It’s a year since Donald Trump was elected. We take a look at how his performance compares with Barack Obama’s at the same point in his presidency.

Approval ratings: bad news for Trump and a relative win for Obama

Gallup says the most recent polling (Oct 30 to Nov 5 2017) puts Trump’s approval rating at just 38%, compared to 51% for Obama in his first November in office.

The average rating for all presidents since 1938 at this stage of their tenure is 53%.

Number of federal investigations associated with the president: 5 for Trump versus 0 for Obama

There are currently five federal investigations underway associated with Trump, compared to none for Mr Obama at this point in his presidency. Here are the Trump probes:

1. Robert Mueller is investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections and possible collusion by the Trump campaign

2. The House intelligence committee is investigating allegations against former national security advisor Michael Flynn

3. The Senate intelligence committee is investigating Russia’s involvement in the 2016 elections and possible collusion by the Trump campaign

4. The House oversight committee is investigating the firing of FBI director James Comey

5. The Senate judiciary committee is investigating the White House and Michael Flynn’s departure

Bills passed: a narrow win for Obama

Generally, being able to get legislation through is a good indicator of a president’s ability to get stuff done.

Obama had managed to sign 89 bills into law between taking office in January 2009 and the first anniversary of his election (4 November). So far, Trump has signed 81 bills.

Executive orders: Trump has signed 33 per cent more executive orders than Obama in his first year

Trump has signed 52 executive orders – legal directives issued by the president rather than through Congress – since taking office, compared to Obama’s 39 orders by this point in his presidency.

That’s a bit awkward, given Mr Trump criticised Obama on at least six occasions for making executive orders. In January 2016, he said “we have a president that can’t get anything done so he just keeps signing executive orders all over the place”.

Staff retention: Trump unable to keep hold of senior White House officials

The Trump White House has seen a lot of high profile resignations and sackings in the president’s first year in office.

For example, Trump’s Chief of Staff – Reince Priebus – was the shortest-serving occupant of that post in history, clocking up just 189 days. That’s in contrast to 620 days for Obama’s first Chief of Staff.

Both presidents had a short-lived first Communications Director. Trump actually held onto his for slightly longer – 134 days compared to 92 days for Obama’s.

However, Mr Trump has already chewed through three people in this post, including Anthony Scaramucci who left after just 10 days – before he could officially be sworn in.

Obama’s first Press Secretary also outstripped Trump’s – lasting 753 days, rather than 182.

The economy: a mixed picture, but neither can take credit

Mr Trump appears to be doing better than Mr Obama on unemployment and inflation (the negative inflation the US saw in 2009 was actually a bad thing; this year’s modest inflation is preferable).

But Mr Obama was in a better place on GDP growth by the end of his first year in office – 3.5 per cent compared to Trump’s 3 per cent.

That said, all of these figures are “lagging indicators” – they reflect the economic decisions made six months or a year before. So Trump can’t really take credit for today’s relatively low rate of unemployment – nor can Obama take the blame for what appears to be his worse performance on inflation.

Update: a previous version of this article said Barack Obama passed 33 executive orders in his first year. In fact, it was 39. 

Article topics

,