President Donald Trump frequently touts polls on his Twitter account that show him having a net-positive approval rating — but those polls are more misnomers than reliable signs of his presidency turning around, if you look at the average of all polls put together.
Averaging national polling results from across the country is a sound way of determining how the American people actually feel about the president. Rather than relying on one poll result to give you an idea, an average of polls allows you to see what attitudes are being expressed from a broad number of polling outfits.
For example, a poll from Rasmussen Reports in September found that Trump had an approval rating of 51 percent with a disapproval rating of 48 percent, for a net approval rating of +3 percent. The president was fast to publish that number in a tweet immediately after it came out, but it wasn’t indicative of what every other poll was saying about him…
Thank you! pic.twitter.com/hScbURTzMJ
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 19, 2019
The average of polling from that time, according to Real Clear Politics, based off a number of polls that came out within the same period that the Rasmussen poll did, found that Trump actually had a net-rating of around -9 points, meaning most polls found Americans disapproved of his job as president than approved.
So when was the last time Trump had a net approval rating that was in the positive column? You’d have to traverse back to the first few days of his presidency to recall such a time.
According to Real Clear Politics, the last time that Trump had a day where his average of polling data showed he was in the positive column was January 27, 2017 — the end of his first week in office, or about 1,004 days ago. According to FiveThirtyEight, which also averages polling data but uses a different set of criterion than RCP does, it was February 2 of that year, or 998 days ago.
A thousand days is a long stretch of time to go without a net-positive approval rating, but it’s not unprecedented: indeed, it happened to former President Barack Obama, whose RCP average of polls went 1,012 days without being positive (George W. Bush went 1,348 days without a net-positive approval rating average as well).
However, that spell of bad numbers for Obama was well into his presidency, and he recovered to become a very popular president by the end of his term.
In fact, at this point in his presidency, Obama was seen as much more favorably than Trump is at present. On October 28, 2011 (the same amount of time that Trump has been president so far), Obama had 652 days where his RCP net approval rating was positive, amounting to 64 percent of his presidency having positive marks from the American people up to that point.
For Trump, there have been just eight days where his RCP average of polls was in the black rather than in the red — a dismal 0.8 percent of his time in office.
With statistics like those to consider, it makes it easier to understand just why he was booed so loudly at the World Series on Sunday evening.