Gallup’s latest poll, issued Friday, shows 38 percent of American adults approve of the job Trump is doing as president, and 56 percent disapprove.
That’s comparable to some of the ratings his predecessors saw. But what’s different is the timing. It took far more than a year before presidents from Ronald Reagan through Barack Obama earned the disapproval of a majority of the public, according to Gallup. It took Trump just over a week.
Trump, barely two months into his presidency, is well within the “honeymoon period” that other presidents have enjoyed. Despite a wave of high-profile controversies and setbacks, including the failure of the Obamacare repeal bill, his White House has yet to face a recession, a major international incident or any sort of crisis beyond the self-inflicted.
Several challenges that plagued Trump when he was president-elect may have swayed public opinion of him once he got into office. He faced sexual-assault allegations and conflict-of-interest questions over his ties to the Trump foundation. Multiple women accused him of sexual assault. Now, several investigations are looking into possible links between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election.
Obama had a 61 percent approval rating on day 68 of his presidency. The first time he reached 40 percent was on day 950 of his presidency, in August of 2011. At no point did Obama receive a rating of below 40 percent.
President Bill Clinton entered his third month in office with a 52 percent approval rating. By the time he slipped to 39 percent, he’d faced a sexual harassment lawsuit, signed controversial trade bills and seen his party cede Congress to the Republicans.
President George H.W. Bush hit a low point in his presidency ― lower than Trump so far ― at 29 percent in August 1992. But he very quickly recovered up to 56 percent approval in his last month as president in 1993.
As Gallup Editor-in-Chief Frank Newport notes, while historical comparisons do Trump no favors, there’s also historical precedent for a possible recovery. “An encouraging sign for Trump, perhaps, is that all presidents whose ratings fell below 36 [percent] ― with the exception of Nixon ― saw their ratings improve thereafter,” Newport writes. “Clinton provides a particularly relevant example. His approval rating dropped to 37 [percent] in June 1993 but recovered to 56 [percent] by September of that year.”
Gallup is just one data point. Still, HuffPost Pollster, which aggregates all publicly available polls, also puts Trump’s current disapproval rating at 54.7 percent.
Gallup tracks daily the percentage of Americans who approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president. Daily results are based on telephone interviews with approximately 1,500 national adults; Margin of error is ±3 percentage points.