KEY POINTS

  • FiveThirtyEight has tracked Trump's approval rating since day one of his presidency
  • At day 1,138 (March 2), Trump' approval stood at 43.2% versus a 52.7%  disapproval
  • Based on historical experience, every incumbent with a rating of 48% or lower lost his re-election bid

Legitimate pollsters have long said a U.S. president’s job approval rating can be predictive of his re-election chances. The stark reality facing every re-electionist president is this: every incumbent with an approval rating of 49% or higher won re-election, while every candidate with a rating of 48% or lower lost.

And what's president Donald Trump's approval rating? According to the presidential approval tracker of FiveThirtyEight, which summarizes five polls from three other respected polling firms, Trump's approval rating on March 2 (or day 1,138 of his presidency) stood at only 43.2%. In contrast, 52.7% disapprove of his job performance as president. The adjusted March 1 poll from Morning Consult shows Trump with 41% approval and 57% disapproval. A Feb. 26 to March 1 poll from Rasmussen Reports/Pulse Opinion Research reveals a 40% approval and 54% disapproval, while a YouGov poll shows the ratio as 42% to 52%. The right-wing Rasmussen Reports is Trump's favorite polling firm because its polls are in his favor compared to other polls.

Trump is the only president with consistently unpopular job ratings since he took office. A poll taken Jan. 23, 2017, or only three days after he took office as president, shows Trump with a disapporoval rating of 41.3% and an approval rating of 45.5%. Not once since this time has Trump's approval rating exceeded his disapproval ratings in all the FiveThirtyEight polls.

Without question, Trump is the most unpopular president since Ford to run for reelection, noted the data. Ford lost his re-election bid to Jimmy Carter. At day 1,138 of his presidency, Barack Obama had an approval rating of 47.3%. He won re-election in 2008.

The data noted that on January 1 this year, 42.6% of Americans approved of Trump’s job performance while 52.9% disapproved. It said this was "a pretty typical number for Trump" but also emphasized it was the second-lowest FiveThirtyEight average approval rating of any recent president on the first day of their re-election year. Only Ford (39.3% on Jan. 1, 1976) was less popular.

Trump's approval rating also pales in comparison to other U.S. presidents. At day 1,138, George W. Bush had a 48.7% approval rating, Bill Clinton had 53.9%, Ronald Reagan at 55.3%, Jimmy Carter at 56.7%, Richard Nixon had 53.4%, Lyndon Johnson at 44.2% and Dwight D. Eisenhower at 75% to Trump's 43.2%. 

US President Donald Trump says there is "no reason to panic" over the novel coronavirus US President Donald Trump says there is "no reason to panic" over the novel coronavirus Photo: AFP / Roberto SCHMIDT