If there is one way President Trump has brought people together, its in their disapproval of him — even his most ardent supporters.
An average of polling data shows that 59 percent of Americans think the country is on the wrong track, 55 percent disapprove of his job performance, and 56 percent view him unfavorably. New data suggests that these percentages even include red-state voters who cast their ballots for Donald Trump last November.
But while polls are national, elections happen at the state level, and the winner of the popular vote doesn’t always win the election, as has been shown dramatically in the last twenty years. And President Trump’s electoral map hasn’t shaken up too much — at least, not until now. Political statisticians at FiveThirtyEight report that Trump is starting to lose ground among his red-state supporters.
While Trump has lost supporters in every state since the election, some of the most dramatic shifts are seen in Wyoming, Oklahoma, and Idaho. Some states that voted for him have swung to the “unfavorable” column, according to FiveThirtyEight’s statistics, including Indiana, Utah, Texas and North Carolina.
But the more interesting and telling data point is that in states President Trump won by a margin of at least ten points, he’s down an average of eighteen. The more a state liked him in the election, generally speaking, the more it currently is souring on him.
This could be the strongest indicator yet that Trump is losing his grip on his base.
In fairness, it also could mean not a whole lot.
Trump outperformed polling in the general election, which he was widely expected to lose. However, he also beat his polling in Midwestern states, which in FiveThirtyEight’s sample appear to match his performance in the election.
More likely, the site posits, these numbers reflect not an eroding of his support, but how weak that support was to begin with, pointing to the prevalence of ‘Reluctant Trump Voters’, who disapproved of him but voted for him despite misgivings.
This could bode poorly for Republicans in the upcoming midterm elections, which are often seen as referendums on the party in power. Watching how normally safe races in red states go will show just how reluctant the Reluctant Trump Voter has become.
Katelyn Kivel is a journalist and political scientist from Kalamazoo, Michigan who has specialized in law, policy and government reporting over the course of her career. Follow her on Twitter @katelynkivel.