In the 144 days since President Donald Trump took office, his approval rating has gone from historically low for an incoming president to worse.
Although individual polls make for big headlines, it’s the average poll ratings that tell a more accurate story about where a president sits in the mind of the American electorate. One of the most recognized polling averages is the one compiled by Real Clear Politics (RCP)—and Trump’s RCP average just hit a new low.
Thanks in part to Gallup’s daily tracking poll, which over the weekend pegged Trump’s job approval rating at a low 36 percent, the RCP average shows the president with a 38.6 percent approval—a record low for this metric. Trump’s disapproval rating is equally dire, at a record high 55.9 percent.
RCP is certainly not the only outlet generating poll averages. HuffPost’s average shows Trump with a slightly higher approval rating: 39.5 percent. (HuffPost and RCP rely on a slightly different mix of polls to calculate their averages, in case you’re questioning the difference.)
FiveThirtyEight, meanwhile, puts Trump’s “adjusted” average approval rating at the lowest of the three—38.2 percent. (This is actually a slight uptick from the flat 38 percent FiveThirtyEight calculated on Monday.) Despite FiveThirtyEight giving Trump the lowest average approval rating of the three poll aggregators, the data-focused site projects an improvement in the president’s rating in the coming months.
The first four and a half months of Trump’s presidency have seen a seemingly endless cascade of controversies, particularly those related to Russia‘s attempts to hack the 2016 election; delays in major legislative initiatives, specifically overhauling the healthcare system and tackling tax reform; and a string of legislative losses related to Trump’s travel ban on citizens from six Muslim-majority countries.
However, given the tumultuousness of Trump’s first few months in office, his base support remains relatively firm even as opposition against him solidifies. As a result, Trump’s approval rating is by no means the lowest mark hit by recent presidents—although it is the lowest at this point in a presidency. Former President George W. Bush hit a low of 25 percent approval in late 2008, the lowest of any president since President Richard Nixon, who dipped to 22 percent amid the Watergate crisis.
As the 2018 midterm election draws ever closer and lawmakers begin to campaign against the backdrop of Trump, the questions become clear: Can Trump turn things around—and what will he do to try?