Political News

Americans' opinions of Trump are fully baked, in one chart

Posted October 3

— Everyone has an opinion of President Donald Trump --- and they're sticking to it.

The President's approval rating has remained in a narrow 10 percentage point window for his entire first nine months in office, the smallest range for new presidents in almost a half century.

Trump kicked off his presidency at a 45% approval rating during his first week, sinking slightly over his term so far to the high 30s, where it's remained mostly steady since May, according to a CNN analysis of weekly approval numbers from Gallup.

The numbers show just how baked in Americans' approval (or disapproval) of Donald Trump is. His approval rating among Democrats has remained mired at historic lows, while Republicans have consistently maintained their strong support for his White House.

A separate poll found that six in 10 people who approve of Trump (and disapprove of Trump) say they can't imagine anything he could do to make them change their minds.

Approval ratings historically have experienced some turbulence during their first nine months, as honeymoon periods wear off and presidents face the first tests of their tenures.

Barack Obama's approval sank from two-thirds of Americans to half in this time span. George W. Bush's spiked after the 9/11 terrorist attacks --- a broad 39-point swing. Bill Clinton's fell 22 points over his first several months to a low in June.

In fact, Trump's approval rating window marks the third narrowest in data stretching back to the 1940s -- wider than only Richard Nixon and Lyndon B. Johnson.

Not to mention, most presidents see some significant movement among independents -- the most volatile group -- in the first nine months. The last seven presidents have experienced at least a 20-point swing among independents to this point, but Trump's approval among independents has remained in just a 13-point range.

The consistency in Trump's approval rating, however, comes amid a mixed first nine months for his White House; strong economic numbers have combined with derailed major legislative priorities and battles with his own party, the National Football League and the intelligence community.

A few other cool insights from this chart:

Notice the polarization by party over time as the red and blue bars move farther and farther apart, especially from Jimmy Carter to Trump, with the exception of George W. Bush in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

You can also see how low approval numbers from Democrats are unprecedented --- even the number Trump's gotten from Democrats this year is lower than the opposition party for all presidents in the last half century. I wrote more about that here.

Indeed, on average, the approval rating for a president among the opposing party has shifted 25 points in the first nine months. Trump's approval among Democrats has remained in just a 7-point range.

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