KEY POINTS

  • Trump's approval rating has hovered between 40% and 43% over the course of his presidency
  • A RealClearPolitics average of recent polls indicates 10% more voters disapprove of Trump's job performance than approve
  • Trump does not appear to have gotten any sympathy bump from his bout with COVID-19

President Donald Trump appears to have been denied a sympathy vote after his hospitalization due to COVID-19 as an average of recent polls indicate a net disapproval rating of 10 percentage points.

The White House announced on Oct. 2 that Trump had been diagnosed with COVID-19, a provocative development after Trump's overall dismissive comments about a virus that has killed more than 216,000 Americans since March.

Right-leaning Rasmussen Reports’ daily Trump Approval Index indicated Wednesday that 47% of the 500 likely voters queried nightly said they approved of Trump’s job performance compared to 51% who said they disapproved. The approval rating has remained steady though the disapproval rating has fallen 2 points since Oct. 2.

An Economist-YouGov poll indicated a much wider spread among the 1,496 adults queried Sunday through Tuesday. The poll showed that Trump had a 42% approval rating and a 57% disapproval rating. 

A Politico-Morning Consult poll taken Friday through Sunday indicated 44% of the 1,986 registered voters queried approved of Trump’s job performance while 53% disapproved. The poll indicated approval of Trump was strongest among rural voters while his disapproval ratings were highest among suburbanites. 

The polls released Wednesday were consistent with other recent polls.

A CNN poll conducted Oct. 1-4 indicated a 17-point spread between approval and disapproval (40% approved; 57% disapproved). An Oct. 2-4 poll from CNBC indicated a 10-point negative spread, while a Reuters poll conducted from Oct. 2-6 indicated a 13-point negative spread.

It's unclear how much Trump's positive test for COVID-19 will impact the public's perceptions. Cailin Birch of The Economist Intelligence Unit told CNBC the electorate is just too entrenched at this point for any issue to make much of a difference.

“Just to look back at [Trump’s] approval ratings from the entirety of his first term, to go through personal scandal, impeachment, robust economic growth and then a severe economic crisis — with differing opinions on how he has handled it — his public opinion rating has stayed almost fixed at between 40% to 43% of survey respondents,” Birch said.

“He is uniquely immune to changes in the political-economic spectrum, and I’m not sure this is going to be anything different, to be honest.”

The RealClearPolitics average of polls indicates Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a 9 point lead over Trump among voters, 51% to 42%.