Thursday, August 10, 2017

Trump Fades in the Rust Belt

Gallup data show Trump's approval fading, including in key Rust Belt states:

These data, based on 80,000 interviews by Gallup this year through the end of June, show that significant damage is being done to Trump's support in key Rust Belt and other states the GOP needs to carry to be successful in 2020. 

Ron Brownstein has a good analysis of these data in his latest CNN column. He notes:
On one front, Trump faces undiminished resistance from minority voters, who opposed him in preponderant numbers last year. On the second, he is confronting a consistent -- and, in many states, precipitous -- decline in support from white-collar white voters, who expressed much more skepticism about him last fall than GOP presidential candidates usually face. From the third direction, Trump's support among working-class whites, while still robust, is receding from its historically elevated peak back toward a level more typical for Republican presidential candidates -- especially in the pivotal Rust Belt states that sealed his victory….
[T]hese poll results challenge the conclusion that Trump's political base has remained impregnable across the traditionally decisive swing states in presidential politics -- as well as several other states that each side hopes to put into play by 2020. "The implications going forward are fairly problematic," says long-time Republican pollster Glen Bolger. "He doesn't have a lot of room to drop, and yet he is."
Trump is confronting approval ratings well below 50% in [some] states with marquee Senate races -- including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Florida (where Democrats are attempting to hold seats) as well as Nevada and Arizona (where Republican incumbents could face their most serious challenges.)
[I]n the Gallup results, Trump's approval rating among college-educated whites has declined relative to his 2016 vote in all 13 states. In seven of those states, his approval rating stands at least 10 points lower than his vote --a list topped by North Carolina and Florida (both 19 points lower), Georgia (18 points lower), Ohio (15 points), Virginia (12 points), and Michigan and Minnesota (11 points each.) His approval rating among these white-collar whites reaches above 50% only in Texas and Georgia, and exceeds 45% in just two other states, Nevada and Arizona. In seven states, his approval among these well-educated white voters has tumbled to 40 percent or less. (That includes four states essential to his victory: North Carolina, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.)
[Trump’s] standing [among working class whites] represents an erosion from his 2016 vote among blue-collar whites in 12 of those states; in five of them, he's declined by double-digits. Perhaps most important are the trends in four of the Rust Belt states that proved decisive last year: Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. In all of them exit polls found Trump won between 62 and 64% of non-college whites. In each case, that was a substantial increase from Romney's performance with those voters in 2012, when former President Barack Obama carried the states.
Strikingly, though, Trump's job approval among working-class whites in each of those states has now receded to match, or even slightly trail, the level of support they provided Romney when he lost the same states to Obama. In Wisconsin, for instance, Trump's approval among whites without a college degree now stands at 51%, close to Romney's 53% vote share in 2012 but far below Trump's own 62%. Likewise, in Pennsylvania, Trump is now at 55% approval with non-college whites, almost exactly Romney's 56% vote in 2012, but well below the president's 64% among them. 
 A fade to Romney levels of support in these states would be extremely problematic for the GOP. This is a trend to keep an eye on. 

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