Joe Biden’s job approval rating is 38% nearly two years into his presidency, the same as Donald Trump‘s at a similar point in his presidency, but lower than that of some other recent presidents in the run-up to their first midterm election.
For each White House occupant, the trajectory of presidential job approval differs. Biden began his presidency with a majority approval rating: 54% of Americans approved of Biden’s job performance in March 2021, rising to 59% a month later. However, his popularity dropped sharply last summer and has remained in the low 40s or high 30s since then.
Trump’s job rating, on the other hand, remained remarkably stable during his first two years in office – and well after that. In fact, until the Jan. 6 riot at the US Capitol, roughly four-in-ten Americans consistently approved of Trump’s job performance. Close to two years after Trump’s election, 38% approved of how he was handling his job as president in October 2018.
At this point in his presidency, Biden’s job rating is comparable to Ronald Reagan’s (42%), and Bill Clinton’s (41%), but lower than Barack Obama’s (46%). All three presidents, including Biden, lost ground in their first two years in office.
Biden’s current approval rating is much lower than that of George W. Bush (61%) and his father, George H.W. Bush (56%), on the eve of the midterm elections in their second years in office. Positive attitudes toward both Bushes rose sharply during their first months in office, following Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the case of George W. Bush and the US invasion of Panama and the Persian Gulf War in the case of George H.W. Bush, but then dropped.
Biden’s approval rating has declined significantly since his first months in office, owing primarily to a drop among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Today, 71% of Democrats approve of Biden’s performance as president, down from 93% in April 2021. Republicans and Republican leaners, who have largely opposed Biden since his first days in office, have seen a more modest decline. Currently, only 6% of Republicans approve of Biden’s job performance, down from 18% in April 2021.