President Trump has set a couple of records since taking office. Unfortunately for him, they’re not the kind of records that any president would be proud of setting.
In January, Trump had the lowest inaugural approval rating — 45 percent — of any new president. On Friday, Gallup revealed that he also has the lowest second quarter approval rating of any elected president.
Trump’s average approval rating during his second quarter in office — April 20 through July 19 — was just 38.8 percent, down nearly three points from his first quarter average, which was 41.3 percent.
As the screenshot below indicates, most of Trump’s predecessors were still enjoying the honeymoon phase at the end their second quarters. Presidents John Kennedy and Dwight Eisenhower had approval ratings of over 70 percent, while several others, including Barack Obama, had approval ratings above 60 percent. Only Bill Clinton, at 44 percent, had an approval rating somewhat comparable to Trump’s.
Out of all 287 presidential quarters that Gallup has assessed since 1945, Trump’s second quarter ranks 250th. That ranking places his second quarter in the 13th percentile of all presidential quarters. Only 12 percent of quarters have been worse — mainly from the presidencies of Harry Truman, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, and George W. Bush.
Trump’s second-quarter approval rating appears to have been affected mostly by his abrupt firing of former FBI Director James Comey. His approval rating stayed primarily in the low 40 percent range until Comey’s firing on May 9. It then stayed in the high 30 percent range for the remainder of the quarter, with the exception of a brief jump to 41 percent following the terror attack in Manchester, England.
Gallup also attributes Trump’s historically low approval ratings to extreme polarization between Democrats and Republicans. In his second quarter, Trump averaged 85 percent approval among Republicans (down two points from his first quarter) and just 8 percent among Democrats (down one point from his first quarter). He averaged 34 percent among independents (down three points from his first quarter).
While Gallup did acknowledge that it “may be premature to compare Trump’s six-month ratings to other presidents’ full-term ratings,” pollsters also noted that Trump is “on pace to register the lowest approval rating for a president over a full term.” This distinction is currently held by Presidents Truman and Carter, who both had 45 percent approval ratings.
Featured Image via Olivier Douliery – Pool/Getty Images.