Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Trump is net popular only in rural areas and small towns

The 2018 midterm election underlined the nation's rural-urban divide, with Democrats mostly winning votes in cities and Republicans owning rural areas. Two recent polls suggest that the 2020 election might play out the same way, Nathaniel Rakich and Dhrumil Mehta report for FiveThirtyEight.

The first one, by Iowa-based Selzer & Co., found that President Trump had a 43 percent approval rating and a 45 percent disapproval rating nationwide, but his approval numbers were far better in rural areas and declined with increasing population density. The president enjoys his highest approval rating in rural areas, with 61 percent approving and 26 percent disapproving. In small towns it's 44 percent approval and 42 percent disapproval. In suburban areas, he has a 41 percent approval rating vs. 50 percent disapproval, and in urban areas only 31 percent approve while 59 percent disapprove, Rakich and Dhrumil report. The poll was conducted from Nov. 24-27 for Grinnell College and was based on telephone interviews with 1,000 U.S. adults age 18 or older, including 828 likely voters in the 2020 voters and 769 who said they voted in the 2018 midterm elections. The answers have a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points.

November's monthly Investor's Business Daily/TIPP poll echoed those results: Overall his approval rating was 39 percent while his disapproval rating was 55 percent. "Trump again got the highest marks from residents of rural areas — a 62 percent approval rating and a 35 percent disapproval rating. And yet again, his standing took a nosedive among suburbanites and urbanites," Rakich and Dhrumil report. In suburban areas his approval rating was 32 percent and his disapproval rating was 60 percent. And in urban areas his approval rating was 27 percent vs. 67 percent disapproval. It's worth noting that this pollster has been touted as the most accurate in the past four election cycles.

"This is perhaps stating the obvious, but Trump would do well to improve his standing among suburban and urban voters before 2020. Less than 20 percent of the U.S. population lives in rural areas," Rakich and Dhrumil report. "According to the Congressional Density Index from CityLab, a news website covering urban issues, just 70 congressional districts are 'pure rural,' and an additional 114 are a 'rural-suburban mix.'"

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