Trump’s base is showing some cracks

February 12, 2018

White men without a college degree remain President Donald Trump’s base—even if that foundation is showing some cracks, according to findings of some 171,000 survey interviews conducted by Gallup during 2017.

The POTUS retains 60% or more of the white, male, blue-collar vote in most states—except for Michigan, Colorado and Minnesota, where he continues to retain a slighter majority among the same demographic.

Last week, Gallup released Trump’s average approval rating in all 50 states in 2017, which stands at 38%, or close to the 40% Gallup recorded for him in its latest weekly finding (see TrumpTally).

Trump averaged 50% or higher approval in 12 states in total, primarily in the states where he received the most votes in the 2016 election. In addition to West Virginia, the states where at least half the respondents approved of the president included several western states (Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Alaska),a few southern states (Oklahoma, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas) and two Midwestern states (North and South Dakota).

He earned between 40% and 49% approval—above his national average—in 20 states. These were predominantly in the Midwest and South, and included several of the key rust belt states that were critical to his 2016 victory: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Fewer than 40% of respondents approved of Trump in the remaining 18 states, 14 of which are located in the East and West—his worst performing regions in the election. In addition to Vermont (26%), his ratings were particularly low (below 30%) in Massachusetts (27%), California (29%) and Hawaii (29%). Maryland, New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island round out the states where fewer than one-third of the respondents approved of the president’s performance.

Altogether, Trump received approval ratings above his 38% national average in 33 states and below it in 17.

The imbalance reflects the fact that the bottom group includes some of the most populous states in the nation, particularly California, New York and Illinois. By contrast, most of the states with 50% or higher approval of Trump are among the least populous—the exceptions being Tennessee and Kentucky.

Trump averaged the lowest first-year approval rating of any president in Gallup history, and lagged Barack Obama’s 57% first-year rating by nearly 20 points. Naturally, this is reflected in Trump’s state-level ratings, with only 12 states giving him 50% or higher approval, compared with 41 for Obama in 2009.

The 50% mark is an important threshold in presidential election years for presidents seeking a second term, as it correlates strongly with reelection. Popular presidents also tend to weather midterm election years with fewer party losses in Congress.


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