Donald Trump's approval rating is at a historic low — and keeps falling

Fewer than half of Americans approve of Trump as he prepares to take office, and it's getting worse for him

By Matthew Rozsa

Staff Writer

Published January 13, 2017 5:12PM (EST)


President-elect Donald Trump has a historically low approval rating for an incoming president — and his numbers keep dropping.

51 percent of Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling the presidential transition compared to only 44 percent who approved, according to a poll released by Gallup on Friday. In December, 48 percent approved and 48 percent disapproved of how the president-elect was conducting himself.

By comparison, the same survey found that 83 percent of Americans approved of Barack Obama's transition and only 12 percent disapproved at this time in his presidential transition to his first term. While both George W. Bush and Bill Clinton posted lower numbers than Obama, they were still able to get more than half of Americans to support them — Bush had 61 percent approval to 25 percent disapproval and Clinton had 68 percent approval to 18 percent disapproval.

One clue as to the reason for this may be found in Trump's choice of Cabinet appointments. Only 52 percent of respondents gave them positive scores, while 44 percent ranked them as below average or poor.

By contrast, 83 percent gave positive marks to Obama's appointments and only 10 percent ranked them negatively, 81 percent gave positive marks to Bush's appointments and 13 percent ranked them negatively, and 83 percent gave high marks to Clinton's appointments with only 12 percent ranking them negatively.

In another poll released by Gallup on Friday, 47 percent of Americans believe that Obama will go down in history as either an outstanding president or an above average one. Another 18 percent say he will be remembered as an average president, while 35 percent believe he will be remembered as below average or poor. Combined with a Gallup poll from December which found that more Americans admire Obama than Trump, and it is becoming pretty clear that Trump has a lot to live up to if he wants to be considered on par with his immediate predecessor.


By Matthew Rozsa

Matthew Rozsa is a professional writer whose work has appeared in multiple national media outlets since 2012 and exclusively at Salon since 2016. His diverse interests are reflected in his interview, including: President Jimmy Carter (1977-1981), Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak (1999-2001), animal scientist and autism activist Temple Grandin, inventor Ernő Rubik, comedian Bill Burr ("F Is for Family"), novelist James Patterson ("The President's Daughter"), epidemiologist Monica Gandhi, theoretical cosmologist Janna Levin, voice actor Rob Paulsen ("Animaniacs"), mRNA vaccine pioneer Katalin Karikó, philosopher of science Vinciane Despret, actor George Takei ("Star Trek"), climatologist Michael E. Mann, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (2013-present), dog cognition researcher Alexandra Horowitz, Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson (2012, 2016), comedian and writer Larry Charles ("Seinfeld"), Democratic vice presidential nominee Joe Lieberman (2000), Ambassador Michael McFaul (2012-2014), economist Richard Wolff, director Kevin Greutert ("Saw VI"), model Liskula Cohen, actor Rodger Bumpass ("SpongeBob Squarepants"), Senator John Hickenlooper (2021-present), Senator Martin Heinrich (2013-present), Egyptologist Richard Parkinson, Rep. Eric Swalwell (2013-present), media entrepreneur Dan Abrams, actor R. J. Mitte ("Breaking Bad"), theoretical physicist Avi Loeb, biologist and genomics entrepreneur William Haseltine, comedian David Cross ("Scary Movie 2"), linguistics consultant Paul Frommer ("Avatar"), Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (2007-2015), computer engineer and Internet co-inventor Leonard Kleinrock and right-wing insurrectionist Roger Stone.

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