Currently playing on patch 1.02 on Genius difficulty. I'd already finished my first game of GC4 on 1.01 on Bright difficulty (~12-14 hrs of gameplay, just learning all the new mechanics). I've played an extensive amount of GC2 and GC3 in the past (many years ago).
For my second game, I've been paying much more attention to modifiers in order to optimize my early game. However, I'm an hour in and scratching my head because I appointed a Minister of Colonization (with 9 social) and took Self-Governance under the Liberty tree with my first culture point, so I'm expecting a +19% approval bonus on my planets. However, neither of these modifiers are present for my citizens' approval ratings on any of my colonies. Double and triple checked, nada on any of my citizens on any of my planets.
Ok, so I go to my civilization overview screen (with the policies) and I have an Approval of 81% with medium tax rate. If I remove my Minister of Colonization with a +9% approval bonus, this approval rating drops to 78%. However, dropping this down to 78% doesn't seem to affect my citizens' approval ratings in any way, since they have their own individual calculations with their modifiers. For context, my citizens' approval ratings range from 55-77% when my Civ Approval is at 81%, and they stay the same when my Civ Approval drops to 78% after removing my minister. Therefore, I have no idea what this 81% Civ Approval even means since it doesn't show up anywhere mechanically. This figure is also very funky, for example, if I increase from Medium to High Tax rate, what should be a -17% approval hit instead takes my 81% approval down to 41%, because my "Taxes are Too High" modifier goes from -9% to -53% on most of my citizens, when I'm expecting it to go from -9% to -28%.
Similarly, I took Eureka with my 2nd culture point, and I don't seem to get any approval bonus to any of my citizens. It's also unclear whether it has any effect on the Civ Approval.
As an experienced GC2/GC3 player and someone who's already logged ~15 hours now into GC4, none of this makes any sense to me and it's impossible to optimize my play if such a core mechanic is so opaque and non-intuitive. If a dev could please explain how Colony Approval Bonus works and how Civ Screen Approval works, and how all of that factors into Citizen Approval, that would be very helpful.