The U.S. president’s approval rating now stands at 40 per cent, slightly more than his 36-per-cent rating measured in January.
Trump garners above-water approval among white people, 53 per cent of whom approve of the president, up seven points from January. He does even better among white people without college degrees (60 per cent, up seven points) and white men without college degrees (70 per cent, up six points). Almost three-quarters of conservatives approve of the president in the latest poll, 74 per cent, up nine points from January.
Trump continues to face overwhelming disapproval from an array of other groups, including 79 per cent of racial and ethnic minorities, 67 per cent of adults under age 30, and 64 per cent of women. Nearly nine in 10 Democrats and more than eight in 10 liberals also disapprove of Trump.
The question of favourability as a person was also asked of presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton during their presidencies. Bush fared best, with more than six in 10 reporting favourable personal impressions of him during his first year in office. Clinton’s personal image was far worse when first tested in a 1998 Post-ABC poll amid the Monica Lewinsky scandal; 54 per cent said they had an unfavourable view of the president. Negative personal ratings for Clinton peaked at 67 per cent in 1999, higher than Trump’s current 61 per cent mark, though his image recovered somewhat after leaving office.
While negative personal ratings appear to be a drag for Trump, Clinton’s experiences show that Americans are willing to look past certain concerns in rating a president’s job performance. At that lowest point for Clinton’s personal ratings in March 1999 — a month after Clinton was acquitted of impeachment charges — 30 per cent reported a favourable view of him personally, but 64 per cent approved of his job performance.
The economy was a major reason for the disconnect, with three-quarters of adults approving of Clinton’s handling of the economy in early 1999.
Trump’s current low personal favourability is met by only slightly higher job approval. One reason is that while 46 per cent of Americans approve of Trump’s handling of the economy, 75 per cent approved of Clinton’s economic stewardship in early 1999.
The Post-ABC poll was conducted April 8-11 among a random national sample of 1,002 adults reached on cell and landline telephones. Overall results have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.