Newspaper article

No, Trump’s Approval Rating Is Not Improving

Newspaper article

No, Trump’s Approval Rating Is Not Improving

Article excerpt

A lot of people I talk to have the impression that Donald Trump’s approval poll numbers have been improving lately. It’s really not true.

I assume those people have seen a particular pollster or two who have taken a recent approval poll and found a slight rise in Trump’s approval over their previous poll, a rise that is always less than the margin of error for that poll (meaning it is statistically insignificant). But they nonetheless report it as an improvement (which, in some sense, disregards the margin of error that they include in the small print).

My method — which is not brilliant but better than relying on a less-than-the-margin-of-error change in a single poll — is to rely on an average of many, many different polls monitored by the political-numbers-geeks at FiveThirtyEight, the site run by the legendary numbers guru Nate Silver.

The FiveThirtyEight crew adjusts the polls for what they consider the strengths and weaknesses of the relative reliability of each. I couldn’t begin to pierce their methods, but I’m confident they know a lot more than I do about this. And they publish a daily update of the average. And they graph the movements of that average. You can find that graph here.

If you clicked through, you can see that there has been absolutely no significant movement since late January, when there was a not-huge-but-noticeable jump up Trump’s average disapproval number. But that didn’t last, and the approval-disapproval situation went right back to where it has been for a year and a half.

Trump’s disapproval number is about 10 percentage points higher than his approval number. As I write this (on Friday morning), the numbers are 53.3 disapproval/42.6 approval. If you check the site, they may have moved, but they won’t have moved much, as they haven’t in a year.

This isn’t normal, by the way. …

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