When Donald Trump declared in 2016 that he could shoot someone on 5th Avenue and not lose any base support, the statement clearly assumed the assassination he perpetrated wouldn’t produce collateral damage among his beloved followers.
Trump’s shutdown is different as new polling from NPR/PBS/Marist appears to demonstrate. Since the shutdown began, Trump’s approval rating has been falling about half a point per week. The NPR poll has him down 7 points since December to 39 percent, but importantly the data suggest the slippage is mainly coming directly from Trump’s base, including:
- suburban men, where his approvals have slipped 18 points, from a net-positive 51-to-39 percent to a net-negative of 42 percent approve, 48 percent disapprove
- evangelical support is down 13 points, from 73-to-17 percent approve to 66-to-23 percent approve
- overall Republican approvals are down from 90 percent to 83 percent
- even white men without college degrees have softened a bit from 56 percent approve to 50 percent approve
“For the first time, we saw a fairly consistent pattern of having his base showing evidence of a cracking,” said Lee Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, adding that it wasn’t clear if the erosion was purely shutdown related or might be a “broader problem.”
And here’s the cherry on top of all this: Fully 57 percent of respondents said they will definitely vote against Trump in 2020, with just 30 percent vowing to vote for him. Wow. That’s some tough sledding. Pretty much insurmountable, actually. When NPR asked the same question about President Obama in 2010, 48 percent of voters pledged they would vote against Obama… and almost exactly that proportion did. Obama won reelection in 2012 by a margin of 51-47 percent. In other words, the polling of those determined to vote against him was pretty darn accurate.