Trump ends his term with the lowest average job approval rating
— 41% — of any president in the last seven-plus decades
, according to Gallup
. That’s four points worse than the next
— Harry Truman
, who averaged a
45% job approval score throughout his time in office
. Barack Obama averaged
47.9% job approval in his eight years
, while George W
. Bush averaged
There are other “firsts” for Trump in the Gallup data. Trump is the first president to never break 50% job approval in any single poll conducted by the organization over his term. (The final Gallup poll pegged Trump’s job approval at a dismal 34%.) Trump is also the most polarizing president as measured by Gallup; the average gap between his job approval ratings among Republicans and Democrats was a whopping 81 points — 11 points higher than Obama’s partisan gap, which is now the second-highest ever. (Trump’s average job approval rating among Democrats for his term was 7%.)
“Trump leaves office as the least-positively evaluated president in the Gallup polling era
, based on the average of his approval ratings
,” concludes Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones
. “He also just received his personal low approval rating
, thanks largely to a sharp decline in public support during a lame-duck period marked by controversy
, which could overshadow his accomplishments.
And these findings tend to presage bad news for presidential legacies. As Jones writes of Trump’s 34% approval rating in the last Gallup poll of his presidency: “The significance of Trump’s final rating could be more important than his average, as the former is the one that is often most predictive of how presidents are regarded historically.”
As I noted last week
, early indicators about where Trump’s presidency will land on the best/worst scale suggest that he will be at or near the bottom
. One prominent survey of political historians placed Trump dead last among the
; the other had him third from last
, behind only Andrew Johnson and James Buchanan
This will all bother Trump. Hugely.
He has long been obsessed with where he will stand among his fellow presidents
, often offering up his own rankings
— in which he
, fares quite well
. “It is much easier to act presidential than what we are doing here tonight
, believe me
,” Trump told a crowd in 2017
. “With the exception of the late
, great Abraham Lincoln
, I can be more presidential than any president that’s ever held this office.
He has also
, joked about being added to Mount Rushmore one day
. “Every single president on Mt
— I’d ask whether or not you think I will someday be on Mt
,” Trump said in 2017.
“But here’s the problem
: If I did it
, totally joking
, the fake news media would say he believes he should be on Mt
. So I won’t say it.
(Narrator voice: Él did say it.)
One thing is for sure: Trump has now written himself into the history books. But not at all the way he wanted to.