As the election approaches, President Donald Trump’s disapproval rating is on par with the last two one-term presidents—former Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.
With 50 days until the election, the latest disapproval rating for Trump based on Gallup polling stands at 55 percent. In early September 1992, Bush’s disapproval rating stood at 55 percent as did Carter’s in September 1980. Both incumbents went on to lose their reelection bids less than two months later.
Comparatively, former President Barack Obama had a disapproval rating 11 percentage points lower, at 44 percent, in September of 2012 ahead of his reelection. Former President George W. Bush had a similar disapproval rating of 45 percent at the same point in 2004, while former President Bill Clinton had a disapproval rating of just 31 percent.
Notably, other polling organizations show different disapproval ratings for Trump. The current FiveThirtyEight average shows the president with a disapproval rating of about 52.5 percent compared with 43.1 percent who approve. Conservative firm Rasmussen Reports, which the president has often touted publicly, shows 51 percent of Americans approving of the president while just 48 percent disapprove. The most recent Fox News poll shows the opposite percentages—51 percent disapproving while 48 percent approve.
Meanwhile, all recent national polls show Trump trailing his opponent, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden. Both the Real Clear Politics and FiveThirtyEight averages show Biden ahead by more than 7 percentage points.
The best recent national poll for Trump was carried out by Rasmussen Reports from September 2 to 8, showing Biden ahead with 48 percent support while Trump trailed close behind by 2 points with just 46 percent. But a Reuters/Ipsos poll from September 3 to 8 showed Biden ahead by 12 percentage points—backed by 52 percent of voters as opposed to just 40 percent who supported Trump.
Trump and officials with his reelection campaign have consistently dismissed negative polling, saying that most polls and pollsters are biased against the president and Republicans. They regularly point to 2016, when most analysts and polls suggested that former Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton would beat Trump. Clinton actually ended up losing big in the Electoral College, although she won nearly 3 million more individual votes.
But the president has seen a notable decline in support in his approval rating amid the coronavirus pandemic. Polling released Sunday by ABC News/Washington Post/Ipsos showed that just over two-thirds (67 percent) of Americans believe Trump was too slow to respond to the pandemic. Furthermore, 68 percent said that they do not trust what the president says about the pandemic, while just 35 percent said they approve of his response to the national crisis.