Just a quick analysis here, but I took a look at the 36 approval ratings for Donald Trump that have come out since his inauguration. 12 of these had partisanship breakdowns, and so I wanted to see how not only Trump’s approval ratings broke down by party, but also if they differed by population: results for all adults as opposed to results only among registered voters. In the past, I’ve found Trump’s favorability ratings to differ a bit by population, so it’s always worthwhile to consider the universe from which a pollster is sampling. Here I also want to break it down by party and population, making for six subgroups in all, in order to check where Trump’s recent decline in approval–since around the end of his first week as president–is coming from.
In the above graph, the red line signifies the percentage in each subgroup that approves of Donald Trump’s job performance, and is represented as a positive value. The blue line signifies the percentage saying they disapprove and appears as a negative value. The black line essentially adds these percentages together to plot the net job approval rating for Trump. Each large hollow circle marks a poll graphed by its end field date on the x-axis.
Among registered voters, the approval ratings given by the two partisan groups don’t change much over this time period. Among Independents, Trump’s approval rating declines slightly around the 24th and 25 of January, but that doesn’t have much to do with his recent collapse. Rather, approval ratings among the general population–when surveying all American adults–have captured this decline. Notably, not much changes among Republican identifiers, as even recent controversies have not deterred these partisans from supporting their party leader and new president.
Instead, the decline in Trump’s approval rating seems to be driven most by worsening evaluations among Independents, as well as among Democrats but to a lesser degree in this case. Two recent polls in the above graph have played the biggest role in ushering in this decline: a CBS News one and a CNN/ORC one. Moreover, while it’s hard to parse these relatively small differences with few data points, it’s worth noting the recent decline appears to be in large part due to more adults saying they “disapprove” (blue line) of Trump rather than fewer adults saying they “approve” (the red line). In other words, it looks like more people have moved into the “disapprove” column after being in the “don’t know/no opinion” column than people moving out of the “approve” column. All of this, of course, will become clearer once more data gets collected.
Two things to keep in mind when looking at the above graph:
- The partisanship data was gathered from the HuffPost Pollster website. Pollsters vary in their definitions of party members, specifically on the question of whether to group Independents who lean toward a party with that party rather than as Independents–some group these leaners, others don’t. I find it inexplicable to not group Independent leaners when evaluating survey question breakdowns by party ID, given the swath of political science research supporting the decision to group leaners and my own look at this data doing so too. (Quick summary: Independent leaners behave almost identically as regular partisans–why not classify them as such?) Regardless, the Pollster data doesn’t specify this grouping decision, so I’ll just have to live with the form in which the data comes here–a slightly less meaningful form, but to no fault of the Pollster website.
- When I break up results by party ID and population, that leaves between five and seven data points (polls) to cover the span of a few weeks. The loess smoother is thus obviously not very meaningful here given the small amount of polls; it’s included to give just a rough sense of polling movement.