Donald Trump was able to pull off a political upset for the ages in 2016 on the strength of winning midwest states normally not in play for Republicans, but now new polls show some potentially troubling signs in those states for his 2020 re-election bid.
A new series of polls from Hill-HarrisX found that Trump’s approval rating is sinking in the region that put him over the top in 2016. Trump’s approval in these states fell to 40 percent in the latest poll, down sharply from the 54 percent approval when the last polls were taken in October and December. A majority of voters in the Midwest now disapprove of Trump, with 60 percent saying the president is doing a bad job in office.
The numbers reflect a national downward trend for President Trump, as his approval ratings have been on the decline since the government shutdown that stretched through December and January, which a majority of voters blamed on Trump.
“When it gets down to it, the president is going to get re-elected or defeated on a state-by-state basis,” Chris Wilson, chief strategist at WPA Intelligence, said in an interview on Hill.TV. “So the numbers I’m most concerned about are those in states like Michigan, and Pennsylvania, and Iowa, and Wisconsin. States that he won last time that Republicans hadn’t won in a long time.”
The poll also found that Donald Trump’s approval rating is sinking even in traditionally red areas. In the south, where Trump won solidly in 2016, his approval fell from 52 percent in July to 46 percent in the latest poll.
There are signs of potential trouble in other regions as well. A University of New Hampshire poll found that in the Granite State, 68 percent of Republican voters polled would back Trump in a hypothetical Republican primary matchup against Ohio Gov. John Kasich and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld. The Hill noted that both are considering mounting a challenge to Trump for the Republican nomination.
While the number would still give Donald Trump a victory in a hypothetical primary, political experts say the number shows a potential weakness for Trump as nearly one-third of Republican voters may be seeking an alternative. Other statewide polls have shown similar numbers for Trump, and while he would still likely breeze through a hypothetical Republican primary, they could point to softening support among Republicans that could lead to some sitting out the 2020 election and making the road to victory more difficult.