On Election Day, Trump's Approval Rating Is Lower Than One-Term Jimmy Carter's

Americans go the polls today to elect the next president of the United States, though nearly 100 million voters have already cast their ballots. President Donald Trump is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden in nationwide polls.

One factor that could determine the outcome of the election is approval of how the president is doing his job. Trump has never broken the 50 percent threshold for job approval during his time in the White House, according to Gallup.

As election day dawns, Trump's average approval rating does not appear to bode well for the president. A smaller percentage of Americans approve of Trump than did Jimmy Carter, who famously lost re-election to Ronald Reagan in 1980.

Trump's average approval stood at 44.6 percent on November 2, according to poll tracker FiveThirtyEight.

Carter's average approval rating during his first and only term was 45.5 percent, a touch higher than Trump's.

However, Carter's approval rating also dipped much lower than Trump's lowest recorded rating.

According to Gallup, Carter's approval rating was just 28 percent in June, 1979, just over a year until the next presidential election. In comparison, Trump enjoyed 43 percent approval in June last year. Carter's rating also fell to just 37 percent in September 1980, two months before the election. There are no Gallup figures for his approval in October.

Trump's approval rating has never fallen below 35 percent—a level he hit four times, the last of which was in December 2017. Trump's highest approval rating has been 49 percent. He reached that level five times, most recently in May, Gallup reports.

His average approval rating is also lower than the first-term averages of both his immediate predecessors. Barack Obama recorded 49.1 percent average approval, while George W. Bush enjoyed 62.2 percent approval. Both were re-elected.

Gallup figures show Trump underperforming against all his predecessors as far back as Harry S. Truman in 1949. Only two presidents since Truman have lost re-election, the second was George H.W. Bush in 1992.

Bush's average approval rating was 60.9 percent, but this figure was likely buoyed by the First Gulf War. Yet Bush failed to secure a second term as his approval fell to just 34 percent in October 1992. He won fewer than 200 electoral college votes and 37.5 percent of the popular vote.

Carter and Bush's defeats have been linked to economic difficulties facing the U.S. during their re-election campaigns.

President Donald Trump Speaks at a Rally
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on November 02, 2020 in Avoca, Pennsylvania. Donald Trump is crossing the crucial state of Pennsylvania in the last days of campaigning before Americans go to the polls on November 3rd to vote. Trump is currently trailing his opponent Joe Biden in most national polls. Trump's approval rating has never hit 50 percent. Taylor Hill/Getty Images