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Trump’s favorability at a historic low ahead of inauguration

Trump hasn't been sworn in yet, but a majority of Americans have a negative opinion of him.


Amrita Khalid


Published Jan 16, 2017   Updated May 25, 2021, 4:52 am CDT

President-elect Donald Trump has nowhere to go but up—at least in the opinion of the majority of the American public. 

A sizeable 55 percent of Americans surveyed by Gallup hold an unfavorable opinion of Trump, according to results released on Monday. This is the lowest favorability rating any of the past three presidents had just prior to taking office. With less than four days to go until Inauguration Day, Trump stands as the only president-elect whose unfavorable rating is higher than his favorable score. 

Gallup has only run this particular poll since 1993, so only data for the past three presidents (Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton) exist. The firm’s methodology for the favorability study is simple: Gallup asked a random sample of roughly 1,000 adults nationwide whether they hold an unfavorable or favorable opinion of a particular individual. Respondents could also say they had no opinion. 

Trump’s low favorability rating is unusual for a couple of reasons. Typically, Americans of both parties hold the rosiest view of the president prior to inauguration—and then it’s all downhill from there. Even Americans that don’t belong to the same party as the president are the most hopeful for the future at this stage. As a new White House begins to roll out its policies and partisan spats or administration scandals emerge, that begins to change for presidents from both parties. 

Even among Republicans, Trump’s pre-inauguration favorability rating is historically low. A total of 82 percent of Republicans hold a favorable opinion of Trump, compare that to the 97 percent of Republicans who had a favorable opinion of Bush in January 2001 or the 95 percent of Democrats who held Obama in high favor back in January 2008. Trump also has the lowest favorable rating among independent voters since Clinton. 

Trump’s favorability rating among Democrats is at 8 percent, the first time an incoming president’s favorability rating have slipped into the single digits, according to Gallup. It’s also the lowest pre-inauguration rating for any opposition party. For comparison sake, a total of 60 percent of Republicans held a favorable impression of Obama in 2008. 

Given Trump is such a ratings-obsessed president, it’s obvious that something has to change.

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*First Published: Jan 16, 2017, 4:00 pm CST