The latest Trump approval numbers, state by state

President Donald Trump’s approval has gone down in every state.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Donald Trump’s approval has gone down in every state.

Comparing January of 2017 (the month Donald Trump solemnly swore “to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America”) to today, Trump’s net approval number has gone down in all 50 states – and in most cases by quite a bit — according to an agglomeration of state-by-state approval numbers by Morning Consult.

In 43 states (plus the District of Columbia), the drop has been double digits. In 15 states the drop has been 20 percentage points or more. In two states (New York and New Mexico), the decline was 30 or more percentage points.

As regular readers of this space know, I am somewhat obsessed with Trump’s approval ratings. About once a month, I write an approval rating update and it almost always says that Trump’s national approval rating number has remained about the same. And this is true in the latest check-in.

According to Gallup’s fresh weekly number, published Monday, Trump’s disapprovers outnumber his approvers by 56 percent to 40 percent. The HuffPost and FiveThirtyEight, both of which construct an average of many polls, have Trump’s disapprover/approver numbers, as of this morning, at 50.9/43.1 and 51.8/42 respectively. Given margins for error, the difference in all three is insignificant.

All of them are bad numbers for Trump. They are not exactly historically terrible. Several recent presidents have been in that approval/disapproval range halfway through their term. The unusual thing about Trump is that his numbers settled into that range within a couple of weeks of his inauguration. And, although they move from week to week, they haven’t moved much since about April of 2017. Considering how he has conducted himself, I remain somewhat perplexed by the loyalty of his supporters. But if approval poll numbers are a reasonable measure, there’s no denying the existence of that loyal 40 percent.

But in order to change up the basic redundancy of my monthly approval rating reports, I’ll focus today on the Morning Consult analysis, because it consists of state-by-state numbers and, as you know, because of our strange Electoral College system, presidential election outcomes depend on state-by-state outcomes.

Unlike Gallup and many of the other famous poll operations, Morning Consult relies on internet polling, but has been rated among the most accurate national poll operations. In 2016, it predicted Hillary Clinton would win the national popular vote by 3 percent. She won the national popular vote by 2.1 percent. But, as you know, Trump’s close wins in six key swing states turned it into a 306-232 Electoral College majority for him.

(By the way: Trump – whom some believe combines a colossal ego with a fundamental disrespect for factual accuracy — likes to talk about his electoral vote margin as having been a “massive landslide.” In fact, his electoral vote margin was the 46th biggest among the 58 presidential elections in history. Among those who won with a larger portion of electoral vote, just in the 20th and 21st centuries were Franklin D. Roosevelt (four times) Ronald Reagan (twice), Bill Clinton (twice) Barack Obama (twice), Dwight D. Eisenhower (twice) Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, George H.W Bush, Calvin Coolidge, Theodore Roosevelt, William McKinley and William Howard Taft. (Plenty more if we go back to George Washington, the only one ever to win 100 percent of the electoral vote.)

Anyway, in fairness to Trump, it’s worth noting that in the comparison published by Morning Consult, it compared Trump’s current approval numbers to those on his Inauguration Day, and those were the highest that his approval ratings have ever been. Call it the rally ‘round the flag effect. His national approval rating numbers fell below water (meaning more disapprovers than approvers) during his first week actually on the job and have stayed underwater ever since.

The main takeaway from the Morning Consult numbers, though, is that Trump’s approval has gone down in every state. He still has a positive approval rating – meaning more approvers than disapprovers — in 24 states and an even approval/disapproval number in one, which is, importantly, Ohio, one of the key swing states in most recent elections.

But his net approval number since inauguration day (meaning his approval minus his disapproval) has gone down in every single state and is now even in Ohio and below water in all the other swing states.

Trump won the election (aside from various reasons that we’ll leave for another day) by narrowly carrying five key swing states (Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina and Wisconsin) and fairly easily winning two other states once considered close (Ohio and Iowa).

I’ll give you numbers below. But candor requires that I clarify one problem with comparing Trump’s current approval numbers in several states with how much support he received on Election Day 2016. Undoubtedly some voters supported Trump on Election Day not because they approved of him a general sense but only because they preferred him over Clinton. I don’t think there’s any way to adjust the data below to reflect that difference.

Still, in case he runs and is nominated for a second term (I admit I have no idea about that), an underwater approval in many key swing states will certainly be extra baggage to carry. So, with that cautionary note, here are the breakdowns of the vote percentages in the key 2016 states, followed by Trump’s Morning Consult approval rating for him in those states in January of 2017, followed by the most recent Morning Consult of his ratings in those states:

State (Electoral Votes)Trump- Clinton %Trump approve/ disapprove Jan ’17Trump approve/ disapprove Nov ’18Net change
Florida (29)49.0 - 47.856 / 3447 / 49-22
Pennsylvania (20)48.2 - 47.549 / 3946 / 51-15
Ohio (18)51.7 - 43.651 / 3748 / 48-14
Michigan (16)47.5 - 47.348 / 4043 / 52-17
North Carolina (15)49.8 - 46.253 / 3549 / 47-16
Wisconsin (10)47.2 - 46.547 / 4143 / 53-16
Iowa (6)51.1 - 41.749 / 4044 / 52-17

Comments (14)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 12/12/2018 - 03:30 pm.

    So the question is:
    Will 20 Republican Senators decide that they’d rather run along side Pence than Trump in 2020? If so, impeachment is a real possibility.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 12/12/2018 - 10:36 pm.

    What about the popularity of Trump in the Kremlin, hmmm?

    Per a piece in Salon, the plea deal by Maria Butina, (erstwhile gun enthusiast and NRA fan), means that the Russians no longer view Trump as a useful sub-rosa tool in a coming era of oversight, but will gain from the chaos of letting the 40 percenters in on the long-denied secret Russia-palooza of interference and under-the-table funding.

  3. Submitted by Arthur Himmelman on 12/12/2018 - 10:38 pm.

    The validity of political polling is “uneven” at best. More importantly, it is a distraction from far more important matters related to elections. Like so-called “breaking news,” polling is essentially a marketing tool for media to increase market share and revenue. Political campaigns would be more tolerable if political polling was greatly reduced.

    • Submitted by Mark Lange on 12/17/2018 - 02:48 am.

      Political polling is as valid a science as the marketing research employed by firms like Gallup who endeavor 365 days a year to earn an honest living doing marketing research. Gallup does much more than Presidential approval ratings & its clients would evaporate quickly if they were providing dishonest results. Those know-nothings like Fatty Limbaugh think that they have proven that these survey results are fixed are ignorant liars. In fact while the challenge for any marketing researcher is defining their sample accurately, for political polling that is usually who a likely voter is, has less to do with party affliction & more about demographics, the forces that really shape a person’s attitudes & opinions.

  4. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 12/13/2018 - 07:52 am.

    How long will those dedicated to Trump continue to support him when they realize they have been bamboozled by Trump and that he is likely a criminal. What will cause them to drop Trump. Trump is a womanizer – nope, still with him. Trump is a demonstrable liar – nope, still with him. Trump runs the government by tweet storm – nope, still with him. Many in Trump’s inner circle are convicted criminals or charged with major crimes – nope, still with him. Trump has alienated the rest of the world – nope, still with him. Trump is the laughingstock of the world – nope, still with him. Trump is willing to do major damage to the environment – nope, still with him. Trump added 2 trillion to the US debt – nope, still with him. Trump is a fraud – nope, still with him. Trump asked Secretary of State Tillerson to do things that would be illegal – nope, still with him. Trump doesn’t believe in the freedom of speech, freedom of the press or freedom of religion – nope, still with him. Trump lacks empathy and common decency – nope, still with him. Trump generates false conspiracy theories – nope, still with him. Trump is willing to jeopardize his own relatives by taking them down the rabbit hole with him – nope, still with him. Trump states a “Caravan” is coming to our southern border with rapist, murders, and middle easterners, FALSE – nope, still with him. Trump hires illegal aliens to work for him – nope, still with him. Trump lacks fiscal responsibility – nope, still with him. Trump doesn’t have a clue how to be president – nope, still with him. Trump’s base is played as suckers because all that matters to Trump is Trump – nope, still with him. Trump fixer get 3 years in prison – nope, still with him.
    When you look at what Trump’s base is willing to overlook it says a whole lot about the character of his base. Some of Trump’s partners in crime have received jail sentences, some significant and some not. That can only lead you to believe. In the end, Trump will be getting a big number when it comes to years to serve. Trump will look good in orange with numbers on his back making the majority of American’s happy.

  5. Submitted by Bob Barnes on 12/13/2018 - 04:16 pm.

    And yet he has the exact same numbers as Obama had at the same point in his first term.

    • Submitted by Mark Lange on 12/17/2018 - 02:23 am.

      Obama had the worst recession in history affecting his approval rating plus an anabashed Republican Party which sought to demonize everything the Obama’s did including providing healthy lunches to school kids. Trump was given a healthy growing economy & the end of war in Iraq & Afghanistan. To understand the difference between the 2 admins you must compare Obama’s final year(s) to Trump’s first year(s) when the economy is similar not dissimilar. .

  6. Submitted by david kemp on 12/14/2018 - 01:59 am.

    Its shameful anyone approves of this presidency. Apparently the great America everyone is concerned with remaking wasn’t great because of “truth, justice and the American way”. Sorry superman, you’ll have to look elsewhere.

  7. Submitted by Sheila Kihne on 12/14/2018 - 10:17 am.

    I wonder what the approval numbers would be for the woman who– magically– was “unable to locate” thirteen devices she used as Secretary of State that contained sensitive data. Of course the FBI cleared her of any wrongdoing. What a joke our DOJ has become.

    I’d like to get this straight– Congress can use our tax dollars to pay off anybody accusing a politician of sexual harassment– and all the details of the settlement are kept secret, hidden from the taxpayers, including the Congress member’s name—– but a private citizen pays a woman accusing them of having an affair and we get to use the FBI to raid the office of the attorney who made the payment as we’re entitled to the information? Give me a break.

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 12/14/2018 - 11:56 am.

      I’d like to get this straight: Making illegal campaign contributions, such as having your personal bagman forward 130 large through a Delaware LLC to a porn star so she doesn’t embarrass your campaign, is a crime.

      Hush money is not a settlement of a harassment claim. Give me a break.

    • Submitted by Mark Lange on 12/17/2018 - 02:36 am.

      The devices were destroyed as she replaced them. This is in keeping with US guidelines on protecting classified info. When a device is retired it must be erased but to ensure that the device can never be read by foreign actors smashing the device is best because makes it impossible to read old data. Her staff knew how to retire old devices.

      When an act violates applicable laws the fed law enforcement must investigate. That Trump paid off some women that he had affairs with is unimportant. That the Trump campaign received assistance keeping potential news stories secret to further his candidacy & the campaign donations were never reported is a violation of campaign finance laws. That is akin to rigging an election

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