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The Highs and Lows of Donald Trump’s Approval Rating

During the weeks leading up to the Mueller report release, President Donald Trump experienced the highest approval ratings of his presidency.

The most recent Gallup poll, conducted between April 17 and 30, put Trump’s rating at a high of 46%—a one percentage point increase from his previously held high of 45%, when he first took office.

Trump’s lowest approval rating, according to Gallup, was 35%, which it hit four times in 2017.

Here’s a look at how the American people’s opinion of the president has varied over the course of his 840 days in office.

First Month in Office: 45%

Trump entered the White House with good standing, as far as his subsequent record is concerned. At the end of January 2017, Gallup put his approval rating at 45%, a rating he has since seen only twice and surpassed once.

While that number has proven to be a relative high for Trump, it marked an all-time inaugural low as compared to presidents of years past. According to Gallup, Trump is the first president since it began polling presidential approval ratings, to “receive an initial job approval rating below the majority level” and the highest disapproval rating of 45%.

All-Time Lows: 35%

Trump’s approval ratings dropped over the course of his first year as president, and by the end of 2017, Trump averaged an overall 38.4% job approval rating—more than 10 percentage points lower than any of his predecessors. Gallup notes that unlike previous presidents, Trump had “little or no honeymoon period to speak of,” as his ratings started low and rapidly declined.

Trump saw his lowest-ever approval rating of 35% a total of four times: in late August 2017, late October 2017, late November/early December 2017, and again in mid-December 2017. These lows were punctuated by the Charlottesville protests, former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn pleading guilty to lying to the FBI, and negotiations surrounding the tax reform bill, as well as Trump’s December retweet of anti-Muslim videos, among other events.

Current events aside, Trump’s low ratings could also be attributed to Democrats’ strong disapproval. In Gallup’s August 2017 poll, for example, approval ratings among Democrats were just 7%. Gallup notes that although polarization makes single-digit approval ratings more common, what is uncommon is how early in Trump’s presidency he saw these figures.

Obama didn’t register single-digit approval ratings from Republicans until nearly two years into his first term, while Bush saw his approval ratings amongst Democrats drop to the single-digits in his fourth year in office. Trump, on the other hand, saw an approval rating of just 8% among Democrats by his second full week in the White House.

But Republicans appear to remain somewhat steadfast in their approval of Trump. In every instance in which his overall approval rating dropped to 35%, approval among Republicans was at 78%.

All-Time High: 46%

It wasn’t until his second full year in office that Trump regained some of his footing, reaching the 45% mark again in June 2018. The jump corresponded with the relatively successful, high-profile meetings held with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

And while Democrats in Congress are not yet ready to accept the purported conclusions of the Mueller Report, it appears that the American public feels otherwise—or else the strength of the economy is giving them enough reason to hold their president in higher esteem. Trump’s approval rating steadily climbed in April 2019, from 45% to 46%, and hit a near-historic high of 91% among Republicans.

Even approval by Democrats broke the single digits in the most recent poll, climbing to 12%.

While these instances have marked a high for Trump, they pale in comparison to the average approval ratings for other presidents at similar points in their presidencies. Even the current high of 46% is lower than the overall average for U.S. presidents of 53% and their average in the 10th quarter of 54%. Despite this, Trump has surpassed his predecessor in this timeframe, if ever so slightly: President Barack Obama in April of his third year saw an approval rating of 44%.

Thus far, investigations, scandals, and indictments among members of his administration have not seemed to stick to Trump for very long. If the economy remains strong and Congressional investigations don’t rattle the newly-found faith in Trump among some Americans, he may begin to see this approval ratings continue to ascend.

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