New polling finds that former President Donald Trump’s approval rating among the public has dropped to its lowest point in nearly a year and a half, following a legal scandal for the former president and along with the rising approval of President Joe Biden.
According to an NBC poll released on Sunday, only about one in three Americans say they approve of Trump as of mid-September. About 34 percent of the survey’s 1,000 registered voter respondents said they approve of the former president, while 54 percent said they disapprove.
This is the lowest approval for Trump that NBC has recorded since April of 2021, when only about 32 percent of voters said they approved of him. While Trump’s approval shot up to 38 percent last August, his approval rate has been steadily declining ever since, NBC finds.
As Trump’s approval has declined, Biden’s approval has increased. After hitting lows of about 41 and 42 percent this summer, Biden’s approval rating is bouncing back, hitting 45 percent in the publication’s most recent survey.
While Biden’s overall approval rating is still in the negatives, with 52 percent of voters saying they view him negatively, it’s been on an upward trend as gas prices have gone down and Biden has announced major initiatives like canceling up to $20,000 of student debt for certain debtors.
The poll also finds that Democrats in general are experiencing a boost over Republicans — thanks in part to the far right’s attacks on abortion and education. Still, voters are evenly split over who they want to control Congress after this year’s midterm elections, with 46 percent saying they prefer Republican control and 46 percent saying they prefer Democratic control.
The dip in favorability for Trump may be due to a search carried out by the FBI last month at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. Officials were reportedly searching for documents related to nuclear weapons that the former president improperly took from the White House and seemingly stored haphazardly at his estate, potentially risking a leak of classified, sensitive information.
Indeed, the poll found that a majority of voters — 56 percent — said that the investigation into the documents should continue, while 41 percent, largely Republicans, said they should stop. These results echo those of other polls that similarly find that Americans support the investigation, while Trump’s favorability ratings have dropped in the weeks following the search.
Polls on related issues also suggest that Trump’s popularity is low; earlier this month, Reuters/Ipsos found that nearly 6 in 10 Americans agree that Trump’s Make America Great Again movement is a threat to democracy, in line with experts who say that Trump is playing a major part in leading the Republican Party in its embrace of fascism.
As the 2016 presidential election made clear, however, polls can often have a bias toward Democrats, and political experts say that pollsters have not made enough tweaks to their models to correct that bias in the ensuing years. Still, polling can still be a useful indicator of trends, even if they may not always reflect precise percentages.