Analyzing Donald Trump’s Approval Rating: A FiveThirtyEight Perspective

Donald Trump is a highly polarizing figure who served as the 45th President of the United States from January 2017 to January 2021. Throughout his presidency, his approval ratings, as well as disapproval ratings, were a subject of immense scrutiny. The statistical analysis website FiveThirtyEight played a crucial role in tracking and interpreting these approval ratings. In this blog post, we will delve into the key aspects of Donald Trump’s approval rating using data and insights from FiveThirtyEight.

Understanding Approval Ratings

Approval ratings represent the percentage of individuals who approve or disapprove of a political figure’s job performance. These ratings are often used as an indication of public opinion and serve as a valuable metric to gauge popularity.

FiveThirtyEight, founded by Nate Silver in 2008, is renowned for its data-driven analysis and forecasts in politics, sports, and other fields. The website aggregates various polls and calculates a rating based on a weighted average, which accounts for the pollster’s historical accuracy, sample size, and methodology.

Tracking Trump’s Approval Ratings

Throughout his presidency, Donald Trump’s approval ratings experienced significant fluctuations. FiveThirtyEight closely monitored these fluctuations and provided valuable insights into the underlying trends.

Upon assuming office in January 2017, Trump’s approval rating stood at around 45%. This figure gradually declined over the next few months, reaching a low of 35% in August 2017. The President’s approval ratings faced numerous challenges, including divisive policies, executive orders, and controversial statements.

However, it’s important to note that approval ratings are subject to a wide range of factors such as political climate, legislative achievements, and economic conditions. Trump’s approval numbers experienced temporary surges during moments of perceived success, like the confirmation of Supreme Court justices and tax reform.

The Impact of Major Events

FiveThirtyEight also highlighted the influence of significant events and crises on Trump’s approval ratings.

The COVID-19 Pandemic: The global pandemic had a profound impact on Trump’s approval ratings. As the crisis unfolded, the President faced scrutiny over his handling of the response. His approval ratings fluctuated as the situation evolved, reaching a peak of around 48% in March 2020 during the early stages of the crisis, then declining as the pandemic worsened.

Impeachment Proceedings: The impeachment proceedings against Trump also impacted his approval ratings. In December 2019, during the impeachment hearings, his approval rating dipped to 41%. However, it rebounded to 45% by the time his Senate trial concluded in February 2020.

2020 Presidential Election: The 2020 presidential election, in which Trump sought re-election, significantly influenced his approval ratings. As the election neared, approval ratings became highly polarized, with Trump’s approval among Republicans remaining consistently high while plunging among Democrats and Independents.

Public Perception and Partisanship

Public perception played a crucial role in shaping Trump’s approval ratings. FiveThirtyEight emphasized the strong partisan divide regarding the President’s rating. Trump’s approval ratings among Republicans were remarkably high, often exceeding 80%. However, his ratings among Democrats were consistently low, rarely surpassing 10%.

Public opinion and partisanship should be considered when interpreting approval ratings. Factors such as political ideology, media bias, and personal beliefs greatly influence how individuals perceive a political figure, ultimately affecting their approval or disapproval ratings.

Understanding FiveThirtyEight’s Ratings

FiveThirtyEight utilized a methodology that involved aggregating diverse polls to calculate an approval rating. These ratings were calculated using a weighted average, where each poll’s weight was determined based on various factors, including historical accuracy and sample size. The website’s model also accounted for additional variables such as the pollster’s methodology and whether the poll was conducted nationally or regionally.

FiveThirtyEight’s detailed methodology and transparent approach to weighting allowed for a comprehensive analysis of Trump’s approval ratings. It provided users with an in-depth understanding of how the aggregated numbers were reached, enhancing the credibility and reliability of their ratings.


FiveThirtyEight’s analysis of Donald Trump’s approval ratings provided valuable insights into public opinion throughout his presidency. The website’s aggregated ratings, derived from a multitude of national and regional polls, offered a comprehensive picture of the fluctuations and trends in Trump’s approval over time.

It is important to consider the context, major events, and the influence of partisanship when interpreting approval ratings. Public opinion is influenced by a myriad of factors, and approval ratings should be seen as one piece of a larger puzzle that includes economic conditions, legislative achievements, and international events.

While Donald Trump’s presidency is now in the past, FiveThirtyEight’s commitment to statistical analysis and data-driven insights ensures that their methodology will continue to be a valuable resource for understanding and analyzing approval ratings in future political contexts.

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