What’s happened to Trump’s popularity since the election? Not much

The election demonstrated how misleading and inaccurate polling often is but asking about approval now is different to asking about voting intentions then

A year ago today, Donald Trump won the US presidential election despite losing the popular vote. That wasnt the only paradox of politics in 2016 Trump became president despite being one of the most unpopular candidates to run for office in recent US history (competing against another deeply disliked candidate, it should be added). So, what has happened to Trumps popularity since then?

Its a question Im reluctant to answer. In the months leading up to the election, I wrote a column called Skeptical polling where I discussed how misleading and inaccurate polling often is. The election itself, and the embarrassing failures of forecasters, havent changed that opinion.

But asking about approval now is different to asking about voting intentions then. People are less incentivized to lie to a pollster asking them whether they like a sitting president than about who they want to become president.


These numbers come from RealClearPolitics, a political news site, that calculates a daily average popularity for Trump based on several different polls. Using an average is more reliable than relying on any single specific organization, each of which suffer from their own biases and design flaws.

The numbers show how Trumps popularity has changed over the past 12 months. It was at its worst immediately after the election, when 59% of US adults had an unfavorable opinion of him. And it reached a high at the end of December last year when just 48% of American adults had an unfavorable opinion of him (a figure still higher than the 44% who said they had a favorable opinion of him).

Given Trumps record in his first year the attempted ban on transgender Americans from the military, the travel ban targeting Muslims, the threats to destroy North Korea, the insulting calls with bereaved widows, his comments about Charlottesville, federal felony charges against his top campaign aides (and so much more) these numbers are remarkable. They show that despite his first year in office, Trump could be as likely to win an election on 8 November 2017 as he was on 8 November 2016.


I wanted to emphasize how polarized the United States is that each of these lines represent a section of society with wildly different opinions about the past, present and future of this country.

I was reluctant to include the shrug emoticon I didnt want to make light of these opinions. But I also wanted to capture how impotent these numbers seem in the face of todays political realities.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us