Approval Ratings

AP U.S. Government and Politics

Every Day is Presidents Day in GoPo

What president has had the highest approval rating since 1946?

Driven By Data    AP US Government and Politics

Driven By Data

AP US Government and Politics

  1. How accurate was your prediction?

  2. What story does this chart tell?

  3. What do you think causes presidential approval ratings to generally decline over a presidential term?

  4. Which president had the steepest decline of approval ratings?

  5. Which president had the biggest increase in their approval ratings?

  6. Describe Trump’s approval ratings in comparrison with the other presidents from the chart.

  7. How have rally points impacted recent presidential approval ratings?

  8. Think about how history will impact the future public’s opinion of all the presidents listed in the chart. In other words, 50 years from now, how will we regard these presidents? (That, is will we like each president more or less in the future???)

  9. How do you imagine that falling approval ratings affect the ability of presidents to govern?

  10. How do presidential approval ratings impact midterm elections?

  11. How do presidential approval ratings impact presidential elections?

  12. If you were to add POTUS Trump since his first year in office to this chart what would his approval numbers look like?

  13. What does this chart tell us about the American public?

  14. Describe the economic factors that impact presidential approval ratings.*

  15. What does the chart tell us about political polarization?

  16. They didn’t exactly have polling back then, but what do you imagine George Washington’s approval ratings would have been?

  17. What about Lincoln (think hard)?

  18. Write one question you have about this information:

  19. How do you celebrate Presidents' Day?

  20. In Federalist No. 70, Alexander Freaking Hamilton argues for a strong executive leader, as provided for by the Constitution, as opposed to the weak executive under the Articles of Confederation. He asserts, “energy in the executive is the leading character in the definition of good government. What do you think Hamilton would think about approval ratings and their impact on presidential power?

  21. Explain why Trump’s approval ratings do NOT deviate that much over time. What impact do his static ratings numbers have on American politics.

  22. In the comments section way below, if you were elected president, what would be one thing you could do to immediately improve your approval rating, and what is one thing you could do to make your approval ratings immediately tank?

Visual Extension*

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Learning Extension

Check out these Presidential Approval Ratings charts and story from the Pew Research Center. Or follow the daily interactive Trump approval ratings tracker from FiveThirtyEight.

Action Extension

Go to this interactive Wall Street Journal presidential approval ratings chart. Scroll through each president to see their approval ratings, and the inflection points where their approval went up or down. What generally causes approval ratings to fall and what usually causes approval ratings to go up? Contact POTUS Trump with one piece of advice about improving his approval ratings.

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