 1
Men 50 47 4
Women 64 34 2
18 to 34 60 36 4
35 to 54 57 39 3
55 and older 55 43 2
White adults 45 52 2
Non-White adults 81 16 4
College graduates 64 35 1
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.

Quarterly Job Approval of Elected Presidents in First Year
Presidents listed in order of first-quarter approval rating
1st qtr 2nd qtr 3rd qtr 4th qtr Change
(4th vs. 1st qtr)
% % % % pct. pts.
60% or higher
1961: Kennedy 74 76 77 78 +4
1953: Eisenhower 71 72 68 65 -6
1977: Carter 69 64 60 55 -14
2009: Obama 63 62 53 51 -12
1969: Nixon 62 62 60 63 +1
1981: Reagan 60 61 57 51 -9
2001: G.W. Bush 58 56 72 86 +28
1989: G.H. W. Bush 57 64 69 74 +17
2021: Biden 56 -- -- -- --
1993: Clinton 55 44 48 51 -4
Below 55%
2017: Trump 41 39 37 37 -4

Bottom Line

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.

Explore President Biden'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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