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100 Days: How Trump's Low Approval Ratings Compare to Past Presidents

by Sam Petulla /
January 20, 2017 - The Inauguration of the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump at the U.S. Capitol building. President Barack Obama and Donald Trump also - Michelle Obama, Joe Biden (JOHN MAKELY/ NBC News)John Makely / NBC News

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President Donald Trump’s approval rating is the lowest of any president ever polled at this early point in his term.

But while no president has ever been this unpopular this soon, his abysmal rating may not preclude him for a successful presidency just yet.

Related: Trump’s First 100 Days: A Presidency Like No Other

It’s possible to find past presidents described just as Trump is today. The Baltimore Sun said of President Bill Clinton in 1993, almost 90 days into his presidency, that "public opinion surveys show him to be the least popular president since the advent of modern polling.”

Before Trump, Clinton, in fact, had the lowest 100-day approval rating of any modern president, according to Gallup. Here's how Trump's first months compare to the early days of previous administrations, dating back to President Lyndon B. Johnson:

Trump is strongest among his Republican constituency, which supports him at historically high levels. "The average first-quarter approval rating among those who identify with the president's party had been 83 percent before Trump," writes Gallup’s Jeffrey M. Jones. Trump stands at 87 percent in the Gallup poll.

Trump's support has fallen significantly since the election. His backing among independents, for instance, has dropped about 15 percent. As the charts below show, the president's approval rating was flat or declined in every poll taken over the last several months.

In the past, however, presidents with a lower approval rating at 100 days have actually tended to fare better when seeking a second term. Stay tuned.

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