Trump’s Poll Numbers Aren’t Great In This Republican-Leaning Survey, But He’s Bragging About Them Anyway
On Tuesday, tweeting from the Philippines, President Trump raved about his approval rating in a poll that any another commander-in-chief probably would not be so thrilled about. But for him, it was definitely a good result: a new survey from Rasmussen, a historically Republican-leaning pollster, found 46 percent of respondents approve of his job as president so far, and 39 percent of them strongly approve of his work. On the other hand, the poll found the majority of respondents, 53 percent, disapprove of his job so far, with 45 percent of strongly disapproving.
This is not new behavior for Trump, who has a habit of boasting about favorable polls while he either ignores, attacks, or accuses polls with more negative results of being rigged against him. He hasn't had too many opportunities to do this since the 2016 presidential race came to an end, however, since his approval ratings as president have been historically low.
The Rasmussen poll Trump's so enthusiastic about is also an outlier. As RealClearPolitics details, an average of the 11 most recent polls measuring Trump's approval rating puts him at about 38 percent. Only one of those 10 other recent polls put his approval rating in the 40s, and even then just barely ― an Economist/YouGov poll from last week placed him right at 40 percent approval, with 55 percent of respondents disapproving of his job as president.
This latest result from Rasmussen's daily tracking poll is also far from being Trump's high-water mark. That came immediately following his inauguration, when the historically conservative-leaning pollster found his approval rating was in the high 50s. The only time Trump actually dipped below 40 percent in Rasmussen's daily tracking poll came in late July and early August.
Yet Gallup's daily tracker poll has found Trump's approval rating has been below 40 percent since Sept. 29, and has only ever found his approval rating as high as 46 percent once, four days after being sworn into office. In short, there's a pretty wide gap between the average approval numbers Rasmussen has found for Trump and what all the other pollsters have found― polling site FiveThirtyEight grades Rasmussen a C+, with 79 percent of races called correctly, and rates the pollsters as having an average Republican lean of two points.
California Rep. Eric Swalwell took a shot at Trump over that self-satisfied tweet, accusing him of acting like a child who wants a flunking report card posted on the refrigerator. Although, to be fair to Trump, approval ratings don't track whatsoever with letter grades; by that standard, an elected official with a 60 percent approval rating, which is by any measure excellent in this day and age, would still be in the D range.
By that same standard, for example, former President Obama would have averaged an F for his presidency, although he would've been close to a D- by the time he left office with a 59 percent approval rating. Now, in his post-presidency, Obama's managed to creep above a 60 percent approval rating, which, again, is a pretty impressive feat in our harshly polarized times. The last president to average an approval rating greater than 50 percent over two terms in office was Bill Clinton, who clocked in at 55 percent, compared to Obama's 47 percent average.
However you want to slice it, though, Trump's poll numbers have been pretty awful throughout the first ten months of his presidency. He's posted lower approval ratings more quickly than any other president in the history of modern American political polling. On Tuesday, a Quinnipiac poll found his approval rating at 35 percent, more than ten points lower than what Rasmussen found, and a mere two points above his lowest approval rating in any Quinnipiac poll, which was 33 percent back in early August. Of course, these aren't the polls he's been bragging about to millions of his followers on Twitter.