President Trump reached a new low on FiveThirtyEight’s job-approval tracker this week, when his approval rating hit 41.3 percent. It’s a low for Trump, but how good or bad is a 41 percent approval rating two months into a president’s tenure in historical terms? To help put Trump’s ratings in perspective, we’ve added a new section to our tracker: Charts for each of the previous 12 presidents, showing approval, disapproval and net approval ratings compared with Trump’s at the same point in their presidencies.
We’ve included every president back to Harry Truman — the first commander in chief for whom we have approval polls starting near the beginning of his administration. As with our calculation of Trump’s approval ratings, the ratings for past presidents are based on all the legitimate polls we can find — surveys from pollsters with higher-quality methodologies and better records of accuracy count more. Polls are also adjusted for house effects. Unlike Trump’s approval ratings, we won’t be doing separate calculations for different subgroups, such as likely or registered voters, for the past administrations; the data shown is for all polls.
So what’s the answer to our opening question? Trump’s current rating is a low not just for Trump’s presidency so far, but also for this point in any recent presidency. We’re on day 69 of the Trump administration, and his net approval rating — -11.1 — is by far the lowest of any of the past 13 presidents at this point.