Gallup is reporting this afternoon that President-elect Joe Biden’s favourability rating has risen six percentage points to 55% since the election compared with his final pre-election reading. At the same time, President Donald Trump’s favourability has edged down three points to 42%.
Biden’s current rating is the highest it has been since February 2019, two months before he declared his candidacy for president, when it was 56%. Trump’s latest favourability falls short of the highest of his presidency, 49% in April, during the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic.
These findings are from a post-election survey conducted Nov. 5-19, a period during which Trump’s legal team was challenging the results in a number of states. The increase in Biden’s favourability between Gallup’s final pre-election and first post-election readings is driven by independents and Republicans, whose positive ratings of Biden grew from 48% to 55% and 6% to 12%, respectively. Democrats’ nearly unanimous positive ratings remained constant.
Since 2000, the winning presidential candidate’s favourability ratings have increased slightly after the election. In 2000, when George W. Bush was not declared the winner until several weeks after Election Day, neither he nor Al Gore enjoyed an initial post-election bump. Yet, after the Supreme Court’s Dec. 12 decision in Bush v. Gore determined Bush had won reelection, his favourability rose four points.
Additionally, since 2000, the winner’s postelection favorability reached the majority level in every election except 2016, when Trump was the most personally unpopular presidential candidate in Gallup polling history. Biden’s six-point increase in favorability this year is in line with those for other presidents and presidents-elect.
The pattern for losing presidential candidates is mixed. Some, including John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012, had significantly higher favourable ratings after the election. (McCain’s showed the greatest increase: 14 points.) Hillary Clinton’s favourability was unchanged after the 2016 election, and there is no reading for John Kerry until July 2005, by which time his favourability had fallen 10 points. Trump’s three-point post-election decline is unique over the past six presidential election cycles.