For all the fuss that’s been made over Donald Trump, manufacturing, the white working class, and the Rust Belt, the latest poll analysis from Nate Silver has Trump doing worse than Mitt Romney in Ohio, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Minnesota.
In part, that’s simply because Trump is broadly unpopular. But his weakness in the Midwest is partially offset by the fact that he’s doing better than Romney in a cluster of Southwestern states, including Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico:
If the Republican nominee were Marco Rubio, the straightforward explanation would be that his ethnic background plus his embrace of comprehensive immigration reform was helping him outperform Romney in states with large Hispanic populations but was hurting him with Midwestern white working-class voters.
But of course the Republican nominee isn’t Marco Rubio — it’s Donald Trump.
Still, it's the case that his strongest swing states are ones with large Latino populations in the Southwest, where, one can assume, he is benefiting from a white backlash against growing Latino political power.
Trump is also massively outperforming Romney in a series of deep blue Northeastern states — Connecticut (11.3 points), New York (6.7 points), New Jersey (6.4 points) — where politics has long been deeply racialized and where local Republicans are relatively non-ideological.
The Midwestern industrial states that are supposedly the locus of the economic anxiety that allegedly fueled Trump’s rise, however, seem to actually find him less congenial than Romney — for the perhaps obvious reason that, unlike Romney, Trump lacks any kind of conventional qualification for high office.