Donald Trump has faced a whirlwind of controversy in the last two weeks, including a tell-all interview from adult film star Stormy Daniels about their alleged affair — and yet his approval ratings only continue to rise.
An update released Monday by Rasmussen Reports found that Trump’s approval rating hit 50 percent among likely U.S. voters, with 49 percent disapproval. That is among the highest Trump has received since the start of his presidency, even as he has faced both personal and professional scandals.
As the daily tracking poll showed, Donald Trump has now surpassed Barack Obama at this point in his presidency. Obama’s approval was just below 50 percent in April of 2010, his 14th month in office.
The circumstances of both presidencies are very different. At just after the one-year mark in Barack Obama’s presidency, the U.S. economy was still mired in the effects of the Great Recession, and unemployment sat at just under 10 percent. The economy at this point in Trump’s presidency has been strong by comparison, with a streak of job growth dating back to Obama’s second year in office.
It is not clear if the Stormy Daniels scandal had any effect on Donald Trump’s approval ratings, but in the past American voters have shown little concern about personal scandals. As Gallup found, President Bill Clinton reached his highest-ever approval rating in the midst of impeachment hearings that arose from his testimony about an affair with intern Monica Lewinsky.
Along with the personal scandals Trump has also taken heat for his political stances, including his declaration on Easter morning that the DACA program is dead. But Trump has already shown to be somewhat impervious to scandals, weathering the revelation of the Access Hollywood video in the closing weeks of the election to pull off the surprising victory.
While the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll shows Donald Trump at 50 percent approval, others do not have him so high. An aggregate of all polls compiled by FiveThirtyEight shows that Trump’s approval is at 40.7 percent, roughly where it has been since settling in after the post-inauguration honeymoon period.
The FiveThirtyEight analysis finds that Donald Trump’s disapproval is at 53.7 percent.