Trump's first-quarter approval rating at historic low

By Eric DuVall   |   Updated April 20, 2017 at 2:07 PM
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April 20 (UPI) -- Despite remaining overwhelmingly popular among his base, President Donald Trump's average approval rating after three months in office is the lowest of any new president since the end of World War II.

According to Gallup, Trump's average approval rating since taking office Jan. 20 is 41 percent. The next lowest during the early days of a presidency was Bill Clinton, whose average was 55 percent, a 14-point gap.

The polling data show Trump did not enjoy the so-called "honeymoon" phase of goodwill from Americans eager to support a president in his first term, though data also show there is not a particular correlation between the level of initial approval and the ultimate success or failure of a presidency.

John F. Kennedy enjoyed the highest average approval after three months at 74 percent, but would go on to suffer the Bay of Pigs disaster at the three-month mark, generally regarded as his biggest misstep while president. Jimmy Carter enjoyed the third-highest initial approval rating at 69 percent, a figure that was slowly dragged down by surging inflation, high gas prices and the Iran hostage crisis, factors that ultimately led to his defeat seeking re-election.

Trump's standing in the Gallup average is consistent with Thursday's average of all approval rating polls compiled by the statistics site FiveThirtyEight.com, which lists Trump's approval rating at 42 percent.

If Trump is to improve his numbers, he will need to do so among his most skeptical critics, Democrats and independents. Much like his two immediate predecessors, Trump enjoys 87 percent approval among his own party. Barack Obama had a 90 percent approval rating among his fellow Democrats; George W. Bush had an 89 percent approval rating among Republicans.

Unlike other presidents, however, Trump's approval among members of the other major party are at a historic low. Nine percent of Democrats approve of Trump's job performance. That figure is 21 points lower than Obama's 30 percent approval rating from Republicans shortly after taking office.

Trump also lags behind among political independents, voters who do not identify with either party. He stands at 37 percent approval, 23 points behind Obama's 60 percent approval among critical swing voters.

Gallup's polling average for the three months from Jan. 20 to April 20 includes a 1 percentage point margin of error. The list only includes new presidents who began their term on Inauguration Day and does not include Harry Truman or Lyndon Johnson, whose terms began when they were sworn in after their predecessor's death.

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