Trump’s approval rating has fallen in every state, but not as much in the South

The Southern strategy.
The Southern strategy.
Image: Reuters/Carlos Barria
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Donald Trump is less popular than when he was elected. Everywhere.

According to surveys conducted by Morning Consult, in every US state, Donald Trump’s net approval rating in May 2018—the share of people who approve of the job he is doing minus those that disapprove—was down from when he entered office. Even in the states where Trump remains quite popular, his net approval has fallen.

The states where Trump’s approval rating has fallen the least

Trump’s fall in popularity is not unusual. Political analysts at FiveThirtyEight point out that in the first year of his presidency, Barack Obama’s popularity also fell in every state. Presidents typically start out popular, and get less so over their tenure.

Still, it is interesting to note the patterns where the US president is holding ground. Trump seems to be retaining approval in the states where he was most popular initially. In four of the five states where Trump’s popularity fell least, his net approval was greater than 20 points when he entered office. Maryland is the exception. Trump was so unpopular from the beginning, with a 13 point net disapproval, he didn’t have far to fall.

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The places where Trump has lost the most popularity are more varied. The list includes New Mexico, Utah, and Oklahoma, where Trump was originally quite popular. But it also includes Illinois, New York, and Vermont, states where Trump was barely given the benefit of the doubt, or was already unpopular.

Washington DC is an anomaly. The district’s net disapproval rate was far higher than any state from the beginning, and has only plummeted since. Only 19% of Washingtonians approved of the president in May.

The states where Trump’s approval rating has fallen the most

Trends in Trump’s approval are also regional. So far, his popularity has been most resilient in the South. Alabama, Louisiana, West Virginia South Carolina, and Georgia are all among the 10 states where Trump has lost the least popularity. This is likely because this area of the country is most polarized, largely on racial lines. Whites in these states are very likely to vote Republican and blacks for Democrats, with little change depending on candidate. Essentially, this means Trump’s popularity is most steady where there is nobody to convince.