Approval ratings are often used as a measuring stick to compare current presidents to former commanders in chief — and in that regard, it looks like President Donald Trump just captured a huge win.
The Washington Examiner reported Saturday that Trump’s approval rating is at its highest yet. A full 1,209 days into his presidency, polling from Gallup has Trump sitting at a cool 49%, above the numbers held by both Barack Obama and George W. Bush at the same point in their tenures.
Approval ratings and elections
According to the Examiner, incumbent presidents generally want an approval rating of 50% or higher if they want to be assured re-election.
The current president is not quite there yet — but though both Bush and Obama were above the 50% mark on their respective re-election days, Trump is closer than either of them were at the 1,209-day point.
The Examiner reports that while Gallup puts Trump at 49% at Day 1,209, Obama was only sitting at 47% on the same day in his presidency. Meanwhile, Bush was sitting at 46% approval on Day 1,205 of his first term.
On the other side of this argument are presidents who were not re-elected, like Jimmy Carter, who had only 38% approval at the same point in his presidency, as the Examiner noted. George H.W. Bush, meanwhile, had 40% approval by this time.
Pandemics and poll numbers
Ahead of the coronavirus pandemic, many expected the outcome of President Trump’s Senate impeachment trial would shape his re-election prospects. But just after the president was acquitted of charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice, COVID-19 broke out in the U.S.
Now, all eyes are on how Trump responds to the pandemic — and while it could hurt him, it could also prove to be his saving grace.
Indeed, much of how Trump’s approval rating will go from here on out depends on states opening up safely in the wake of the coronavirus while researchers continue working on both treatment and a vaccine for the deadly disease.
If states can open safely and workers get back to work, it will be a huge boost for Trump’s numbers.
Currently, there are more than 30 million Americans out of work thanks to COVID-19, according to Forbes — and Americans will to have to decide who they trust more to create a positive economic environment come Election Day.
If the economy is already headed on an upward trend, it is really hard to imagine most Americans wanting to risk putting a Democrat in office. But there’s no doubt Joe Biden — or whoever wins the Dems’ nomination — will keep on fighting in the meantime.