- Since winning the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump has not won support from outside of his base.
- Data show he has actually lost support, even among his most dedicated followers.
- These are the states in which we’ve seen the biggest swing, by comparing his 2016 margin of victory to approval ratings eight months into his presidency.
President Donald Trump is not a popular man. Since winning the 2016 election, he hasn’t managed to win much, if any, support from outside of his base. Though he and his team have toured the country touting their accomplishments, there really aren’t many to speak of. Still, his base loves him, and everyone else is either indifferent or flabbergasted at what’s happening at the highest levels of government.
And it’s shown through in his approval and favorability ratings. Trump has been wildly unpopular throughout the first quarter of his presidency. The problem is his base is relatively small compared to the overall population. By pandering and throwing red meat to this portion of the country, his popularity isn’t going to increase. In fact, it’s gone down, even in states where he won by giant margins.
Two polls that have kept track of his popularity via net approval ratings are those conducted by Gallup and SurveyMonkey. These polls look at net approval ratings state by state, which give us a sense of just how popular the president is in any given part of the country. FiveThirtyEight took those polls and transposed the net approval ratings against Trump’s margin of victory in November to see where approval has dropped the most.
By comparing recent net approval ratings versus the election margin of victory, we get a number. And in these 15 states, that number represents the biggest rift between Trump on Nov. 8, 2016, and Trump eight months into his presidency.
- Colorado is one of two states on our list that Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by a 5-point margin.
Trump didn’t win Colorado in November, but it was in the “swing state” column for most of the election. It’s been leaning blue for a long time now, but Colorado is one of those states that’s filled with people who lean Republican. And we weren’t sure until Election Day which way it would swing. Clinton ended up winning by 5 points, but Trump’s popularity has fallen considerably since then. He was unpopular to begin with, but now his net approvals are -21. That’s a 17-point drop.
Next: A deluge of red states, starting with one in which Trump policies have already been tested.
- Trump won Kansas by 20 points but has seen his popularity cascade downhill since November.
Kansas is an interesting state. It’s a deep-red state that Trump won by 20 points in 2016. But, like Colorado and every other state on our list, supporters are turning on him. According to the polling data, his net approvals are still in the black — hovering at around +3. But again, he won the state by 20 points, and that +3 represents a -17 drop. It could be that Kansas gave Trump policies a whirl, and they didn’t pan out so well. Or, like many others, Kansas voters are having their patience tested.
Next: The Lone Star State
- The president’s popularity numbers show he’s officially underwater in Texas.
The great state of Texas is “purpling” — demographic shifts are turning it more Democratic with time. But it’s still a deeply conservative state, despite some portions that are deep blue, such as Austin and Houston. Trump won Texas by a 9-point margin in 2016, which is closer than many expected. But now, his net approvals are -9, representing an 18-point swing. It’ll be interesting to see what happens in Texas in 2020 when the state is as “purple” as ever.
Next: Another state in which Trump’s popularity numbers are slipping
12. South Dakota
- Trump won South Dakota by a 30-point margin. Now, his approvals are a +10.
It’s hard to imagine that Trump will ever have his name etched on a mountainside like the four presidents that are immortalized on Mount Rushmore. South Dakota, the home of Mount Rushmore, is another state in which Trump’s supporters are fleeing. He won the state 30 points over Clinton, but his recent net approvals are +10. So he’s still popular but much less so.
Next: In the 11th spot, we have another state in which many supporters are turning on the president.
- After winning the election in November, Trump’s numbers have dropped by 20 points.
It makes sense that Trump’s approval numbers would be the most vulnerable in the states where he had the most support. People in Hawaii, for example, probably aren’t going to start liking him any less. But in states, such as Tennessee, where voters overwhelmingly turned out for him, he has more ground to lose. And he’s lost it in Tennessee. He won the state by 26 points in November, but his net approvals are now sitting at +6. That’s a 20-point swing.
Next: Another state the president actually lost to Clinton
- Minnesota is the second of two states on this list that Trump lost to his Democratic challenger.
We’ve already discussed Colorado, one of the states Trump lost but remains on this list. Minnesota is the other — a state Trump lost to Clinton by a 2-point margin. But if the election were held today that margin would likely be much wider. Trump’s net approvals in Minnesota are floating at around the -22 mark, a reversal of 20 points. From here on out though, the states on our list are much redder and more conservative.
Next: The state Trump won by the biggest margin in 2016
9. West Virginia
- In November, Trump won West Virginia by a whopping 42 points.
You’d be hardpressed to find a state in which Trump is more popular than West Virginia. Trump absolutely destroyed Clinton in the 2016 election, winning by a 42-point margin. He pandered to the state’s coal-mining heritage and slammed the swamp monsters in D.C., and it clearly did the trick. Though the enthusiasm is still strong, it has waned since Election Day. Today, his net approvals are at +21, down 20 points.
Next: We head back up to the Dakotas.
8. North Dakota
- There’s been a swing of 21 points between Trump’s election victory margin and approval ratings since November.
The second of the Dakotas, Trump’s popularity has sagged more in the North than it has in the South. Trump’s margin of victory was larger in North Dakota than it was in South Dakota, ultimately coming in at 36 points. But people’s support of the president has also dropped more in the North than in the South. His net approvals in the state sit at +15, down 21 points since November.
Next: A state in which Trump faced an unexpected rival from the Republican side of the fence
- Fellow Republican Evan McMullin won 21% of Utah’s presidential votes in 2016.
Utah presents an interesting situation when it comes to politics. The state has a large Mormon population, and Trump was very unpopular among that population before the election. For that reason, an unlikely name surged on the ballot: Evan McMullin. McMullin won 21% of the overall vote, but Trump still won by 18 points. Today, his net approval sits at-3. Like North Dakota, that’s a drop of 21 points.
Next: The state in our sixth slot is the one that gave us Vice President Mike Pence.
- Indiana, a traditionally red state, actually swung to Barack Obama in 2008.
Over the past few elections, Indiana has become an interesting battleground state. It’s typically conservative, but Barack Obama won it in 2008. And prior to the 2016 election, the state’s governor, Mike Pence, wasn’t widely known and was pretty unpopular. Things are different now, as Trump won “bigly” by a 19-point stretch. His net approvals have sagged, though, and now sit at -3. That’s a change of -22, meaning he might not win if the election were held again today.
Next: Another state that voted incredibly hard for Trump, but is now evidently regretting it
- In Kentucky, Trump won by 30 points over Clinton.
Another state that was seemingly rabid with enthusiasm over Trump, a lot of people have since soured on the president since he’s assumed office. Trump won Kentucky by 30 points over Clinton in November, but his net approvals are now only +8. Like several other states, that’s still a strong level of support, but it’s a large drop from the enthusiasm people felt about him before the inauguration. It’s an overall drop of 22 points.
Next: Our next state is one that is home a senator who’s been a thorn in Trump’s side since day one of his presidency.
- Trump’s popularity in Nebraska is hovering around +3.
Support for the president is still there in Nebraska, but it isn’t nearly as strong as it is in states, such as Kentucky or West Virginia. His net approvals sit at +3. But consider how big his margin of victory in November was: +25. That gives that +3 some perspective. It shows a rift has opened up over the past nine months that has shifted his approval ratings by as much as 22 points.
Next: In third, a deep-red state that is bending — but not breaking — in terms of Republican support under Trump
- During the 2016 election, Trump won Idaho by 32 points over Clinton.
Though it shares a border with a couple of deep-blue states in Washington and Oregon, Idaho is still a deeply conservative place. For that reason, Trump won it easily with a margin of 32 points over Clinton. But, like with all of the states on our list, his recent net approvals show us Idaho voters’ enthusiasm has evaporated. He’s still popular with a +9 net approval rating, but that’s a difference of 23 points compared to his electoral margin.
Next: The state where the wind comes sweeping down the plains — just like unfavorability toward the president
- Support for the president remains strong in Oklahoma but is significantly weaker than it was in November.
Oklahoma could easily be described as “Trump country.” It’s a state that tends to vote Republican without fail, and Trump even pulled one of his Cabinet members — EPA administrator Scott Pruitt — from Oklahoma. But again, the enthusiasm is waning when it comes to the president. He won the state by 36 points over Clinton, but his net approvals have dropped to +12, a drop of 24 since last November.
Next: And the state where support for Trump has slipped the most is …
- Trump won Wyoming by 46 points in November. He’s still way up, in terms of popularity — but way down, all things considered.
In Wyoming, Trump dropped an electoral hammer on Clinton. He won the state by 46 points. Conversely, Clinton’s largest margin of victory came in Hawaii, which she won by 32 points. But since November, that 46-point margin has been tainted by steadily dropping net approval ratings. Now, those net approvals in Wyoming are at +20. So, yes, he’d still probably have a crushing victory if the election were held today. But those numbers indicate a drop of support that’s hard to ignore — down 26 points.