Trump’s three-day reading prior to Friday’s events was 41%. His previous low point was 37%, recorded March 16-18. His highest reading was 46% in the week following his Jan. 20 inauguration, and he has averaged 42% for his term to date.
Trump’s current 36% is two percentage points below Barack Obama’s low point of 38%, recorded in 2011 and 2014. Trump has also edged below Bill Clinton’s all-time low of 37%, recorded in the summer of 1993, his first year in office, as well as Gerald Ford’s 37% low point in January and March 1975. John F. Kennedy’s lowest approval rating was 56%; Dwight Eisenhower’s was 48%.
Gallup tries to put a shine on the news by saying that most presidents get better.
An encouraging sign for Trump, perhaps, is that all presidents whose ratings fell below 36% — with the exception of Nixon — saw their ratings improve thereafter. Clinton provides a particularly relevant example. His approval rating dropped to 37% in June 1993 but recovered to 56% by September of that year.
I think the difference between Trump and the other presidents — even Nixon — is that they were not perceived by the public, regardless of party, as being as openly and flagrantly loose with the truth and their perception of it than Trump. Even at his worst, Richard Nixon didn’t pull off the whoppers that Trump comes up with every day.
It’s not just the lying and disengagement from reality that sets him apart. It’s the perception that his policy goals are not the same as the country’s. The majority of Americans want good health insurance that covers more people, not fewer. The majority of Americans are in favor of an immigration policy that does not deport 11 million people and separate families. The majority of Americans want to know if the last election was manipulated by a foreign power whose very name used to send people into fallout shelters. And the majority of Americans voted for someone else.