Donald Trump Approval Rating: President Losing Support After Chaotic Week

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After a chaotic week in Washington, President Donald Trump‘s approval ratings have only continued to slide since he fired FBI Director James Comey. A new poll published on May 19 from Politico and Morning Consult showed Trump with just a 41 percent approval rating, the lowest approval in that poll since Trump took office. Fifty-three percent of those polled disapprove of Trump’s performance.

Since the poll was conducted between May 16 and May 18, it shows that bombshell reports from The New York Times and Washington Post have hurt his administration’s standing with the American people. For example, the poll showed that most Americans are not confident at all with Trump handling highly classified information after a Post report that Trump handed classified intelligence to Russian diplomats in a closed-door Oval Office meeting on May 10.

Here’s a look at the latest Trump approval ratings.

Latest Trump Approval Polls

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Date Polling Firm Approval Rating Disapproval Rating
May 16-18 Morning Consult/Politico 41 53
May 16-18 Rasmussen 44 56
May 15-17 Gallup 38 56
May 13-17 Monmouth University 39 53
May 13-16 YouGov/Economist 39 51

As these recent polls show, poll respondents do not approve of Trump’s current job performance. Even the latest Rasmussen poll, which has been accused of being biased towards Republicans and conservative causes in the past, is close to the average of the above five most recent polls. The approval rating average of the latest polls from Morning Consult/Politico, Rasmussen, Gallup, Monmouth University and YouGov/Economist is 40.2 percent.

Trump is doing far worse than his two most recent predecessors. Four months into his first term, President Barack Obama still had approval ratings hovering in the 60-percent range in the Gallup poll. It wasn’t until August 2010 that Gallup’s poll showed more Americans disapproving of Obama’s performance (52 percent) than approving (41). Even President George W. Bush had an approval rating in the 50-percent range at this point in his first term in the Gallup poll.

Short-Term Trend

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Trump’s approval rating has continued to slide since the firing of firing of Comey. Although Trump has always been unpopular in these polls, the gap between those who approve and those who disapprove of his performance has only begun to widen. However, the most recent polls are not that far off from the first polls taken after Comey’s firing, showing that recent revelations in the press haven’t overwhelmingly changed the public’s perception of Trump.

For example, FiveThirtyEight‘s poll average for May 13 – before the report that Trump showed classified information to Russian diplomats – shows Trump’s approval average at 41.1 percent. That’s only 1.8 percent off from the up-to-date 39.3 percent average there.

The HuffPost Pollster approval average is at 40.1 percent as of May 17. The average on May 9, using polls taken just before the Comey firing, averaged 41.9 percent there. Since then, the HuffPo average has only seen a decline in Trump’s approval rating. The approval rating average at RealClear Politics is 39.7 percent as of May 18.

The recent polls do show that the ongoing investigation into Russia’s influence on the 2016 presidential election, including the possibility of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign, continue to sway the public’s view of the administration. Concerns of a link between Russia and Trump have dogged the billionaire real estate mogul since the election. The Monmouth University poll from May 18 shows that 51 percent of respondents are concerned that Trump is too friendly towards Russia. Thirty-nine percent of respondents told Monmouth that they were “concerned a lot” by Trump’s friendliness towards Russia.

The Politico/Morning Consult poll also shows that Americans are paying close attention to every development related to Trump and Russia. Of those polled, 84 percent said they had heard or read “a lot” or “some” about Trump’s meeting with the Russian diplomats on May 10.

Long Term Trend

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As previously noted, Trump hasn’t had approval ratings averages better than his disapproval ratings averages since very early in his term. The HuffPo average for just three days into his administration showed that he had a 44 percent approval rating average, compared to a 42.9 disapproval rating average. Since then, it’s been downhill and the gap has widened.

Since the beginning of May, Trump’s approval rating averages began to tumble even further. The FiveThirtyEight polling average for May 3 showed Trump with a average approval rating of 42.4 percent. Since then, the average approval rating dropped 3.5 percent. The first time the site showed Trump’s approval rating average at below 40 percent was on May 16.

As FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver observed on May 15, Trump’s approval rating has dropped by about one point a month. If that trend continues, his approval rating could drop below 30 percent by Spring 2018. His approval rating charts could look similar to President George W. Bush’s during his second term.

Earlier in the week, Silver noted that the idea that 40 percent is the floor for Trump’s approval rating isn’t convincing. As we’ve already seen this week, polls are already showing him with a sub-40 percent approval rating. Silver notes that some polls show only 20 to 25 percent of respondents “strongly” support Trump.

Betting Markets

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At PredictWise, David Rothschild takes the data from betting markets and converts them into percentages to figure out the odds of Trump leaving office before his first four-year term is finished. The odds have not changed much in the past few days. The site still shows that the odds of Trump leaving office in 2017 are 20 percent and the odds of him leaving in 2018 are also 20 percent. The odds of him leaving in 2019 are 12 percent. Clearly, the thought is that there is a strong chance Trump will either leave early (perhaps before the Congressional midterm elections in 2018) or complete his term. PredictWise shows odds that the odds of Trump staying in office until 2020 or later is 49 percent.

These numbers should be taken with a grain of salt though, as Rothschild’s site did show that the odds of Hillary Clinton beating Trump in November were 89 percent.

Other Notable Polls

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Donald Trump with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

The Politico/Morning Consult poll features several questions specifically about the May 15 report from the Washington Post that Trump shared highly classified information with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak during an Oval Office meeting the day after he fired Comey. It was later revealed that the source of the information was Israel, which has been concerned about sharing information with Trump.

Of the 1,970 registered voters who responded to Politico’s poll, 22 percent still said they were “very confident” in Trump’s ability to handle highly classified information on national security. But 41 percent were “not confident at all.” Only 25 percent are “very confident” in Trump’s ability to keep the U.S. safe from terrorists, while 36 percent are “not confident at all.”

Notably, 58 percent of respondents said it was “inappropriate” for Trump to share the information, even though Trump said he had the “absolute right” to share the information with the Russians. The poll also found that 54 percent of respondents do not think Trump is trustworthy and 60 percent think he is reckless.