WASHINGTON: Gallup survey data encompassing more than nineteen thousand adults finds that a lot of Americans like Donald Trump. Or at least the job he is doing. At 41.9 percent, President Donald Trump has achieved his highest approval rating in his sixth presidential quarter according to the Gallup poll.
The President is nothing if not consistent. Trump’s job approval was steady at 40 percent or higher each week during his sixth quarter. During the week of the president’s meeting on June 12 with North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un, he reached a personal approval high of 45 percent. His approval rating the first week of his presidency approval ratings were also at 45 percent.
Meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Trump criticized U.S. intelligence accounts of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. However, public confidence in the President, despite members of both parties being critical, was registering 42 percent the week of July 16-22.
However, according to the Gallup poll, Republicans voters’ approval of Trump was 88 percent during his sixth quarter. That compares with 36 percent among independents and 9 percent among Democrats. All party groups’ approval ratings were slightly higher in the sixth quarter than in the fifth quarter. According to the Gallup poll, these numbers include a three-percentage-point increase among independents. The increase was two points among Republicans and one point among Democrats.
President Trump and President Carter: Sixth Quarter approval contrast
Trump’s support is lower than any other president’s except Jimmy Carter. Like Trump, Presidents Reagan (44.2 percent), Clinton (46.1 percent) and Obama (47.3 percent) experienced below majority approval at the same point. Those three presidents, similar to Carter but unlike Trump, were serving during challenging economic times.
George W. Bush had the highest sixth-quarter average — 74.9 percent. This was likely due to the continuing rally in support of public leaders after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Comparative Q6 Presidential approval ratings from the recent Gallup poll
|Approve||Dates of sixth quarter||Number of polls|
|G.W. Bush||74.9||2002 April 20-July 19||12|
|Kennedy||71.3||1962 April 20-July 19||3|
|G.H.W. Bush||64.8||1990 April 20-July 19||5|
|Eisenhower||64.6||1954 April 20-July 19||5|
|Nixon||58.0||1970 April 20-July 19||4|
|Obama||47.3||2010 April 20-July 19||88|
|Clinton||46.1||1994 April 20-July 19||7|
|Reagan||44.2||1982 April 20-July 19||5|
|Trump||41.9||2018 April 20-July 19||13|
|Carter||41.8||1978 April 20-July 19||6|
Checking out the numbers
Notably, Trump is only the second elected president to see improvement in his approval ratings during his sixth quarter in office. (The first was President Nixon.) But that 2.8-point increase in Trump’s approval rating virtually doubled Nixon’s. (56.6 percent to 58 percent). However, Trump’s overall job approval hasn’t followed the usual trajectory. That’s at least one reason behind his rare ratings increase at this point.
Most prior presidents started their terms with high approval ratings. Yet most watched them gradually decline through their second year in office. On the other hand Trump’s presidency began with low approval ratings. But his approval has significantly improved more recently. This improvement is likely attributable to positive news on the economic front, namely much improved employment and business expansion numbers.
But remaining unmeasured in this or any other poll is a key X-factor: the increasing number of voters tuning out the clearly orchestrated barrage of negative news and phony stories the partisan media employs to smear Trump and his aides 24/7. This, plus the initial wave of hysterical leftists “protesting” Trump’s inauguration likely created the highly negative environment that underpinned the new President’s early ratings dive.
What happened to President Trump’s post-inaugural “honeymoon”?
Trump clearly enjoyed greater public support during his sixth quarter in office than he has overall to date. His numbers were helped by a strong economy and some historic, if not universally praised, meetings with leaders of rival nations. But the President’s ratings in general remain below those of his predecessors at similar points in their presidential terms.
One major reason stands out as to why Trump’s approval ratings have been comparatively worse than those of previous chief executives. Starting with the organized left’s violent and ugly protests in Washington on Inauguration Day, Trump enjoyed absolutely no “honeymoon” period during his first months in office.
Presidential honeymoons are largely fueled by above-average ratings from independents and supporters of the opposition party. But Trump’s initial approval ratings were pinned in the 30 percent range among independents and in single digits among Democrats.
That latter statistic is no surprise. The increasingly hard-left Democrat Party is still seething with rage after they lost the 2016 Presidential sweepstakes to a genuine outlier named Donald J. Trump. Seeking a one-party state since at least the time of Bush 2, they no longer recognize the legitimacy of any Republican duly elected to the presidency or any other key office for that matter.
Trump’s shocking defeat of Hillary Clinton, perhaps the weakest Democrat candidates in modern memory, also robbed the myth-remaking Democrats of their chance to elect the “first woman president” on the heels of electing their “first black president.”
Democrat-media hysteria takes its toll on job approval numbers
The Democrats’ continuing tantrum over 2016 has heavily influenced their most rabid #Resistance followers. Aided by a cadre of foolishly weak-kneed establishment Republican #NeverTrumpers, the Democrats’ illogic, name calling, lying and over all lack of decorum drives every news cycle, depriving Trump and his approval rating of the modest across-the-aisles support most new presidents can expect, at least at the outset of their initial term. To date, no national poll, including the current Gallup poll, has attempted to factor in this overwhelming media bias.
After the nonexistent honeymoon
By the sixth quarter in a presidential term and after the honeymoon period concludes, most modern presidents experienced a sharp drop in approval. Sixth-quarter presidents commonly fall to below majority-level approval levels. However, those modern presidents experiencing such drops were generally dealing with a struggling economy.
Trump managed to buck the historical trend by demonstrating an increase in popularity during his sixth quarter. But that increase proved only enough to allow Trump to essentially tie for the lowest sixth-quarter job approval rating among post-World War II elected presidents.
More numbers, more presidents
Presidents typically endure continuing declines in job approval during their seventh quarters in office. Carter, Reagan and Clinton had seventh-quarter averages similar to where Trump is polling now. Butt even if Trump’s approval ratings remain weak, they may not be as historically unprecedented as his earlier ratings were.
- Trump’s sixth quarter rating of 41.9 percent was up nearly three points from 39.1 percent in the fifth quarter. This is somewhat better than his first quarter 41.3 percent, his personal best.
- Trump’s job approval rating was 40 percent or higher each week during his sixth quarter.
- The president’s sixth quarter numbers hit a 45 percent high during the week of his June 12 summit with Kim Jong-Un.
What can we conclude?
Concluding with the usual caveat, the margin of error in this Gallup poll is estimated at plus or minus 1 percentage point.
An additional caveat: With the exception of Rasmussen, most major polling organizations historically over-sample Democrats in nearly every poll they take. This tends to skew the results, sometimes significantly.
By way of contrast, Rasmussen’s Presidential approval ratings for Wednesday differ from the recent Gallup poll. Considerably.
“The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows that 46% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Fifty-two percent (52%) disapprove.”
Compare this to Gallup’s 41.9 percent. Notably, Rasmussen’s polls traditionally represent a more realistic percentage of Republican voters. Further, Rasmussen’s numbers are based on likely voters, while most other polls are not. Polling likely voters historically tends to produce more accurate polling results.
Whether they like it or not, most voting Americans witnessed the spectacle of Donald Trump’s blowout 2016 electoral victory over Hillary Clinton. Virtually none of the national polling organizations came close to predicting this rout. Last-minute national polling on election day predicted a 95 percent chance of a Hillary Clinton victory.
Today, there is still no evidence that national pollsters have adjusted their methodologies since that collective 2016 polling debacle. Until they do, Americans will have to take Trump’s string of sub-par polling numbers with more than a grain of salt.