Largely white suburban voters appear to be turning their backs on Donald Trump, even though they are the very voters who gave the president wins in key states, an analysis by NBC News revealed on Monday. This comes years after these voters supposedly enabled him to win the 2016 presidential election in the Electoral College despite losing the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton,
Election experts quoted by The Hill say that Trump will need to win those suburban voters again in 2020 to have a chance of duplicating his 2016 Electoral College victory and winning reelection. But based on polling results cited by NBC News, Trump remains “underwater” with those voters. That means his disapproval rating is higher than his approval rating, and that spells trouble for Trump in 2020.
In five of six NBC News/Wall Street Journal approval rating polls conducted so far this year, Trump’s approval rating has come out significantly lower than his disapproval rating with suburban voters. Only in May did Trump get his head above water — by nine points — with voters in America’s suburbs. But in June, he sank back to a negative rating, with his disapproval eight points higher than his approval, according to NBC News. Trump recovered somewhat in July but remained three points underwater in the NBC/WSJ polling.
Losin' the suburbs: In the six national NBC/WSJ polls conducted this year, Trump's job rating has been underwater among suburban residents — with just one exception.
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) August 12, 2019
“We are a long way off from November 2020, but my general sense is that it is going to be very tough for him to reverse the Democratic trends in the suburbs,” Franklin & Marshall College professor and polling expert Terry Madonna told The Hill.
According to NBC News, Trump could face particular peril in the states of Arizona, Georgia, and Texas– three states that went to Trump in 2016, and that have large numbers of suburban voters. Trump won all three states by comfortable margins in 2016, with Arizona the closest at a 4.1 percentage point spread between Trump and Clinton, according to statistics from Politico.
But if suburban voters abandon Trump, as appears to be happening according to the NBC/WSJ polls, even those three “red” states could come into play for the 2020 presidential election. If results in all other states remain the same as in 2016, the 2020 Democratic candidate would need to “flip” Texas and just one of the other two aforementioned states in order to top the 270 electoral votes required to win the election. Texas has 36 electoral votes, per 270toWin.com, while Arizona and Georgia carry 11 and 16 respectively.
If the 2020 Democratic candidate loses Texas but wins both Arizona and Georgia, that candidate would need 16 additional electoral votes, which could come from Michigan, another state with large blocs of suburban voters. In 2016, Trump won Michigan by a mere two-tenths of one percentage point, or 10,704 votes, which CNN noted is the closest presidential vote in the state’s history.
Michigan comes with 16 electoral votes, meaning that if the 2020 Democratic nominee flipped Arizona, Georgia, and Michigan — but no other states — the Democrat would collect 270 electoral votes and win the presidency.