Approval Ratings

is there a way to curb up approval ratings at the beginning of the game? starting with 7% in some cases is ridiculous, it should be between 40-60%

There is no automatic way to do this. The exact starting levels depend on the poltiical makeup of each voter group combined with the starting policies. You can adjust the starting levels of all policies by editing the mission files (they are just text files under the missions directory)