Donald Trump Is About as Popular as Other Presidents

I’m not trying to make you depressed, but here’s the Gallup presidential approval tracker for Donald Trump and three other recent presidents at about the 100-week mark:

Trump started out with record lows, but his approval level has been flat ever since. The others all declined steadily during their first two years.

So this is where we are. Most presidents show declining popularity as time goes by, usually because their supporters get disillusioned or centrists drift to the other side. Trump, however, has shown surprisingly strong staying power. His fans, both strong and weak ones, continue to support him at about the same level as always. They haven’t become disillusioned or impatient.

With nearly two years of data in hand, I think it’s safe to say that we’re not likely to see Trump’s support plummet. His supporters apparently knew perfectly well what they were getting when they voted for him, and the fact that he keeps delivering it therefore doesn’t bother them.

Of course, something big could happen that would affect his support levels. This happened to Bush with 9/11 and Nixon with Watergate, but a really substantial change is fairly rare. Roughly speaking, Trump is a 40-45 percent president, and all the evidence suggests he’s going to stay there for a while.

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In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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