Donald Trump Claims 52 Percent Approval Rating, But That’s Actually Closer To His Disapproval Rating

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Donald Trump’s overall approval rating continued to dip over the last week, remaining at historic lows, worse than all but two of the previous 12 presidents since the first presidential approval ratings were taken in 1945. But Trump nonetheless took to his Twitter account at about 8 a.m. on Sunday morning to boast about what he claimed was his approval rating of 52 percent — a number he has not reached in any major approval poll for almost five weeks.

“Such one sided media coverage, most of it Fake News,” Trump wrote, in the midst of a multi-tweet complaint about the allegations against him of collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election. “Hard to believe I won and am winning. Approval Rating 52%, 93% with Republicans. Sorry! #MAGA”

A look at Trump’s approval rating in the statistical average of all polls compiled by the political data site FiveThirtyEight.com reveals that Trump’s quoted “52 percent” approval number appears nowhere in any recent poll. But the number is closer to Trump’s average disapproval rating.

In the FiveThirtyEight.com average, Trump shows a disapproval rating of 53.7 percent as of March 17. At the same time, Trump’s average approval rating is 41.4 percent, putting Trump “underwater” by 12.3 percentage points.

The individual poll most consistently favoring Trump has been the Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll, but even that Trump-friendly poll has not shown Trump at 52 percent approval since February 11.

The most recent Rasmussen poll puts Trump at 48 percent approval — though only 38 percent register “strong approval” or Trump’s job performance in office. By contrast, the latest Gallup poll measuring Trump’s approval rating shows just 39 percent of Americans approving of him, which equals his average since his inauguration on January 20, 2017.

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Past United States presidents in the Gallup approval poll have averaged an approval rating of 53 percent. In the FiveThirtyEight.com average, only Ronald Reagan at 41.4 percent and Jimmy Carter at 38.4 percent have shown lower approval ratings at the same point in their terms — 787 days in.

While Trump in his Sunday tweet said that it was “hard to believe” that he won the 2016 presidential election, according to recent polling data from Morning Consult it will be hard to believe that Trump is in line to win the 2020 presidential election. Not only does his overall approval rating stand at just 42 percent in that poll, Morning Consult also shows that Trump’s approval is seriously underwater in several important “swing” states.

In 2016, while Trump lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, he won the Electoral College by taking narrow victories in three key states: Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania. According to an analysis by the online magazine The Daily Beast, those states will likely play important roles in 2020 as well.

But according to the Morning Consult polling, opinion has turned strongly against Trump in those three states, sitting underwater in all three. In Michigan, Trump’s net approval — the difference between his approval and disapproval ratings — is -15 percent, while in Wisconsin, Trump is underwater by 14 points. In Pennsylvania, Trump is doing somewhat better, underwater by just seven percentage points.