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New Survey Shows Low Trump Job Approval, Weak National Confidence

October 22, 2020 by Sara Wilkerson
President Donald J. Trump addresses the Republican National Convention at the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C., Monday August, 24, 2020. The GOP convention was scaled back this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. (David T. Foster III/The Charlotte Observer/TNS)

Gallup has released a new survey showing President Trump’s job approval rating at 43.3%, marking one of the lowest approval ratings for an incumbent during his 15th quarter in office. The Gallup poll comes ahead of the last presidential debate this week before the 2020 election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden. The significance of the 15th quarter job approval rating indicates the likelihood of incumbent re-election success.  

According to Gallup, presidents who have job approval ratings closer to 50% have higher chances of re-election. The only presidents in recent memory who have had lower ratings than 50% in their final months of their presidency include former Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W Bush, who had 34.5% and 35.2%, respectively. 

In terms of breaking down the job approval rating, 94% of Republicans approve of the president while only 4% of Democrats approve. The 90-point gap between the political parties marks one of the highest partisan division gaps since Gallup first began compiling this type of data in 1953.  

Meanwhile, 35% of independents approve of President Trump’s job performance.  

As President Trump’s job approval rating has remained steady near 40% for the past few months, other mood indicators such as national confidence in the direction the country is going and economic confidence were examined by Gallup. 

Gallup’s September 30-October 15 poll found a slight improvement in national confidence in the direction the country is taking. Since September, national confidence has risen to 19% from 14%. This figure is lower than the historic average of 36%.  

Significantly, Gallup noted that these figures are, “similar to the levels Gallup measured around the time of the 1980 and 1992 presidential elections that saw incumbents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush defeated for a second term in office.” 

Polled Republicans were the likely reason the national confidence measurement increased, reaching 39% this month. While Republicans have increased national confidence from last month’s 26% satisfaction, independents and Democrats remain dissatisfied, with 14% and 5% satisfaction levels respectively. 

Yet, at the same time, Gallup found that economic confidence has gotten slightly better in conjunction with the national confidence improvement.  

A third of the nation believes that America’s economy is “excellent” or “good”, while 29% rate the economy as “poor.” Interestingly, more Americans (53%) say the economy is getting worse rather than better (42%).  

The Gallup economic confidence index, ranging on a theoretical model from –100 to +100, measures the economy currently at a –4, an improvement from the all-time low of April’s -32 measurement within the past year. The –4 economic confidence index measurement has yet to reach the pre-pandemic index levels of +41.  

On a partisan level, Republicans remain more optimistic than Democrats when it comes to the economy.  Further analysis of the latest Gallup poll can be read on Gallup’s website.

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