Donald Trump's approval rating hits historic low as public blames president for government shutdown

Trump's two-year average rating far dwindles the 61 percent average for the former 12 U.S. presidents since 1945

Published January 28, 2019 5:24PM (EST)

 (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
(AP/Carolyn Kaster)

President Donald Trump's job approval rating sits at a historic low for any president after two years in office, as blame for the partial government shutdown continues to focus on him and his party in Congress, according to a new poll.

The survey, produced by ABC News/Washington Post, found that the president's job approval rating is at 37 percent — the lowest two-year average rating on record for a president at this point in office in polls going back 72 years. Trump's two-year average rating far dwindles the 61 percent average for the former 12 U.S. presidents since 1945.

Additionally, 53 percent of voters blame Trump and Republicans in Congress for the month-long partial government shutdown, which ended on Friday after the president and congressional Democrats brokered a deal to reopen the government for three weeks until Feb. 15. Negotiations over border security and a spending package that includes the $5.7 billion the commander-in-chief has claimed is necessary to construct a "wall" along the U.S.-Mexico border are expected to continue.

The shutdown, which began shortly before the Christmas holiday and entered into its 34th day, was the longest budget impasse in U.S. history — and 60 percent of voters disapprove of how Trump handled efforts to end it, according to the poll. Meanwhile, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Democratic lawmakers received far less blame — 34 percent. Nonetheless, 54 percent of Americans disapprove of their work on reopening the government.

Then there are divisions among other factions. Among women, Trump's approval rating dropped to a new low of 27 percent. His rating is higher among men at 49 percent. The president's rating also hit a new low among political independents, often considered the swing group in American politics, at 32 percent.

Additionally, the partial government shutdown caused the U.S. economy to lose nearly $3 billion, which it will never recover, according to a report released by the Congressional Budget Office on Monday. The findings concluded that the five-week shutdown estimates the GDP "in the fourth quarter of 2018 was reduced by $3 billion . . . in relation to what it would have been otherwise." Further, the GDP was reduced by an additional estimated $8 billion in the first quarter of 2019. In other words, furloughed workers and lost productivity during the government shutdown cost the economy more money than the president's $5.7 billion wall along the southern border.

Over 800,000 federal employees were furloughed and hundreds of thousands employees, who were deemed essential, continued to work without pay during the shutdown. It is estimated that 1.2 million federal contract workers were impacted by the shutdown, according to NBC News. While federal employees are expected to receive their back pay, contracted employees likely will not see any payments.

"Underlying those effects on the overall economy are much more significant effects on individual businesses and workers," the CBO report stated. "Among those who experienced the largest and most direct negative effects are federal workers who faced delayed compensation and private-sector entities that lost business. Some of those private-sector entities will never recoup that lost income."

This ABC News/Washington Post poll was surveyed a random sample of 1,001 adults, in English and Spanish, by landline and cellular telephone between Jan. 21-24, 2019. Results have a margin of sampling error of 3.5 points, including the design effect. Partisan divisions are 32-24-37 percent, Democrats-Republicans-independents.

By Shira Tarlo

MORE FROM Shira Tarlo