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Presidential Election

Fact check: Biden's approval rating is higher than Trump's term low

USA TODAY
USA TODAY
 25 days ago

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The claim: President Joe Biden’s approval rating is 39% and lower than Donald Trump’s ever was

After the chaotic U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan in August, President Joe Biden's approval ratings took a hit . But some online posts exaggerate the depth of the drop.

Text in a Sept. 12 Facebook post reads, "Joe Biden's approval falls to 39 percent, worse than Trump's approval ever." The post did not indicate which poll it's referring to.

A similar post accumulated 46,000 likes in six days before it was deleted. Other claims in this vein have racked up hundreds of interactions on Facebook and Instagram, according to CrowdTangle, a social media insights tool.

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The claim is misleading. While one poll did put Biden’s approval rating at 39%, the polling average – a more accurate measure of a president's popularity – put it higher. Experts say Biden's approval rating, the lowest since he took office, is still higher than Trump’s term low.

USA TODAY reached out to several social media users who shared the claim for comment.

Polling average put Biden's approval rating higher than 39%

Experts say approval ratings should be calculated by looking at an average between polls – not a single poll. On the day the claim was made, the polling average for Biden's approval rating was 45.2%.

"The best practice (is) to look at multiple polls and not to fixate on an individual poll, which can be cherry-picked to make inaccurate arguments," Barry Burden , director of the Elections Research Center and professor of political science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said in an email.

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President Joe Biden speaks about the end of the war in Afghanistan from the State Dining Room of the White House, Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, in Washington. Evan Vucci, AP

The website FiveThirtyEight rates how different polls vary in terms of accuracy and statistical bias. It calculates approval ratings for presidents based on a weighted average that takes into account poll quality and uncertainty.

According to that polling average, Biden's approval rate was 45.2% on the day the claim was posted.

The Facebook post appeared to refer to an Economist/YouGov poll conducted Sept. 4-7. It reported 39% of American adults approved of Biden . YouGov noted this was the first time the majority of Americans disapproved of Biden during his presidency.

However, Burden told USA TODAY this poll was "unusually low."

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"In the last month YouGov has also reported approval ratings of 44% and 50%," he said. "Taken as a group it is more accurate to say that Biden's rating is hovering in the mid-40s."

Other polls back that up. For example, a Sept. 1-17 Gallup poll put Biden's approval rating at 43%. And a Quinnipiac University Poll conducted Sept. 10-13 put Biden’s approval rate at 42% .

Polls put Trump’s approval rating lower

Despite the recent decline in Biden's approval, Trump's ratings were lower during his time in office.

"Biden's approval rating has clearly taken a turn for the worse in the past several weeks, but he is still faring better than Trump at this point in their presidencies," Burden said. "Trump had one of the lowest and steadiest approval ratings of any modern president."

https://img.particlenews.com/image.php?url=3vgULy_0c5vykGa00
Former President Donald Trump and Donald Trump Jr. speak after the fight between Evander Holyfield and Vitor Belfort. Douglas P. DeFelice, Getty Images

FiveThirtyEight put the polling average for Trump's approval rating at 38.8% on Sept. 9, 2017, his first year in office. The lowest point of his term came on Dec. 16, 2017, with an average approval rate of 36.4%.

This claim is also wrong looking only at the YouGov poll.

YouGov reported Trump’s approval rating never increased far above 40% and reached a term low of 34% in a poll conducted Nov. 10-14, 2017.

In other words, Trump's low is well below Biden's current level in YouGov polling.

According to Gallup , Trump’s approval rating ranged between 34% and 49% over the course of his presidency. Trump hit the lower end of that range in January, following the insurrection at the Capitol.

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Biden’s approval rating is 39% and lower than Trump’s ever was.

One September poll from YouGov did show Biden's approval rating at 39%, though that was below where most other polls put his rating at that point. But there's no truth to the Trump comparison. Trump's approval rating was at times well below that mark in YouGov polls and in polling averages, which experts say are the most accurate measure of a president's popularity. FiftyThirtyEight's weighted polling average put Biden’s approval rating at 45.2% on the day the claim was made. That's higher than the lowest polling average for Trump's approval rating, which was 36.4% in December 2017.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Biden's approval rating is higher than Trump's term low

Comments / 42

Jackie Martin
24d ago

😂 You’re still petrified of Trump. It haunts you apparently. The more the liberal news open their chicken lips, the more they reveal.

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19
Laura Morehead
23d ago

I have never been invited to participate in any poll for any president and I am a registered voter. Has anyone here participated in any of these polls? I'm pretty sure they are only asking mostly dems.

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8
bmk425
23d ago

Yeah we have boat rally's in Ohio for Trump, we still have our sign up for Trump. He has over 25 thousand at his rallies! Yeah he's not liked. everyone I know likes Trump.

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4

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