Trump's favorable rating is hovering the mid-30s in the Rust Belt, roughly the same as on Election Day
About one in five Trump voters nationally in 2016 had an unfavorable view of him
A new poll in Rust Belt states over the weekend had some stark news for President Donald Trump: His job approval was under 40%. Only about a quarter said they were proud of him. Broad majorities said they were embarrassed.
But his favorable ratings? They are basically the same as what they were on Election Day.
The new numbers from a NBC/Marist survey show that the President’s favorable numbers look very, very similar to where they were almost 10 months ago when he was elected.
Trump’s favorable rating was 39% in Michigan, 35% in Wisconsin and 42% in Pennsylvania on Election Day among those who came out to vote, according to exit polls. Those numbers are now 34% in Michigan, 32% in Wisconsin and 35% in Pennsylvania among all voters. Plus, Trump’s unfavorable ratings are within 3 percentage points of his Election Day ratings.
But these numbers may even be closer than they appear. The NBC/Marist poll is among all registered voters – a group that tends to lean a little more Democratic than the actual electorate because core Democratic groups turn out at slightly lower rates than core Republican groups.
So if we do a little back-of-the-envelope weighting to match the party splits of the NBC/Marist poll to the party splits of the people who actually showed up for the 2016 election, it pegs all three Rust Belt favorable and unfavorable ratings at or within the margin of error.
(If anything, Trump’s favorability numbers have dropped just slightly, especially in Pennsylvania.)
Trump won the White House by defeating Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in these three states – which hadn’t been won by a Republican presidential candidate in decades – by a mere combined 78,000 votes. The NBC survey was taken after the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, and during Trump’s several responses to the incident.
So why is Trump’s favorable rating so much lower than his proportion of the vote – roughly 46 percent of people nationally? It’s easy to forget that almost a quarter of Rust Belt voters who ended up pulling the lever for Trump were holding their noses while they did it.
Indeed, exit polls from the 2016 election showed that about one in five Trump voters nationally cast their ballots for him even though they didn’t like him, trust him, think he was qualified or had the temperament to do the job.
This means one in 10 voters overall in Michigan and Pennsylvania and one in eight voters in Wisconsin cast their ballots for Trump even though they had an unfavorable view of him. Note: Clinton had a similar problem with her supporters, though she had about half as many voters who viewed her unfavorably as Trump did.
Trump won among people who didn’t like both candidates by 20 to 30 percentage points in each Rust Belt state.
The NBC/Marist survey was taken from August 13-17, 2017 among 795, 773 and 801 registered voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, respectively. The margin of error is ±3.5 percentage points in all three states.