POLITICS
02/14/2017 03:25 pm ET

New President Trump Is About As Popular As George W. Bush Was Post-Katrina

Presidents usually have higher approval ratings when they start their terms.

President Donald Trump’s most recent approval rating is lower than that of any president who has been in office less than a month, according to Gallup ― and is currently similar to the numbers former President George W. Bush saw after Hurricane Katrina.

Forty percent of Americans currently approve of Trump’s job performance, and 54 percent disapprove, according to Gallup’s tracking numbers from Saturday through Monday.

Bush reached similarly low numbers during his second term, when people took issue with his response to the hurricane that devastated New Orleans. In a Gallup poll taken about a month after Katrina hit, 56 percent of Americans said Bush took steps to help victims for “political reasons.” The same poll put his approval rating at 40 percent approval and his disapproval rating at 58 percent

Ratings for Trump’s presidency have varied by pollster, with Gallup’s findings among the most negative. The average from HuffPost Pollster, which aggregates publicly available national polling data, gives the current president slightly better ratings, with 44 percent approving and 52 percent disapproving. 

Bush began his presidency with much better numbers than Trump did ― around 60 percent approval and 30 percent disapproval in early 2001. Perception of him improved after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 that year, and his approval rating was close to 90 percent. 

Much of the difference between the two comes down to the degree of vitriol they attract from the opposing party. Trump is widely disliked by independents and Democrats, but Bush maintained relative support from these groups until 2005. His approval rating among Republicans also began to slip in 2006. 

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