Well, a NBC News/ WSJ poll found that President Trump’s performance overall approval hovers around 50 percent in the counties that voted for him in 2016. The sample of 439 counties came from 16 states, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin, and it shows (again) that there could be a rural red wall that Democrats will not be able to overcome unless they reach out to white working class voters. It also showed, as Leah noted earlier, that they support his policies, but have some reservations about his personal style. Then again, they give the health care push very low marks (via NBC News) [emphasis mine]:
Fully three-quarters (75 percent) of those polled said they support Trump’s pledge to bargain with global companies to keep jobs in America, while two-thirds backed his willingness to take action against North Korean nuclear development (68 percent) and his use of military force to respond to Syria’s use of chemical weapons (66 percent). What’s more, that support comes not just from members of Trump’s own party. Majorities of independents and roughly half of Democrats approve of Trump’s moves on trade, Syria and North Korea.
Fifty-three percent of respondents also say they back the Trump administration’s implementation of a travel ban for citizens of six majority-Muslim countries, compared with 38 percent who oppose the policy.
Pluralities also give a thumbs up to Trump’s deployment of additional American troops to Afghanistan (46 percent support, 39 percent oppose) and his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court (38 percent support, 24 percent oppose).
One policy area where Trump’s agenda has faltered, even in these key counties, is health care. Only 12 percent of those polled say that House-passed legislation to overhaul the health care system is a good idea, while 41 percent call it a bad idea. Even among Trump voters, just 25 percent like the GOP health care plan, while 16 percent call it a bad idea and 59 percent say they’re not sure.
Trump’s much-discussed Twitter habit is particularly off-putting, according to the poll. More than six-in-ten (62 percent) dislike his use of Twitter, compared to just 24 percent who support it. Even his own voters are split on his 140-character habit, with 43 percent approving of his use of Twitter and 38 percent opposing it.
Just a quarter (25 percent) support Trump’s refusal to release his personal tax returns, while a slim majority (53 percent) opposes it.
A third (33 percent) support his firing of former FBI Director James Comey, while 42 percent oppose it.
And only 20 percent agree with how Trump is dealing with Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, while 51 percent do not.
Will the policy interests outweigh Trump’s personality flaws? That remains to be seen. Yet, given how the media is frothing at the mouth over the fact that he beat Hillary Clinton, which is impacting their coverage of him, don’t be shocked if that pushes people to remain on their side of the aisle. The media and the progressive elites that dominate urban America, more or less, shun these people. We saw how that was quite a motivating factor in 2016, though it could have been tempered if Clinton had actually gone into these counties and delivered a robust economic message; she didn’t. She thought that explaining how awful Trump was would do the trick—it didn’t. To compound matters, she said that anyone who supports Trump is deplorable. Josh Barro of Business Insider wrote about how liberals have become condescending busybodies and how they could change that perception. I doubt it will work since the ranks of the Democratic Party are made up of these very people: urban professionals. Yet, just like Democrats were complacent about their blue wall, Republicans and the president can’t be lulled into a false sense of security either. Democrats may not have found a message to unite behind yet, but the recent health care fiasco that blew up in the GOP’s face this week could offer a solid foundation from which the Left can mount an offensive. Even in Trump country, the health care initiative is a bust. The next step will be for Democrats to have a solid agenda focused on health care, increasing wages, job security, job creation, and trade. The problem is that urban professionals are obsessed with the agenda of political correctness, and that means cutting out those who are not them (i.e. white working class). People who they view as uneducated, racist country bumpkins who don’t know any better. Ironic since these are the people Democrats need to win in order to have some resemblance of a renaissance. Second, Barack Obama reached out to these people and did it very well. Well enough to win two terms as president. No such hesitation then, right—and the NBC/WSJ poll showed how those dividends have paid off [emphasis mine]:
Barack Obama remains popular in the key “Trump counties,” enjoying a 50 percent positive / 37 percent negative approval rating. Bernie Sanders is also relatively well-liked, at 42 percent positive, 32 percent negative. Clinton, on the other hand, is particularly disliked. Just 27 percent give her a thumbs up, compared to 54 percent who view her negatively.
Granted, Obama didn’t win a majority of the counties polled, but he was able to reduce the margins enough to win. Maybe that’s what Democrats are waiting for, a better face for the Left’s renewed message for future elections because Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden would resonate with these voters. Frankly, Democrats have several avenues of attack and more than enough to construct a new winning strategy and they either haven’t done it or are incapable of doing it. There are too many who think Hillary won the election, that the Russians played a critical role, and that they’re not out of touch. That’s not the best environment to generate a new winning message, especially when no one can name the Democratic Party’s leader. There’s still a debate about that. Health care could be an inroad, but will the Left take it? Probably not because they can’t see anything in front of them and I'm not complaining about that.
Last Note: Yes, 59 percent of Trump voters are not sure about health care. That's a wide swath of gettable voters for either side. Trump voters are not die-hard Republicans, but right now--we have the Democrats who are without a message and Republicans who can't get 50 votes for their own health care reconciliation bill in the Senate. We're not off to a good start. For the Left, as some of you have already commented, step off of single-payer and watch what happens, but we all know you're not going to do that. Regardless, the road is there.