Historically, presidents are the most popular in the first weeks after taking office. But since Gallup began tracking the numbers, no president has earned such low early approval ratings as Donald Trump. If this is Trump’s high water mark, he is in serious trouble.
Despite the administration’s insistence to the contrary, the newest Gallup Poll shows that Donald Trump, less than one month into his term in office, has earned a profoundly and singularly negative reputation.
With an approval rating of only 41 percent, Trump is bested by any president in recent history: Barack Obama started out with a 66 percent approval rating, George W. Bush with 58 percent, and Bill Clinton with 64 percent. Even going back to Harry S. Truman in 1945, every new president received approval ratings in the 50s or higher. Trump has the distinction of being the only president to start off in the red.
As the above chart shows, most presidents do not improve their approval ratings over time, and tend to receive the best numbers during their first 100 days in office — part of the reason why there is such a focus by the media on that particular time period, and on what a new president attempts to accomplish during it.
Trump, on the other hand, is starting with such a low approval rating that he cannot claim a mandate — no matter how much he may wish to — and he does not have much room to fall. But that historical precedent suggests that 41 percent may be as good as it gets for Trump.
With so much of the country disapproving of his job as president thus far, and with the resistance continuing to grow across the country, it is highly likely that Trump’s numbers will sink even lower, to ratings never before seen. As it is, he is already off to the worst start in the history of the Gallup Poll.