Data Critique: Trump’s Approval Rating vs. Previous Presidents

President Donald Trump has officially surpassed 100 days in office and it is now time to see how his approval rating amongst the people he is leading compares to that of previous presidents. Business Insider posted a story headlined “Here’s how Trump’s 100-day approval rating – the lowest in modern history – compares to recent presidents.” The article features a graphic comparing Trump’s approval rating to that of each of the nine most recent presidents.

The graphic is very easy to read, as it is shown in the form of a horizontal bar-graph with the percentage number at the end of each for a more accurate reading. The names are also clearly printed, along with a small picture of each president.

The takeaway message from the graphic is clearly to show how much lower President Donald Trump’s approval rating is compared to previous presidents. Compared to former President Barack Obama, Trump has an approval rating that is 23 percent lower, and 13 percent lower than Bill Clinton, who previously has the lowest approval rating in modern history. Prior to Trump, the average approval rating for the past nine presidents was slightly above 62 percent.

The graphic does not necessarily prompt further explanation, as the data lays everything out, but I did go on to look up a breakdown of President Trump’s approval rating, which was also provided by Gallup, the same website used for the graphic used by Business Insider. It breaks down the approval rating by ethnicity and demographic. However, the original graphic does not explicitly prompt this, so not everyone will go on to look up more information.

The only color, aside from gray, in the graphic is red, which is used to highlight Donald Trump in comparison to the other presidents. This draws your attention directly to Trump’s percentage, compared to the others.

Overall, the data provides an accurate comparison that is used as a supplemental visual aspect to the story.


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