President Trump’s one-term tenure in the White House is ending amid sinking public opinion approval ratings in the wake of this month’s attack on the U.S. Capitol.
Only 34% of Americans say they approve of the job Trump’s doing steering the country in the final Gallup national poll of his presidency. That’s down five points from Gallup’s December poll. And Trump’s final approval rating is the lowest of his presidency in Gallup surveys.
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The longtime polling organization noted that “the 34% job approval rating for Trump in Gallup’s Jan. 4-15 poll is one point lower than his prior lowest single rating, registered on several occasions in late 2017.”
And it matches the 34% approval ratings of two other one-term presidents who lost reelection. Presidents George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter also stood at 34% when they exited the White House in 1993 and 1981, respectively. Only President Harry Truman – at 32% in 1953 – ended his presidency at a lower polling mark.
Gallup also highlighted that Trump’s average approval rating during his four-year term was 41%, which they say is “four points lower than for any of his predecessors in Gallup’s polling era.”
Trump never cracked 50% in Gallup polling. His highest approval rating – reached a couple of times early last year – was 49%.
Gallup also spotlighted that “Trump’s ratings showed a record 81-percentage-point average gap between Republicans and Democrats – 11 points wider than the prior record.”
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Other national polls gave Trump slightly better marks as he leaves the White House. Among them are a 43% approval rating in the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll and 41% in a USA Today/Suffolk University survey. In other live telephone operator national surveys, Trump was at 38% in an ABC News/Washington Post poll and 34% in CNN and Quinnipiac University surveys. One of the few polling organizations that the president’s praised – the automated surveys by Rasmussen Reports – put his approval rating at 48%.
Trump’s final presidential approval rating stood at 39.4% in an average of the final surveys compiled by Real Clear Politics.
The president leaves office on Wednesday in a precarious situation.
He was impeached last week by the House and is awaiting the start of a Senate trial over his encouragement of this month’s deadly insurrection at the Capitol by far-right extremists and Trump supporters aiming to disrupt congressional certification of President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory.
All of the latest polls were conducted in the wake of the storming of the Capitol, which resulted in the deaths of five people, including a Capitol Police officer, and widespread vandalism of the building.
Trump’s numbers among Republicans remain high
While the latest polling indicates Trump’s approval ratings have taken a hit among Americans and specifically Republicans, his sway over the party he reshaped and ruled over with near-absolute authority during his four years in the White House remains immense.
“Trump still retains incredible support from those who voted for him, but his credibility has collapsed among everyone else,” veteran Republican pollster Frank Luntz told Fox News.
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While Trump’s numbers among GOP voters have taken a hit, they still remain very healthy.
Trump’s approval rating among Republicans stands at a sky-high 87% in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, down just two points from October.
But other polls show a bigger drop among Republicans.
Trump’s at 82% in the Gallup poll, down five points from last month. He’s at 73% approval in the Quinnipiac survey, down from 89% last month. CNN puts the outgoing president’s approval rating at 80%, down 14 points from three months ago. Trump’s approval rating among Republicans in the ABC News/Washington Post survey stands at 79%, a drop of nine points from October. And the president’s approval rating in a Pew Research poll stands at 60%, down from 77% in August of last year.
Luntz noted that “Republicans have always been the ‘law and order’ party. Their opinions of Trump have taken a hit because of continued focus on the events of Jan. 6 and their embarrassment about the violence and destruction. “
The attack on the Capitol came soon after the president urged a large crowd of supporters he addressed at a rally near the White House to march to the Capitol and show strength in protesting the certification of an election he’s repeatedly and falsely claimed was “rigged.”
But two-thirds of Republicans questioned in the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll said Trump’s words and actions related to the storming of the Capitol have not changed how they feel about their vote in November for Trump, with nearly three in 10 Republicans saying it reinforces their vote for Trump, and only 5% say it makes them regret their vote.
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Those sentiments seem to be reflected in the actions of GOP members of Congress. Nearly two-thirds of House Republicans – even after the joint session of Congress was delayed six hours after the attack on the Capitol – objected to certifying the Electoral College results in two states that Biden narrowly edged over Trump in the presidential election. And 197 House Republicans voted last Wednesday against impeaching Trump, with just 10 GOP lawmakers joining all 222 Democrats in voting for impeachment.
Ahead of the insurrection, Trump had vowed to play an influential role in the party going forward, threatening to back primary challenges to Republicans up for reelection in 2022 who didn’t support the president’s unsuccessful push to upend his election defeat to Biden. Trump was also flirting with a 2024 presidential run to try and win back the White House.
Now, with the possibility of being barred from running for federal office ever again if he’s convicted in the Senate impeachment trial, Trump’s future political ambitions are in a precarious state.
According to the Pew Research poll, 57% of Republicans want Trump to remain a major political figure for years to come. Four in 10 Republicans questioned in the survey disagreed.
And 55% of Republicans surveyed in the USA Today/Suffolk University poll said they would definitely vote for Trump again if he ran for president in 2024. While that’s a very strong number, it’s down from 71% of Republicans who said the same thing in December.
Biden poll numbers edge up
Biden’s favorable ratings are climbing.
The president-elect’s favorable rating stands at 59% in the CNN poll, up seven points since October. Biden’s favorable rating in the Gallup survey is 57%, edging up two points since November. And it stands at 49% in an NPR/PBS/Marist poll, also up two points.