Polling History

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Unlikeability Ratings

  • 1989: A poll of Spy magazine readers sponsored by J&B Scotch found that Donald Trump ranked among the three worst possible weekend guests. “There would undoubtedly be a different result if the survey were in a Washington magazine, but sassy Spy magazine, in a poll of readers on the best and worst possible summer weekend guests, found that nearly everyone's favorite was actress Teri Garr. The J&B Scotch sponsored survey found that Madonna, Sean Penn, Michael Jackson, Roseanne Barr, and Whoppi Goldberg got an equal number of votes as most and least desirable. But when it came to choosing the worst weekend guests, the magazine's readers were definite: egomeister Donald Trump, Vice President Dan Quayle and televangelist makeup queen Tammy Bakker.” (Palm Beach Post, June 1, 1989)
  • 1990: During Trump’s financial meltdown, polsters found that 64% of Americans believed he deserved his financial problems and only 13% felt sorry for him. “Donald Trump's latest financial problems generate little sympathy with the American public, according to a Gallup Poll. With the hard-pressed entrepreneur put on a monthly allowance by his creditors, Americans were asked whether they felt sorry for him, or whether Mr. Trump was getting what he deserved. By a margin of nearly 2-to-1, Americans feel that Donald Trump brought his troubles on himself. Sixty-four percent say he deserves his troubles; 23 percent have no opinion, and only 13 percent feel sorry for him.” (Palm Beach Post, July 21, 1990)
  • 1990: A survey of 3,000 teenagde video-game players, found that Trump ranked alongside Saddam Hussein and acne as people or things that deserved to get "bonked." “In a survey of 3,000 joystick-crazed teenagers, VideoGames & Computer Entertainment magazine asked what intolerable person, behavior or thing most deserved getting ‘bonked.’ Despite his much-publicized love of children, sorry, Saddam Hussein, you ranked No. 1. Leading contenders were drugs and alcohol, Donald Trump, Roseanne Barr, Pete Rose, Exxon Corp., street gangs and acne.” (Chicago Tribune, September 27, 1990)
  • 2003: Jerry Springer beat Trump’s three-year-old record-setting unfavorability rating of 65% by notching an unfavorable rating of 71% “Talk show host Jerry Springer, who has said he might run for the U.S. Senate, scored the highest unfavorable rating in the 14 years that the Ohio Poll has been taking the state's political pulse. Springer, a Democrat and former Cincinnati mayor, drew an unfavorable response from 71 percent of those surveyed. Thirteen percent had a favorable opinion, while 14 percent knew little about Springer and 2 percent had not heard of him. Springer's unfavorable rating surpassed the 65 percent logged in 2000 by real estate magnate Donald Trump, poll director Eric Rademacher said Monday. The Ohio Poll began tracking such numbers in 1989.” (Chicago Tribune, March 11, 2003)
  • 2004: A poll conducted by the author of the Dilbert cartoon strip found its readers considered Trump to be the most weasly celebrity. “Looks aside, who's weaslier: The Donald or The Jacko? According to 43,000 votes in Dilbert.com's annual Weasel Awards poll, Donald Trump is the weasliest celeb of 2004. Thanks to his arrogance and bad hair, the business tycoon beat out Michael Jackson by nearly 2,000 votes. Rounding out the weasliest celeb list are Paris Hilton, Ashlee Simpson, Janet Jackson, Britney Spears and Eminem.” (Chicago Tribune, December 13, 2004)
  • July, 2008: A poll of "most annoying celebrities" found Simon Cowell to be more unlikeable than Donald Trump. “Another accolade for Si American Idol's cuddly judge, Simon Cowell, has been voted the most obnoxious celebrity on TV in a poll by Parade mag's Web site Parade.com. Si beat out Donald Trump, foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay, and The Hills star Spencer Pratt.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, July 12, 2008)

Q Ratings

  • Donald Trump's "Q Rating" fell between 1987 and 1991, with his positive recognition dropping from 15 to 12 and his negative recognition jumping from 34 to 49. “So who will be the stars of the '90s? Steven Levitt, whose research firm issues Performer Q ratings, a measurement of celebrity familiarity and likability, says top film, sports and TV stars have nothing to worry about. Businessmen, on the other hand, are falling victim to new times. In 1987, Donald Trump had a Q rating of 15 (compared with 69 for the year's top-ranked star, Bill Cosby). In 1990, Trump's Q dropped to 12. His negative Q - a number that represents how many people know and dislike him - is more revealing. In 1987, it was 34. Last year, it soared to 49. Every day, hundreds of people call Celebrity Service's offices around the world for information on the approximately 200,000 stars in its card file. And indeed, queries about Donald Trump have dropped off. But there are always fresh stars on standby.” (Chicago Tribune, May 29, 1991)
  • 2000: Donald Trump's "Q Rating" - a combined measure of name recognition and favorability - was a score of 11, slightly higher than that of IBM's "Deep Blue" AI program, which had a rating of 9. "What weighs 1.4 tons, lives in Yorktown Heights and is as popular as Larry King and Carmen Electra? Hint: It defeated Garry Kasparov at chess in 1997. Deep Blue, the chess-playing computer created by I.B.M., has worked its way onto the celebrity radar screen, according to a study by Marketing Evaluations/ TvQ, a Long Island company that measures celebrity appeal. It showed that 50 percent of 1,200 adults polled across the country recognized Deep Blue. The company formulates Q scores to measure celebrity. Deep Blue got a 9 rating, the same as Carmen Electra. Larry King's is 7 and Donald Trump is 11. Mickey Mouse is a 44. I.B.M. officials say that Deep Blue has received more than 5,000 mentions in the print media over the last three years. It is currently retired from chess, and now doing analyses in retail, Internet and stock prices.” (New York Times, September 3, 2000)
  • 2004: A survey of corporate executives found that 8% would work for Trump for free while 33% would not work for Trump for any amount of money. “‘Reality,’ that odd creature that is increasingly poking its heavy-breathing nose onto TV screens, is giving us shows like ‘The Apprentice,’ in which every eager applicant seems to have one dream and one dream only: to work (Be still, you quivering cufflinks!) for Donald J. Trump. We interrupt this mania for a word from Clark Consulting, a compensation and benefits firm, which was mischievous enough to ask 357 executives at public companies just how much Mr. Trump would have to pay them to work for him. […] Some, evidently, do revere him: a starry-eyed 8 percent would toil at the master's feet for nothing. Most said they would do it if the pay was good enough -- but not, many said, for a mere $250,000 a year, which is what the winner of ‘The Apprentice’ gets. Fully a third said there was not enough cash in all those glittering towers to induce them ever to work for The Donald. Really.” (New York Times, May 2, 2004)
  • 2004: Trump placed seventh in a poll of poker players asked which celebrity they would most like to compete against at poker, with a rating of 2%. “Who would you most like to see across from you at the poker table? Why, Pamela Anderson, of course. In an online survey conducted by EmpirePoker.com, 42 percent of the Web site's respondents selected model-actress Anderson as the celebrity they would most like to play against. [...] Loopy former basketballer Dennis Rodman was a distant second with 24 percent, crazy-eyed actor James Woods got 13 percent, musician Dave Navarro was picked by 10 percent, and skateboarder Tony Hawk and actor Matt Damon each drew 3 percent. Donald Trump was selected by 2 percent, and 1 percent said actor Ben Affleck.” (Philadelphia Inquirer, December 11, 2004)

Admiration Ratings

  • 1988: A survey of 102 corporate executives found Donald Trump was one of the most admired business figures among them. “Egon Zehnder International, a management consulting firm, asked 102 senior executives of large U.S. corporations. The two most important traits cited were a vision for the future and the ability to deal with changing conditions. While bemoaning a national leadership void, the executives identified the business leaders they most admire. Leading the list were Lee Iacocca of Chrysler, Donald Petersen of Ford, John Reed of Citicorp, billionaire H. Ross Perot, Jack Welch of General Electric and real estate magnate Donald Trump.” (Palm Beach Post, June 7, 1988)
  • 1989: Donald Trump tied with Jimmy Carter as the tenth-place most-admired person in America. “Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev is the second-most admired man in America. Only President Reagan is held in higher esteem by the American people. More respondents in the survey chose the Soviet leader than chose President-elect George Bush as the man they admire most. […] President Reagan is at the top of the list for the eighth consecutive year. Following Messrs. Reagan and Gorbachev are George Bush, Pope John Paul II and Jesse Jackson. Rounding out the list of most admired men are Billy Graham, Lee Iacocca, Ted Kennedy, Bill Cosby and Donald Trump. […] AMERICANS' MOST ADMIRED MEN: […] 10. Donald Trump Jimmy Carter The findings are based on interviews with 994 adults, 18 or older, conducted in scientifically selected localities during the period Dec. 6-27, 1988.” (Palm Beach Post, January 6, 1989)
  • 1989: Donald Trump tied with Ronald Reagan in a survey of public figures most admired by high school students. “Chicago Bulls basketball star Michael Jordan is the top hero of teen-agers, according to the World Almanac and Book of Facts' 10th annual poll of 5,000 students in grades 8-12. Other heroes: a tie between Ronald Reagan and Donald Trump; Tom Cruise; Eddie Murphy; Bill Cosby; Mikhail Gorbachev (commonly referred to by hip youngsters as ‘The Glasnost Dude’); Jesse Jackson; Magic Johnson; Patrick Swayze. And, to recap the decade's heroes: '80-'81, Burt Reynolds; '82, Alan Alda; '83, Sly Stallone; '84, Michael Jackson; '85-'86, Eddie Murphy; '87, Bill Cosby; '88, Tom Cruise.” (USA Today, November 22, 1989)
  • 1990: Trump once again ranked among the ten most-admired figures in America. “In keeping with end-of-the-year traditions, those knowledgeable Gallup folks have released their poll of the souls Americans most admired in 1990. The No. 1 man chosen is President Bush; the most-admired woman, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is the second most-admired man. Other men in the top 10 are former President Ronald Reagan, Pope John Paul II, Billy Graham, Nelson Mandela, Rev. Jesse Jackson, Donald Trump, former President Jimmy Carter and Poland's President Lech Walesa.” (Miami Herald, December 26, 1990)

Random Poll Findings

  • 1989: A public poll commissioned by a newsmagazine found 57% of respondents wanted to see a movie about Donald Trump. “Clint Eastwood and Pee-wee Herman in a movie together? That's what the public would like to see. What would you do if you ran the movie business? USA Weekend magazine asked its readers. Well, said the 15,000 who responded: […] Do a movie about Donald Trump (57 percent). The Eastwood-Herman team was suggested by 48 percent of the respondents.” (Miami Herald, March 26, 1989)
  • 1990: A record-setting 55% of Americans told pollsters that the media had devoted to much coverage to Donald Trump’s marital problems, while Nelson Mandela’s release from a South African prison was the most-followed story by readers of the press. “Americans have had enough of Donald and Ivana, a new survey released Thursday found. A record number of people believe that the media have ‘over-covered’ the story of flamboyant developer Donald Trump's dissolving marriage to former model Ivana, according to the Times Mirror News Interest Index, a monthly survey of public attitudes toward the news. And while no story has truly riveted Americans' attention lately, the most closely followed story during February was the release of black South African leader Nelson Mandela, the survey found. A record 55% of respondents said that the media had devoted too much coverage to the Trumps' marital dispute, which has dominated national tabloid magazines and even received generous play on the once-staid network news. […] In previous surveys, the closest any story has come to being considered so over-covered was the sentencing of televangelist Jim Bakker last October, at 43%.” (Los Angeles Times, March 9, 1990)
    • While only 12% of respondents claimed they were interested in stories about Trump’s failing marriage, 37% of them could identify his mistress, Marla Maples. “When it comes to the news, a survey indicates that Americans are both broadly interested and quite uninformed. That almost everyone claims to be at least a moderate consumer of news was one finding of ‘The American Media: Who Reads, Who Watches, Who Listens, Who Cares,’ a survey made public today by the Times Mirror Center for the People and the Press. But unless the news is dramatic or cute, the level of retained awareness is apt to be little more than a hazy familiarity with a subject, the survey found. […] But when the news is titilating, the awareness can be far greater than the admission of interest. While only 12 percent of those polled said they very closely followed the breakup of Donald Trump's marriage, 37 percent could identify Marla Maples, the alleged other woman.” (New York Times, July 15, 1990)

Pre-2016 Political Polls

  • 1987: A poll of New Yorkers found that more trusted Donald Trump to induce NBC to remain in New York City than trusted then-mayor Ed Koch, but the same poll found Koch would win reelection against Trump handily. “In a poll specially commissioned by Crain's New York Business, more than 70% of New Yorkers say they favor granting NBC major tax breaks and other incentives to remain in the city. And, by a wide margin, New Yorkers think that developer Donald Trump is doing more to keep the network in the city than the mayor. But the poll also suggests that Mr. Trump, occasionally rumored to have political ambitions, shouldn't rush out and hire a campaign manager. Mayor Koch would trounce Mr. Trump in a head-to-head mayoral race, according to the survey, conducted for Crain's by Leo J. Shapiro & Associates, a Chicago polling firm.” (Crain’s New York Business, June 15, 1987)
  • 1988: A poll of New Yorkers found only 3% of them supported electing Donald Trump as mayor, a low figure that nevertheless placed second against unpopular incumbent Ed Koch. “But it seems to me we are hustling Ed Koch out of office with something approaching an unseemly haste. A recent poll by WCBS -- TV and The New York Times indicates only 36% of New Yorkers currently have a favorable opinion of the mayor. Some 34% actually viewed him unfavorably and the usual 30% of our local dullards didn't know what they thought or were blushingly unwilling to say. None of the above is good news for Mr. Koch. […] Right now, Koch's opponent is none of the above and fill in the blanks. That was one other thing the Times/CBS poll showed us. Koch might be drooping; everyone else was invisible. Donald Trump and David Dinkins got 3% each. And they were the front-runners.” (Crain’s New York Business, July 18, 1988)
  • January, 2007: A Gallup poll found Trump had an approval rating of 41%, which at the time exceeded the approval rating of George W. Bush's handling of the Iraq War. “Here's an eye-catching stat noted by National Review: ‘According to a USA Today/Gallup poll, more Americans approve of Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump (28% and 41%, respectively) than they do of the job Bush is doing in Iraq (26%).’” (Washington Post, January 10, 2007)
  • May, 2011: A poll found that 58% of Americans claimed they would never vote for Trump. “A majority of Americans say they would never support Sarah Palin or Donald Trump for president, according to a new national poll. A Quinnipiac University survey released Wednesday indicates that 58 percent of the public says they would never vote for Palin, with an equal amount saying the same thing about the billionaire businessman.” (Chicago Tribune, May 5, 2011)
  • Donald Trump placed second to Mitt Romney in a poll of Republican preferences for presidential candidates, receiving support from 8% compared to Romney’s 16%. “Deepening economic pessimism has pushed down President Obama's approval rating to a near record low, but he holds an early advantage over prospective 2012 rivals in part because of widespread dissatisfaction with Republican candidates, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. […]When Republicans and GOP-leaners were asked who they would vote for in a primary or caucus, only former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney registered in double digits, with 16 percent. More than double that number expressed no opinion and an additional 12 percent volunteered ‘none’ or ‘no one.’ Businessman Donald Trump (8 percent), former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee (6 percent) and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin (5 percent) were the only other names volunteered by more than 2 percent of respondents.” (Washington Post, April 19, 2011)
    • Despite placing second in a poll of Republican presidential preferences, Trump placed third in a hypothetical matchup against President Obama, trailing Obama by a dozen points. “In hypothetical matchups for the general election, the president runs ahead of all seven potential GOP rivals tested in the new poll. If the election were held now, Romney and Huckabee would mount the stiffest challenges, trailing Obama by four and six percentage points respectively, among all Americans as well as among registered voters. Obama has double-digit leads over the other five tested - a dozen points against Trump and Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), 15 against Newt Gingrich and former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty and 17 points over Palin.” (Washington Post, April 19, 2011)
  • April, 2011: A poll of New Hampshire voters found 21% would vote for Donald Trump if he entered the GOP primary against Mitt Romney and other candidates. “Donald Trump has strong support in New Hampshire, according to a Public Policy Polling survey. It showed 31 percent favored front-runner Mitt Romney. But if Trump were to run in the GOP primary, 21 percent said they would vote for him, with 27 percent backing Romney.” (Chicago Tribune, April 6, 2011)

Campaign 2016 National Polls


  • February 3, 2016: Donald Trump placed second in the Iowa caucuses behind Ted Cruz, despite having been the consensus leader of thirteen state polls. “If Donald Trump felt cocky on the eve of Monday's Iowa caucus, he had good reason: 13 polls showed him winning that presidential contest. They were all wrong -- as Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, trumped the pollsters, and his rival, to come out on top. On the Democratic side, the majority of recent polls gave Clinton an edge over her main rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders. Clinton eked out a very narrow win. Anyone who predicted the outcomes deserves a ‘special pundit medal of honor,’ Amy Walter wrote in a post-election analysis for the non-partisan Cook Political Report.” (USA Today, February 3, 2016)

The Comey Letter

  • A late poll by Monmouth University found only 4% of voters reported their vote had been influenced by James Comey's letter to Congress announcing that a review of computer devices had found no evidence of law-breaking by Hillary Clinton. "FBI Director James Comey sent a(nother) letter to Congress on Sunday afternoon - two days before the finish line of the 2016 campaign - to inform lawmakers that after reviewing emails related to Hillary Clinton that were found on former congressman Anthony Weiner's laptop, the agency stood by its July recommendation against charges. [...] Monmouth University went at this question directly in a couple of state polls this past week. In Missouri and Pennsylvania, it asked people flat-out whether the Comey announcement changed their votes. In both cases, 4 percent said it had, while about 9 in 10 said it didn't." (Washington Post, November 3, 2016)
  • National tracking polls showed comparatively little movement in response to Comey's late-breaking release of a letter to Congress informing it that a reopened review of Clinton's emails had uncovered no evidence of actionable wrongdoing. "If you look at the Post-ABC national tracking poll, 6 percent of Republicans favored Clinton before the Comey announcement, and 6 percent still do. And Quinnipiac polling of Pennsylvania shows Clinton's support among Republicans actually ticked up from 7 percent in mid-October to 9 percent in a poll released Wednesday. [...] The Post-ABC tracking poll before the Comey announcement showed Clinton taking 34 percent of independent voters; by the end of the week, it showed her taking even more - 40 percent - of them. As of Sunday, it was 41 percent." (Washington Post, November 3, 2016)
  • One poll of voters taken after the release of the second Comey letter found that the percentage of Clinton voters reporting they were "very enthusiastic" had fallen from 51% to 43%, but the tracking poll's results soon stabilized. “Even if the announcement didn't actually change many votes, perhaps it will lead some Clinton supporters to stay home. Here's the one area where this does seem to have registered rather clearly in the polls in the immediate aftermath of Comey's announcement. Clinton voters did seem to be turned off in the immediate aftermath of the news, as Post pollsters Scott Clement and Emily Guskin wrote Tuesday. The number of Clinton supporters who were ‘very enthusiastic’ about the election dropped from 51 percent to 43 percent. But even that number completely recovered in late-week Post-ABC tracking polls, and enthusiasm for Clinton was back on par with Trump's - just as it was pre-Comey.” (Washington Post, November 3, 2016)

Pew Research

  • A majority of poll respondents claimed that Donald Trump would change Washington - for the worse. "When voters are anxious and dissatisfied, they tend to favor the party out of power. That meant the Republicans in 1968. But Clinton is from the president's party. That puts her on the wrong side of the ‘change’ issue. Last month's Pew poll asked ‘Do you think Hillary Clinton would change the way things work in Washington?’ A majority of voters said Clinton wouldn't change things much. And (Donald) Trump? Voters think Trump would change things all right, but most of them believe he would change things for the worse. That's the reason why so many voters are dissatisfied with the choices (according to Pew, the lowest level of satisfaction in two decades). Voters are desperate for change -- as they were in '68 -- but they face a choice between a candidate who won't change things and a candidate who will change things for the worse.” (Huffington Post, Bill Schneider, | July 10, 2016)


2016 Campaign State Polls


  • March, 2016: A poll of California primary voters found that Trump's support among Republicans in the state had risen from 24% to 37%, but that approximately one-quarter of California Republicans claimed they would not vote for Trump in the general election. "Riding a rebellion fueled by opposition to illegal immigration and pessimism about the nation's future, Donald Trump leads a scrambling duo of competitors less than three months before California's Republican presidential primary, a new USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times statewide poll has found. […] A quarter of California Republican voters polled said they would refuse to vote for Trump in November if he is the party's nominee. Almost one-third of those backing Trump's leading competitor, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, said they would not cast a ballot for Trump. Voters who back Trump, meanwhile, are critical of Cruz, with only half holding a favorable impression of him. […] Trump, passionately supported and deeply reviled in different corners of the electorate, has extended his reach among Republicans since the last USC/Los Angeles Times poll was taken in September. He now has the support of 37% of GOP voters surveyed, up from 24%." (Los Angeles Times, March 27, 2016)