Presidential Approval Ratings: Comparing Trump to Former Presidents

Comparison of Trump's Approval Ratings
Trump’s Approval Ratings Compared to Recent Presidents

I’m a numbers nerd as I’ve mentioned before. I like to research obscure stats in sports and look for trends in pretty much any area of life. I’m not overly into politics, so this post might be a little out of character for me. But I’m not really talking politics. I’m looking at numbers in context.

The current political climate feels more charged than it’s ever been. Both sides of the political spectrum seems to be more volatile than I can remember in my lifetime. And, in particular, President Trump seems to be one of the least popular presidents ever if you read what’s being written in various online outlets and social media sites.

I saw a news story today that got my attention with the headline “Trump’s approval rating hits record high.” It was was at 44%, which seems low for a record high, but also seems quite higher than I expected based on the stuff written about him.

That led me to compare his approval rating to previous presidents at the same point of their term in office. It’s easy to look back and think more highly or lowly of former presidents, but what was the climate like at the same point in office?

Thankfully I didn’t have to look very far. The website FiveThirtyEight has a great resource showing both Trump’s approval rating and an easy comparison to former presidents as shown above.

As of this writing Trump is at day 899 in office and his approval rating is at 42.6%. At the same time in their terms Obama was at 46.2%, Clinton 47.4%, and Reagan was 46.8%. Each of the Bush presidents were much higher, but the country was in the midst of wars and their numbers were skewed higher.

So, what’s the takeaway? Context gives us an indication that the current administration is not all that different than one’s that have come before in terms of approval rating. Setting politics aside, Trump’s approval rating is only 5% less than Clinton’s when comparing to the same day in office. I was somewhat surprised at this, but also not shocked. We tend to get caught up in the moment and overly sensationalize how good or bad things are while we are going through them. Some people will love what a politician is doing and others will hate everything about that person. Doesn’t seem to matter which party is in office.

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