President Donald Trump is ending a historically unpopular presidency with the lowest record approval rating during his term, at 34%, according to Gallup. Only Harry S. Truman and Richard Nixon, who resigned in disgrace over Watergate, had lower approval ratings.
To mark Inauguration Day, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed presidential approval ratings by Gallup for every president since the company’s polling began in 1935. Polling data excludes presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy because they died in office.
An impartial public polling is an indicator of a free society in which nongovernment organizations can collect and publish information about citizens’ views on issues. Opinion polls are supposed to represent the opinions of a population. A president’s approval rating is determined by conducting a survey that includes a series of questions asked to people who are selected randomly.
The final approval rating of a president is generally lower than his average approval rating of the way he did his job throughout his time in office. From tax cuts to natural disasters and U.S.-led wars abroad, final ratings of presidents are often shaped by key historical events in their presidency. President Richard Nixon’s final approval rating of 24%, the lowest final rating of a sitting president in Gallup’s history, was the result of the Watergate scandal. Trump’s popularity suffered mostly because of his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In some cases, former presidents are able to restore some of their lost popularity with work they do after their term is over — here is what every American president did after leaving the White House.