How Donald Trump is losing his core supporters

People who live in counties that voted for Trump do not believe the country is getting better

Published November 8, 2017 10:24AM (EST)

Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attend a "Spirit of America" rally in Denver February 27, 2017.     (Reuters/Rick Wilking)
Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attend a "Spirit of America" rally in Denver February 27, 2017. (Reuters/Rick Wilking)

The devastating defeat for President Trump and the GOP in the elections Tuesday seemed to be a rejection of their politics. A new poll from NBC News and the Wall Street Journal confirmed that Trump's first year in office likely played a role in the GOP's resounding loss. The poll found that a plurality of Americans who live in counties that flipped for Trump in the 2016 election believe the country is worse off with him in power.

The poll, which surveyed residents of 438 counties that either "flipped from voting Democratic in the 2012 presidential election to Republican in 2016, or saw a significant surge for Trump last year," found that 41 percent believe the country is worse off now than it was before Trump became president.

More than half of those respondents said that they do not think Trump has a "clear agenda" to address the major issues haunting the country.

Remarkably, these people hold Trump in a more positive light than the rest of the country, meaning the president is less popular with Americans overall. Forty-eight percent of the Trump-county respondents gave the president a positive job approval rating, while a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll last month showed that Trump had a 38 percent positive job rating with Americans at large. In July, a similar "Trump counties" poll had Trump at a 50 percent approval rating.

Former President Barack Obama actually has a better perception than Trump in these counties that went GOP in 2016, with 48 percent indicating they view the Democratic leader in a positive light.

Respondents were sampled in key counties in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The poll demonstrated that Tuesday's elections may not have been an aberration. While Virginia came out in force to deny Republican candidate Ed Gillespie a win, his loss wasn't exactly shocking. Virginia was a state that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016 and was already trending blue. But the GOP lost elections up and down the ticket, and the overall voter turnout in the state showed that there was a wave of resentment for the Republican Party.

The NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll showed that even Trump voters believe the president is harming America's image around the world, with 57 percent saying they were dissatisfied with him in that regard. Nearly two-thirds of respondents also indicated that Trump was dividing the country, and 59 percent said he has failed to improve race relations.

By Taylor Link

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