Politics

Trump Favorability Rises, Still Lower Than All Predecessors

| by Robert Fowler

President-elect Donald Trump is enjoying a bump in his favorability ratings. Despite his rise in popularity, the business mogul is set to become the most divisive incoming commander-in-chief in modern U.S. history.

On Nov. 17, a new Gallup survey found that Trump’s approval rating has significantly increased following his stunning upset victory on election night, with 42 percent of respondents viewing the president-elect favorably while 55 percent view him unfavorably.

This is an 8 percentage-point increase from Nov. 6, when only 34 percent of respondents viewed the business mogul favorably while 62 percent viewed him unfavorably. The bump in favorability has been driven largely by self-identifying Republicans and Independents, with a modest increase in approval among Democrats.

Currently, Trump is more popular than he has been since March 2011, when he had a 43 percent favorability. His image plummeted shortly after that month, the timeline coinciding with his participation in birther movement -- the conspiracy theory that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States.

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In the spring of 2011, Trump began frequenting morning talk shows and asserted that he had sent investigators to Hawaii to determine whether or not Obama was a legitimate U.S. citizen, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In April 2011, Obama produced his long-form birth certificate, putting an end to the birther idea as a mainstream theory. Gallup tracking polls of Trump’s popularity found that the business mogul’s favorability was deeply negative for years after this event.

Following his election, Trump’s favorability has recovered to the same level before the so-called birther movement came to define his public perception. Gallup found that he will still be the most divisive president-elect in modern U.S. history.

During this same timeframe after winning their elections, Obama and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were significantly more popular. In November 2008, 68 percent of respondents had a favorable view of Obama. In December 2000, 59 percent of respondents viewed Bush positively. In November 1992, 58 percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of Clinton.

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“Trump also has far less public goodwill than Obama, Bush and Clinton did after they were elected,” wrote Jeffrey M. Jones, the survey results’ author. “He won the election despite a historically low favorability rating … Trump may very well start his term with the lowest job approval ratings for any president.”

Meanwhile, Obama is set to leave office on a high note. The outgoing commander-in-chief has a 57 percent favorability rating in a Gallup survey released Nov. 15, according to The Hill.

Obama’s current favorability is at its highest since he was elected to his second term. He is currently tied in favorability with former President Ronald Reagan during the same timeframe in their presidencies.

Sources: Gallup, The HillLos Angeles Times / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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