For the first six weeks following Donald Trump's inauguration, one poll — Rasmussen Reports — showed him with a positive approval rating every single day, at a time when Trump was setting records in many other polls and polling averages for his historically low approval numbers. However, over the past week, even the once-friendly Rasmussen poll has turned against Trump.
On March 8, for the first time, Rasmussen Reports showed more than half of all American voters expressing disapproval of Trump's job performance — and on Tuesday, Trump hit his lowest point in that poll, with 53 percent saying that they disapprove of Trump, and only 46 percent giving him a thumbs-up.
The Rasmussen poll samples only "likely voters," which may play a role in skewing the poll in a pro-Republican direction.
By contrast, the Gallup presidential approval rating poll is based on a representative sample of all adult Americans, regardless of whether they are likely to vote, or even if they vote at all.
Gallup has shown Trump's approval rating underwater since January 26, less than a full week after the inauguration. As of Tuesday, the Gallup poll shows a whopping 55 percent disapproval rating for Trump with only 39 percent of Americans saying that they approve of the job Trump has done so far in the Oval Office.
Trump's predecessor, President Barack Obama — a Democrat, fared much better in the Republican-leaning Rasmussen poll in the early days of his presidency. On March 14 of 2009, Obama's approval rating according to Rasmussen stood at a healthy 57 percent, with just 41 percent disapproval.
The last time Rasmussen showed Trump's approval as high at 57 percent was on January 26 — the height of his popularity according to both Rasmussen and Gallup — when he scored a 59 percent positive rating against 41 percent disapproval.
But the erosion since then has been steep, with Trump losing 13 points of his approval rating in the Rasmussen poll. In other words, more than one of every five "likely voters" who said they approved of Trump on January 26 now say they no longer do.
The Gallup poll on Tuesday on Monday also published a report breaking down Trump's approval and disapproval ratings by the race, gender and education levels of Americans.
According to the Gallup findings, Trump's strongest base of support comes from white men who do not possess college degrees, with two out of every three in that group, 67 percent, saying they approve of Trump's performance. But Trump is also popular among all white men, regardless of education level, with 60 percent support.
Trump also boasts 60 percent approval among whites of both genders who did not graduate from college.
The groups who disapprove most strongly of Trump, according to Gallup, are black Americans of either gender, who register an anemic 13 percent approval rating of Trump. Non-white female Americans come in a close second, at just 14 percent approval of Trump.
The data-journalism site FiveThirtyEight.com offers statistical adjustments to each poll designed to correct for bias in favor of either the Republican or Democratic parties. Adjusting for Republican bias, according to the site, the Rasmussen poll would show Trump at 53 percent disapproval, an unchanged number, but only 41 percent approval. That's five points lower than the number in the actual poll.
FiveThirtyEight.com also adjusts for a slight Democratic bias in the Gallup poll, ending up with a 53 percent disapproval number for Trump, two points lower than the actual poll, and 40 percent disapproval — which is one point higher than Gallup's reported result.
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