Trump’s approval ratings have been extraordinarily stable for nearly four years, ranging between the high 30s and high 40s. Trump’s rejection of the election results and the sacking of the Capitol, however, managed to do what a failed attempt to overturn Obamacare, the white supremacist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, impeachment and other scandals failed: sustained support for new lows.
Trump’s slide means he will leave the Oval Office historically unpopular compared to most of his predecessors. Rather than going out as a popular figure, Trump will join George W. Bush, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon as presidents, who by a large majority left office and disapproved of their job performance.
Trump, already despised by Democratic voters almost everywhere, comes largely from Republicans and independents. Three out of four self-identified GOP voters are still in favor of the work Trump does as president – 75 percent – but that’s less than 83 percent in the latest POLITICO / Morning Consult poll in 2020, conducted in December.
The decline among independents was similar: less than three in ten independent voters are now in favor of Trump – 29 percent after 38 percent in December.
The POLITICO / Morning Consult poll was conducted Jan. 8-11 as Congress prepared to initiate impeachment proceedings against Trump. The poll polled 1,996 registered voters online. The margin of error in the sample is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The same poll, in Results published Earlier this week, voters were divided over whether Congress should initiate impeachment proceedings in the final week of Trump’s presidency.
Other polls conducted since the violent uprising at the Capitol last week also show falling approval rates for Trump. In one Quinnipiac University survey On Monday, just 33 percent of voters approved the way Trump did his job as president, up from 44 percent the previous month. A PBS NewsHour / Marist College poll, which was conducted the day after the Capitol attack showed that Trump’s approval rating among all Americans was 38 percent, a 5 point decrease from December.
However, national polls underestimated Trump’s performance in the national elections, which he lost 4 percentage points after falling 7 points on the RealClearPolitics average and 8 points on the FiveThirtyEight average.
However, last week’s most recent polls all show a significant drop in support for Trump from previous measurements – with one notable exception: the Rasmussen reports. The Republican automated pollster, who has typically scored better results for Trump, has shown that the president’s approval ratings have been virtually unaffected by events over the past week. (Rasmussen’s Twitter account last month shared some of the discredited election conspiracies that fueled the pro-Trump demonstrations last week, including one that notoriously quoted the Soviet despot Joseph Stalin.)
Trump’s final approval rating is far from set in light of the Congress sprint to indict him in the final week of his presidency. But he’s ready to go under after retiring as one of the least popular presidents.
Barack Obama’s approval rating rose in the final weeks of his presidency following Trump’s angry 2016 election victory RealClearPolitics averageObama’s approval rating was 57 percent, up about 5 points between the election and Trump’s inauguration in January 2017.
Trump will likely move closer to Bush’s final ratings: 34 percent in the final Gallup poll – the best historical record for the approval of the modern president – and 29 percent in the closing RealClearPolitics average.
But Bush’s father, George H.W. Bush, the last president to be ousted by voters after a term in office, recovered after the election in ways Trump did not. Gallup said the senior Bush’s approval rating was just 32 percent ahead of the 1992 election, but 56 percent in the final poll before Bill Clinton took office.
Clinton and Ronald Reagan both finished the Gallup poll with 63 percent approval ratings. Trump’s presidency ends more like Carter’s, with the Georgian’s final approval rating prior to the Oval Office cession to Reagan being 34 percent.
No president has left office more unpopular than Nixon, who had an approval rating of 24 percent in the last Gallup poll before he stepped down in August 1974. But the simple Republicans had turned on Nixon more than Trump. In this latest Gallup poll, 38 percent of Republicans disapproved of Nixon’s job performance, compared to 23 percent who disapproved of Trump in the new POLITICO / Morning Consult poll.
Morning Consult is a global data intelligence company that delivers real-time insights into people’s mindsets by interviewing tens of thousands around the world every day.
Further details on the survey and its methodology can be found in these two documents: Toplines | Crosstabs