President Donald Trump’s approval ratings have dipped in every state — even ones that won him the election.
Two polls tracking Trump’s approval rating since January show the president has grown increasingly unpopular in the eight months he’s been in office, even in deeply red states and swing states.
According to a Morning Consult survey of more than 470,000 Americans, a majority of voters in 25 states and the District of Columbia view the president unfavorably — including states like Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, which swung from Barack Obama to Trump in 2016 to give him the Electoral College votes to win.
These results are consistent with findings from a separate survey of 15,000 rural Americans conducted by Reuters/Ipsos, which found Trump’s approval ratings slipping in areas largely considered to be the archetype of Trump country.
To be sure, deep pockets of Trump support still exist: Rural America still supports Trump more so than any other region in the country, and majorities in deeply red places like Alabama, Wyoming, and West Virginia still view Trump favorably.
Even so, his unpopularity is well-documented and historic. He was among the least favorable presidential candidates in history and continues to have among the lowest approval ratings as president. He hasn’t had much success in flipping that narrative. If a president’s favorability gives any indication of his party’s midterm successes or failures, as has been true in the past, this could be an opening for Democrats, who are facing an otherwise terrible congressional election map in 2018.
What the polls are saying
Approval ratings are volatile at best — only late last month, Trump’s popularity was increasing slightly. But overall, the polls have painted a bleak picture for the president, who has run a scandal-plagued administration thus far void of any real legislative victories in Congress.
“Fifty-five percent of respondents in Michigan said they disapproved of Trump, as did 53 percent in Wisconsin and Iowa and 51 percent in Pennsylvania,” the Morning Consult poll found.
The negative swings were deeper on partisan lines, but are showing through even in red states:
The negative swings in net approval ranged from as high as 30 percentage points in solidly blue Illinois and New York to as low as 11 points in red Louisiana. But in many of the states Trump easily carried last year — such as Tennessee (-23 points), Mississippi (-21 percentage points), Kentucky (-20 points), Kansas (-19 points) and Indiana (-17 points) — voters have soured on the president in 2017.
Even among Trump’s most consistent areas of support, there’s a counternarrative at play. West Virginia, for example, has deep and seemingly unwavering support for Trump. But while his approval ratings have been steady in the state, his disapproval ratings are on the rise. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who’s up for reelection in 2018, also has had a higher approval rating than Trump throughout 2017.
As the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed, voters in so-called Trump country are reacting to the president’s lack of action on health care and immigration:
In September, 47 percent of people in non-metro areas approved of Trump while 47 percent disapproved. That is down from Trump’s first four weeks in office, when 55 percent said they approved of the president while 39 percent disapproved.
The poll found that Trump has lost support in rural areas among men, whites and people who never went to college. He lost support with rural Republicans and rural voters who supported him on Election Day.
So far in Washington, it’s still unclear whether Trump will be able to deliver on any of his major campaign promises. Tax reform is already facing major obstacles, Obamacare repeal has now failed dramatically and publicly in Congress on multiple occasions, Democrats have successfully been able to stall funding for the border wall — for now — and Trump’s administration has been mired in scandal and corruption allegations.
It’s still early, but this certainly isn’t a good sign for Republicans in 2018
There’s no question that Trump has already made things difficult for the Republican Party at large in Washington. In several special elections to fill seats vacated by appointed Cabinet officials, Republicans had to pour in millions more in campaign dollars to beat Democrats by notably smaller margins than before.
Trump’s fumbles, scandals, and Twitter tirades have continually faced a barrage of criticism from members of his own party. There’s a growing contingent of moderate to conservative Republican lawmakers who say Trump makes their jobs more difficult.
As Vox’s Andrew Prokop explained, if Trump’s approval ratings stay this low — or get lower — Republicans could be facing a steep challenge in the 2018 midterm elections.
Based on historical data on midterm elections, Trump’s low approval ratings are “well within the range of presidents who have lost 20 to 50 House seats. So if it stays around there, we should expect a rough result for him in the midterms,” Prokop writes, although there is plenty of time for things to change.
To be clear, Democrats are facing a much more difficult congressional map in 2018 than Republicans are. They will be defending a consequential 25 seats in the Senate, compared to Republicans’ eight — and ten of those seats are in states Trump won in 2016. Even in the House, Democrats would have to pull off several impressive wins to win the 24 seats they need to take over Congress’s lower chamber.
Even so, these polls are certainly not a good sign for the president’s party.