Trump one of few presidents more popular than at inauguration

Donald Trump is only the third president since FDR whose job approval rating is higher at this point in the third year of his first term.

The Gallup poll revealed that President Trump's job approval rate is 46 percent in his 119th week in office, up from 43 percent the week of his January 20, 2017 inauguration day.  The only other presidents in the last 74 years whose job approval rate was higher at this point than their inaugural day were Pres. George H.W. Bush and his son, Pres. George W. Bush, who both got temporary 20-percentage-point job approval up moves after what initially looked like successes in the First and Second Gulf Wars.

Since Gallup began generating a weekly presidential job approval poll during World War II, Americans have generally tended to have a more negative attitude toward their presidents in their third years in office.  Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Clinton, and Obama were all down about 15 points in their 119th weeks.   

Since Donald Trump came down the escalator at Trump Tower in June 2015 to declare his 'Make America Great Again' candidacy for the nation's highest office, in the share of white voters without four-year college degrees, the nation's largest demographic bloc at 42 percent, the percentage identifying or leaning Republican rose from 54 percent to 59 percent.  The share that identify or lean Democrat remained unchanged at 34 percent.

But Trump's populist policies appear to have had the opposite effect on white voters with four-year college degrees, the second largest bloc at 25 percent.  American political identity that was tied at 47 percent in mid-2015 has seen a 6-point gain for Democrats at the direct expense of a 6-point loss for the Republicans.

With 31 percent of the population, the percentage of non-whites politically identifying with or leaning for either party has remained unchanged since mid-2015 at 66 percent for Democrats and 21 percent for Republicans.  The voting intensity of non-whites declined to 21 percent in 2016 and has continued to stay low at 24 percent. 

Presidential job approvals have typically been closely tied to the electorate's personal finances.  The Trump economic boom and job growth since mid-2015 probably explains why the percentage of Americans who believe that the nation is divided into "haves" and "have-nots" has fallen by 4 percent to just 41 percent, while the percentage that rejects the divide has risen to 58 percent.  As a sign of how the Trump boom has positively impacted all demographics, only 3 percent more non-whites now view America as divided into the "haves" and "have-nots."

Americans' optimism about their personal finances has reach the highest levels in more than 16 years, with 69 percent expecting to be financially better off in a year.  About 56 percent of Americans rate their "personal financial situation as excellent/good."  Fifty-six percent of Americans say they are now able to save money, while just 26 percent are "making ends meet."