According to a review by American Ledger, a slew of recent polling and data conducted across Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin shows President Donald Trump increasingly underwater, often by double digits, as white working-class voters are turning away from him after a term marked by a bungled pandemic response, economic catastrophe, and deepening political division.
White working-class voters are the foundation of the president’s political base. The data suggests that even a modest erosion in support amongst this group would spell defeat, and the president appears to be free-bleeding many of these voters.
In the most recent comprehensive polling of swing states commissioned by The New York Times/Siena, the president is trailing former Vice President Joe Biden significantly in six decisive battleground states he won in 2016. The polling found that “White voters without a degree, the linchpin of the president’s winning coalition, back Mr. Trump by a 16-point margin in the battlegrounds, down from a 24-point margin in October and a 26-point one in the final polls of the last election.”
On the ground interviews of swing voters in key counties corroborate this worsening trend for the president. Politico interviewed several voters in Lackawanna County, Pennsylvania, a decades-long Democratic stronghold that Hillary Clinton barely held onto in 2016, where many people noted how disillusioned they were by Trump’s first term. They cited Trump’s failures to live up to his populist rhetoric and his constant dishonesty as reasons for their changing attitudes towards the incumbent President.
These counties are crucial to the president’s reelection bid, considering that the number of voters who moved towards him in Lackawanna County was double his statewide winning margin, meaning that the election was essentially decided by the president’s boosted support from white working-class swing voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.
In particular, white women, 52% of whom voted for Trump in 2016, are sharply diverging from the president’s bloc of support. Working class white women, who backed the president by 27-points in 2016, are only supporting him by around 6-points now, and college-educated white women now support Biden by a massive 39-points. If the president’s support continues to plummet with both these groups, he will find himself in a near impossible trench to dig out of come Election Day in Rust Belt states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin that he won by the skin of his teeth in 2016.
The Trump campaign’s recent advertising spending underscores the grim situation they find themselves in. After a recent shakeup in campaign leadership — never a good sign this close to Election Day — Trump’s campaign announced they were not reserving any advertising in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, instead opting to spend money in states such as Georgia and Texas that were firmly in their column in 2016. In Michigan, they’re off the air entirely, effectively ceding the state to Joe Biden and the Democrats.
Approximately 77,000 votes across the three aforementioned states determined the 2016 presidential race, and in 2020, the president is facing an uphill battle, as he needs every one of these voters to guarantee a reelection victory. As white working-class voters – Trump’s core base of support – continue slipping away by the day, and his job approval ratings perpetually hovering 15 points underwater, the president finds himself in a unique position as the weakest incumbent president in modern American history.