A massive new measure of state-by-state attitudes toward Donald Trump offers important clues about the pressure points that could tip the 2018 elections.
Last week, Gallup released Trump’s average approval rating in all 50 states in 2017, based on more than 171,000 survey interviews it conducted over the course of the year. That compilation put Trump’s average national approval rating for 2017 at 38 percent, close to the 40 percent Gallup recorded for him in its latest weekly finding.
Throughout the year, Gallup found Trump averaged majority approval in just 12 states; in nine states that he carried in 2016, he managed an approval rating of 43 percent or less. New Hampshire and Nevada—both at 42 percent—were the only two of the 20 states Hillary Clinton carried where Trump’s approval rating peeked above 37 percent.
To better illuminate patterns of Trump’s strengths and weaknesses, Gallup provided The Atlantic with more finely grained demographic results in 13 battleground states where there were enough interviews to analyze his ratings in detail: six across the Rustbelt (Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota) and seven through the Sunbelt (Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Colorado). These findings underscore both the persistence of the demographic divides over Trump—and the continuing tug of regional variations. With congressional elections increasingly pivoting on voter attitudes toward the president, both dynamics will frame the battle for control of Congress this fall.