Political News

Democrats really, really, really don't like Donald Trump

Posted July 20

Democrats are setting new records for just how much they don't like President Donald Trump.

Over the last six decades, new presidents have garnered an average 46% approval rating in Gallup polling from the opposing party during the first six months of their tenure.

For Donald Trump and the Democrats? 8%. Yes, that's single digits.

Since the dawn of modern public opinion polling, never has such a small percentage of an opposition party's backers said they approve of the sitting president during his first six months. And it's not even close.

Trump's lack of any kind of honeymoon period among Democrats is one of the chief reasons for his record-breaking low approval ratings. Even Barack Obama got 28% approval from Republicans in the first half of 2009 and George W. Bush got 30% approval from Democrats in the first six months of 2001.

That means more than three times as many Republicans supported Obama and Democrats supported Bush at this point than Republicans approve of Trump right now.

This chart below highlights the growing polarization over the last half century: opposition party supporters commonly gave majority approval to new presidents until the 1980s. It dropped off even more with Bill Clinton, but Trump has ushered in a whole new era of partisan splits.

The reason Trump's overall approval rating is so low doesn't have anything to do with his Republican support, which is very comparable to previous parties in power. Among Republicans, 86% approve of Trump during the first six months compared to 82% of the president's party since 1953.

And Trump has needed to rely on his own party more than his predecessor. Fifty-one percent of Obama approvers were Democrats in the first six months of 2009 compared to 57% of Trump approvers are Republicans now, according to Gallup data.

Republicans made up 13% of Obama approvers, but less than half that many (6%) of Trump approvers are Democrats now.

The chart above shows the relatively consistent support parties have given their president -- and Trump is no exception. (The notable low point is Gerald Ford, who took over after Richard Nixon resigned and then pardoned him.)

Today's Republicans and Democrats are in uncharted waters of polarization. The partisan split for Trump during his first six months in office is the broadest gap between the parties in decades of available polling -- nearly double the average for the first six months of a new president since the 1950s. A whopping 77 percentage points divide Republicans and Democrats in their approval of Trump during the first six months.

But Democrats aren't the only group setting record lows. The same goes for independents: only 36% of them approve of Trump -- far fewer than the 60% for Obama and 53% for Bush during their first six months. Only twice have independents not given majority approval to a brand new president during his first six months; 36% approve of Trump now and 44% approved of Clinton in 1993.

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