Donald Trump’s approval rating among Republican voters is 87 percent, according to FiveThirtyEight, and his approval rating among voters of all political persuasions is steadier than that of any president since approval polling became a thing.
The most recent Gallup poll shows Trump’s approval rating among respondents who identified as Republicans at 87 percent. By contrast, only eight percent of self-identified Democrats approve of the president’s job. That is the highest gap ever recorded between the two parties when it comes to the approval of a sitting president, giving credence to the notion that Trump is the most polarizing president in recent history.
But there’s an even deeper truth behind those numbers, says FiveThirtyEight writer Geoffrey Skelley. Since approval polling began in the Harry S. Truman administration, with a median approval rating that has consistently hovered between 36 and 45 percent, Trump’s median approval rating has the least variation of any president post-World War II.
Obama came close, but his approval rating, like that of all post-WWII presidents, is skewed favorably by what Skelley calls a “honeymoon period,” a high approval rating early in his presidency. Trump never had such a honeymoon period, having racked up low approval ratings almost since the day of his inauguration.
Trump’s highest-ever approval rating came in at 59 percent, the lowest since Truman.
The numbers also reveal that Trump’s median approval rating, 42 percent, is the second-lowest of any president since Truman. Truman himself had the lowest median approval rating of all presidents, 39 percent. John F. Kennedy had the highest, 72 percent.
Skelley notes that Trump, unlike other post-WWII presidents, excluding Kennedy, has not yet served a full term, so things could change dramatically, for better or for worse, before he is out of office.
“Since spending more time in office means a president has higher odds of serving during an event that could dramatically affect his approval ratings — economic instability or an unpopular military operation that could send opinion sharply downward, for example, or the end of a war, or the aftermath of a terrorist attack, which could cause approval to spike.”
Other polling suggests some slightly better news for Trump, however obliquely. As the Washington Examiner reports, seven in 10 poll respondents who self-identified as Republican say the recently-concluded Mueller probe was a “witch hunt,” a phrase Trump himself has used to describe the investigation. Only 18 percent of Republicans responded that the probe was “legitimate.”