Five things about Trump approval polling

Five things to recognize about Trump approval.

While Trump enters office with historically low approval for a new president, his approval & disapproval ratings have been quite stable.

(Note: comparison with past presidents above uses Gallup polls only. Those below use all available polls so Trump trend differs a little.)

Partisan polarization is high & stable as for most of the Obama years w/ Reps approval in mid-80s, Dems in low teens and inds in low 40s.

When comparing same pollster in 2+ polls, approval has been stable while disapproval has moved up a bit, especially in first 2 weeks.

There is variation by mode and across pollsters. Live interviews tend to produce lower approval, internet higher, IVR highest, but there is variation within mode of roughly 5 points across pollsters. Either stick with 1 pollster for trends or average over all.

The lesson of the polls so far, as was true in much of the campaign, is daily news, however striking, does not move Trump opinion much.

The public is close to evenly divided over the president, and is showing little sign of minds changing after 44 eventful days.

Look for change, up or down, to become clear on a scale of 6 to 12 months. Only rarely do we see very large shifts in very short periods of time (such as 9/11).


Compare polarization and level of approval during the Obama presidency. Early on BHO was much higher/DJT lowest of all since Ike. But polarization in BHO middle 6 years about same as now in reverse. And Obama’s overall approval hovered in mid-40s for most of term, with rise in last year.

Compare polarization trends in BHO term above with GWB below. All partisans surged post 9/11, but Rs fell in 2nd term. After 1st yr, little BHO change, with Inds contributing most movement. GWB suffered major losses in support among both Inds and Reps in 2nd term.

With Trump, Dems are already about as low as they can fall. That leaves it to independents and Republicans to control the trajecory of his approval ratings.