President Trump’s job approval rating in the RealClearPolitics average of polls is 39.9 percent. That’s actually up a bit from Trump’s (so far) low of 37.4 percent, reached on August 14.
The RCP average, made up of results from the most recent surveys, is a national measure. Trump’s ratings in individual states are a different story. According to new SurveyMonkey polling, those ratings range from a high of 59 percent (in Wyoming) to a low of 30 percent (in Massachusetts) and everywhere in between.
Trump’s top ten states in job approval, after Wyoming, are: West Virginia (58 percent); Alabama (56); Arkansas (55); Oklahoma (54); Louisiana (53); South Dakota (53); North Dakota (52); Kentucky (52); Mississippi (52); Idaho (52); Tennessee (51); and Montana (51).
Trump’s bottom ten states in job approval, after Massachusetts, are: Vermont (31 percent); Maryland (31); California (32); Hawaii (33); Washington (33); New York (34); Illinois (34); Rhode Island (35); Connecticut (35).
The size of the states on Trump’s low approval end (California, New York, and Illinois are the nation’s first-, fourth-, and fifth-largest states), versus the size of the states on the high approval end (Wyoming, Montana, and North and South Dakota are among the nation’s ten smallest states in population), explains how Trump’s national average is in the high 30s, and not higher. But next year’s midterm elections are all about states, and the SurveyMonkey numbers show us a bit on where things stand now.
The Cook Political Report puts three currently Democratic Senate seats in the toss-up category: Joe Manchin in West Virginia, Claire McCaskill in Missouri, and Joe Donnelly in Indiana. Trump’s job approval in those states is 58 percent, 50 percent, and 47 percent, respectively. In addition, in one seat which Cook puts in the “Lean Democratic” category, Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota, Trump’s approval rating is 52 percent.
On the other side, Cook puts one currently Republican Senate seat in the toss-up column: Dean Heller in Nevada, where Trump’s job approval is 42 percent. In the single seat rated “Lean Republican,” Jeff Flake in Arizona, Trump is at 43 percent.
In Kentucky, Trump’s job approval rating of 52 percent appears to make him significantly more popular than the state’s senior senator, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Trump’s job approval rating is down in the key swing states that won him the presidency. In some, his fall has been pretty steep; in others, not so much. In Ohio, Trump is at 45 percent; he won in 2016 with 51.7 percent. In Pennsylvania, Trump is at 43 percent; he won with 48.6 percent. In Florida, Trump is at 45 percent; he won with 49 percent. In Michigan, Trump is at 42 percent; he won with 47.5 percent. In Wisconsin, Trump is at 44 percent; he won with 47.2 percent. In North Carolina, Trump is at 43 percent; he won with 49.8 percent. In Iowa, Trump is at 47 percent; he won with 51.1 percent.
Overshadowing all the numbers is the possibility that Trump’s ratings might not work in the same way as earlier presidents. Are his low ratings — lower than his predecessors at this point — as bad as they look, or should they be viewed differently? “Trying to compare Trump numbers with prior presidents at this point is very difficult, particularly given that he started with 60 percent unfavorable on election night,” Republican pollster David Winston told me last month. “He also had a significant amount of support coming from people who had an unfavorable view of him. Of the people that voted for him, 20 percent had an unfavorable view, according to the exit polls.”