FACT CHECK: Is Joe Biden’s Recent 39% Approval Rating Lower Than Donald Trump’s Ever Was?

Elias Atienza | Senior Reporter

A viral Instagram post claims President Joe Biden’s 39 percent approval rating is lower than former President Donald Trump’s ever was.


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A post shared by Donald Trump Fans (@donaldtrump_2024)

Verdict: False

While a recent Economist/YouGov poll did find Biden’s approval rating to be 39 percent, some Economist/YouGov polls show Trump’s approval rating being below that at times while he was in office. Surveys conducted by other polling firms at certain points in Trump’s presidency also put his approval rating below 39 percent.

Fact Check:

The post attempts to compare Biden’s approval rating to that of Trump, saying, “Joe Biden’s approval falls to 39 percent, worse than Trump’s approval ever.” It also appears to question the fact that Biden received over 81 million votes in the 2020 presidential election.

An Economist/YouGov poll released Sept. 8 did find that 39 percent of respondents said they “strongly or somewhat approve” of the “way Joe Biden is handling his job as President.” The poll, conducted between Sept. 4 and 7, surveyed 1,500 U.S. adult citizens via “web-based interviews.” Biden’s approval rating has dipped below 50 percent in recent days, according to aggregate polling data published by FiveThirtyEight.

But, contrary to the Instagram post’s claim, polls did put Trump’s approval rating below 39 percent at points during his presidency. (RELATED: Do Only 25% Of Americans Support Impeachment, As Trump Claims?)

Check Your Fact found Economist/YouGov polls in which Trump’s approval rating was below 39 percent, including a Jan. 27-29, 2019, one that put it at 37 percent and another spanning Oct. 7-10, 2017, that put it at 36 percent. One Economist/YouGov Jan. 10-12 poll said 39 percent of respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” approved of the way Trump was “handling his job as President.” Some other surveys conducted by YouGov in 2019 and 2020 also put Trump’s approval rating at 38 percent at certain points.

On Jan. 20, the date Trump left office, his approval rating averaged at about 38.6 percent, according to polling data aggregated by FiveThirtyEight. A Quinnipiac University poll released Jan. 18 found that 34 percent of voters approved of how Trump was “handling his job as president.” A Pew Research Center survey conducted Jan. 8-12 among 5,360 U.S. adults and released Jan. 15 found only 29 percent approved of how Trump was “handling his job as president.”

Gallup tracked Trump’s approval rating over the course of his presidency. His “2017-2021 term average” in Gallup polling was 41 percent approval, with his highest Gallup poll approval rating being 49 percent and his lowest being 34 percent. His approval rating in one Jan. 15-21, 2018, Gallup poll put his approval rating at 36 percent, while another Gallup poll conducted Aug. 11-13, 2017, put it at 34 percent.

During the 2020 presidential election, Biden received over 81 million votes, while Trump received over 74 million, according to election results from CNN, The New York Times and Fox News. Former Attorney General William Barr said the Department of Justice found no evidence of widespread voter fraud, according to the Associated Press.

A recent Economist/YouGov poll, conducted Sept. 12-14 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens, reported 44 percent of respondents said they “strongly approve” or “somewhat approve” of how Biden is handling his job as president.

Elias Atienza

Senior Reporter
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