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Trump Favorability Remarkably Stable Throughout 2019, But Signs of Volatility Among White College-Educated Women

Trump Favorability Remarkably Stable Throughout 2019, But Signs of Volatility Among White College-Educated Women

Heading into the Presidential Election, New 50-State Analysis Reveals Trump’s Favorability Above the National Average in Swing States 

WASHINGTON — Despite the release of the Mueller report, the death of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and the historic impeachment of President Donald Trump by the U.S. House of Representatives, Donald Trump’s favorability ratings remained remarkably stable (averaging 41 percent favorable, 55 percent unfavorable throughout 2019) among both his base and detractors. However, there was more volatility among key groups who are divided over Trump, particularly white women with college degrees. While Trump’s favorability is underwater nationally, it remained notably higher in most battleground states that will likely decide the 2020 election. These are the main findings from analysis of a landmark survey of 40,357 Americans conducted throughout 2019 and released today by PRRI.

“Among most groups in Trump’s base and opposition, there were generally only brief fluctuations in Trump’s favorability across 2019, which bounced back to their previous levels within a few weeks,” notes PRRI CEO Robert P. Jones. “However, among white women with college degrees, there were double-digit dips in favorability in response to events such as the Mueller report and impeachment, indicating vulnerability for Trump among this crucial group who supported him in 2016.”

Even after the Senate impeachment trial and acquittal, Trump’s favorability ratings have not moved. A follow-up survey conducted February 11-16, 2020 shows the president’s favorability holding steady at 40% favorable and 56% unfavorable. 

Stability Among Trump’s Base and Opposition

The Republican base remained firmly behind President Trump in 2019 with an average favorability rating of 79%, including 43% who rate Trump very favorably. In 2020, the Republican base only looks to strengthen, with slightly higher favorability (84%) in the follow-up survey. Throughout 2019, white evangelical Protestants (64% favorable, including 34% very favorable), white men (55%), and white Americans who do not have a college degree (52%) also show consistent majority support for the president.

Democrats remained more united against Trump (84% unfavorable, including 62% very unfavorable) than Republicans were in favor of him. Like Republicans, Democrats are firming up their views in 2020 — in the follow-up survey, 90% of Democrats report unfavorable views of the president. Opposition to Trump also remained strong among key groups, such as African Americans (77% unfavorable, including 56% very unfavorable), Hispanics (63%), the religiously unaffiliated (63%), non-Christian religious Americans (61%), and multiracial Americans (57%).

Although favorability for President Trump among Republicans and Democrats is polarized, independents are more divided (37% favorable, 57% unfavorable). 

Vulnerability for Trump among White College-Educated Women

On average, Trump’s favorability among white women with college degrees look similar to the general public (37% favor, 61% oppose). However, Trump favorability ratings among white women with college degrees were sensitive to negative news about Trump. When the Mueller report was released, favorability rating of the president among white women with college degrees went from 38% in April to 28% in May before recovering to 41% in June. Around the announcement of an impeachment inquiry in October, the president’s favorability declined again to around one-third (33%) among white female college graduates.

How Battleground States View the President 

In the three “Blue Wall” Midwestern states that Democrats hope to return to their column, Wisconsin (45%), Pennsylvania (43%), and Michigan (42%) show higher favorability of the president than the national average (41%), although the differences in Pennsylvania and Michigan are not statistically significant.

Among other battleground states, residents of Arizona (44%), North Carolina (43%), and Florida (42%) also hold favorability ratings that are above the national average.

Among other states, Trump favorability was the lowest in the District of Columbia (23%), Hawaii (30%), California (31%), and Rhode Island (31%), while it was the highest in Alaska (54%), West Virginia (54%), Wyoming (55%), Mississippi (56%), and South Dakota (59%).