Trump’s First-Year Job Approval Worst by 10 Points

  • Trump averaged 38.4% approval in year one of his presidency
  • Prior lowest first-term average was Clinton’s 49.3%
  • Party polarization in Trump’s first-year ratings greatest to date

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President Donald Trump’s job approval rating averaged 38.4% during his first year in office — slightly more than 10 percentage points lower than any other elected president’s first-year average. Bill Clinton is the only other president who was below 50% in his first year. All others were 57% or higher, with six of the 10 presidents elected since World War II averaging 60% or better in their first year.

Presidents usually get substantial support from the public during their first year in office, known as the “honeymoon period” and marked by above-average job approval ratings.

Trump had little or no honeymoon period to speak of — beginning his presidency with a job approval rating below 50%. His ratings eroded over the course of his first year in office but have since stabilized between 36% and 37%. This is reflected in his quarterly averages — during his recently completed fourth quarter in office, an average of 36.8% of Americans approved of the job he was doing, essentially the same as his third-quarter average.

Donald Trump's Quarterly Job Approval Averages, 2017

His most recent weekly average, based on Jan. 15-21 interviewing, is 36%.

Trump First Year Ranks in Bottom 10 of All Presidential Years

Trump’s 2017-2018 yearly average is not only the lowest for a first-year president, it ranks among the 10 worst for any president in any year since Gallup began regularly measuring job approval in 1945. These include Jimmy Carter’s third and fourth years; George W. Bush’s sixth, seventh and eighth years; Harry Truman’s seventh and eighth years; and Richard Nixon’s last partial year leading up to his resignation. Unlike Trump, all those presidents were in the late stages of their presidencies.



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