Polling company Rasmussen Reports released a poll Friday indicating President Donald Trump’s approval rating hit 50 percent for the first time since April. He trumpeted the mark in a celebratory tweet Friday. Sunday morning, Trump took to Twitter to again to tout the achievement.
“The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50 percent approval rating. That’s higher than O's #'s!,” Trump tweeted, referring to former President Barack Obama as “O.”
The new Rasmussen Poll, one of the most accurate in the 2016 Election, just out with a Trump 50% Approval Rating.That's higher than O's #'s!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 18, 2017
The tweet about Obama’s polling numbers came after two tweets criticizing the investigations Trump and his associates are under as a witch hunt and highlighting some accomplishments like the nominations of Supreme Court Judge Neil Gorsuch.
So is Trump right? Are his Rasmussen numbers better than Obama’s? Let's take a look.
Rasmussen conducts its polls by surveying 500 likely voters by phone per night and the numbers are rolled into a three-day average, then released. CNN reported in April Rasmussen doesn’t release information on what it decides is a likely voter and only calls landline telephones, skewing the poll older and more conservative.
Obama’s Rasmussen approval ratings began at 62 percent when he first took office in January 2009. Trump had 59 percent in his first January. Trump’s approval slid to a low in May of 45 percent before climbing back up to 50 percent in Rasmussen’s latest three-day average. The month of June isn’t over, so the whole month can’t be fully tabulated, but so far he’s averaging a 46 percent approval rating, despite the 50 percent spike. Obama in June of his first term had a 54 percent approval rating.
From January until the start of June Obama’s approval rating average was 58 percent approval. Trump’s in that time had 50 percent approval. Obama’s approval rates just before Trump took power were 49 percent, 54 percent, 54 percent and 56 percent in September, October, November and December, respectively.
At points in his presidency, Obama’s approval rating using the Rasmussen poll fell below where Trump currently is, so in one sense, you could pull a random period of time in Obama’s presidency and Trump’s current numbers would be better. Even the beginnings of some years of Obama’s presidency had lower approval ratings, but you would have to compare the same start to a year like 2011, Obama’s third year in office to Trump’s first to make it work. The only way to make Trump’s tweet correct is to cherry pick information.
Other polls out right now, paint a much less rosy picture for Trump than Rasmussen. Real Clear Politics which averages various polls had the president at a 40.4 percent approval rating.
According to 538.com, a website that also tracks polls and statistics, the Rasmussen poll typically skews right.