President Donald Trump’s job approval rating fell to 36% for the three-day period of March 24-26, following Republican House leaders’ failed effort to pass a new healthcare bill that would have replaced the Affordable Care Act.
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%.
Presidents George W. Bush (lowest approval rating: 25%), George H.W. Bush (29%), Ronald Reagan (35%), Jimmy Carter (28%), Richard Nixon (24%), Lyndon Johnson (35%) and Harry Truman (22%) all had job approval ratings lower than 36% at least once during their administrations.
Presidential job approval ratings are fluid, and all presidents have seen both upward and downward swings in their ratings at various points in their administrations — a historical precedent indicating Trump’s approval could drop further or recover in the weeks and months ahead. 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.
Frank Newport, Ph.D., is Gallup’s Editor-in-Chief. He is the author of Polling Matters: Why Leaders Must Listen to the Wisdom of the People and God Is Alive and Well.