Fact check: Has Trump ever fallen into historic lows for a president's approval ratings?

A recent Fox News article claims “Trump has never fallen into historic lows for a president’s approval ratings[…]” (Re, 2020). Surely that statement must be misleading if not flat-out wrong…

(this is a GQ question put in the P&E forum because of the topic)

Re, Gregg. (2020, Jan 10). “Trump, at Ohio rally, says Democrats would have leaked Soleimani attack plans.” Fox News. Retrieved January 10, 2020 from https://www.foxnews.com/politics/trump-toledo-ohio-rally-iran-impeachment


I am not sure what that even means. What is the definition of historic lows? During his presidency, Trump approval ratings have been lower than the last 12 presidents for most of the time. Five Thirty Eight has plots showing a comparison of the approval ratings here:

538 Presidential Approval, from Truman to Trump

Scroll down to see the plots.

Several presidents have had lower approval ratings. So he hasn’t hit “historic lows” from that perspective. On the other hand, I believe most of those presidents also had periods where they had relatively high support - George W. went from 90% in September of 2001 to ~25% by the end of his second term. Trump’s never once breached 50%, even the day he was elected. Not sure how much precedent there is for that.

It’s like comparing two football teams. Team A has consistently gone 3-13 every season. Team B has won multiple Super Bowls but also had an 0-16 season. Yes, technically Team A never had a bad of a season as Team B.

Okay. So I’m going to chalk this up to “very misleading” or three Pinnochios or whatever. The Fox article could have been better written as, “Trump has never fallen below Harry Truman’s record-low approval rating of 22%, but…

I would imagine Andrew Johnson never had popular support, but he probably pre-dates approval rating polls.