FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Why Trump’s Support Is Slipping

Donald Trump was elected president by successfully fuzzing the political tension between economic concerns and cultural factors.  His core constituency is broadly conceived as disaffected white working-class men, 40-plus years old, with less than a college degree, self-identifying as evangelical Christians and Republican voters.  He promised – and spent his first year in office — successfully convincing his base of support that he would “make America great again.” Recent polls make clear that some of these supports are losing faith in him.

Trump effectively collapsed the issues of economic class and social identity by exploiting a core component of a tried-and-true theme of Republican politics, a 21st century version of Pat Buchanan’s “Southern Strategy.”  It’s a race-based politics that has defined the party since the days of Pres. Richard Nixon, effectively shifting the South from pro-segregationist white Democrats to staunch white Republicans.  As the strategy moved north, reconfigured by Nixon as the “silent majority,” it promoted the identity of white-skin-privilege as an alternative to labor organizing as well as struggles over growing income inequality and social diversification.

However, recent Democratic electoral victories in governorship races in Virginia and New Jersey, the senate race in Alabama and state legislative elections in Wisconsin, Virginia, Minnesota, New Jersey, North Carolina, Montana and other states may prefigure the mid-term elections coming in November.  Recent polls suggest that Trump support is slipping.  While a hard-core of Trump supporters will likely remain loyal to Republican candidates, others are likely to either stay home, vote for a Democrat or another candidate.

Who are Trump’s supporters and where is the apparent slippage in his support coming from?  In June 2017, the Democracy Fund VOTER Survey (Views of the Electorate Research Survey) published a revealing study by Emily Ekins of the CATO Institute, “The Five Types of Trump Voters.”

Ekins segments Trump’s base of support into five segments:

+ Staunch Conservatives– represent nearly one-third (31%) of his base; they are loyal Republicans, fiscal conservatives, tend to be older, have higher socio-economic status, are politically informed, likely to be NRA members and adhere to traditional values

+ Free Marketeers – represent one-quarter(25%) of his base; they are loyal Republicans, fiscal conservatives and believe in free trader, favor smaller government, largely male, middle-aged, have more formal education, higher incomes, come from the Midwest and are more liberal on immigration.

+ American Preservationists– represent one-fifth (20%) of his base and the core group that propelled Trump to the nomination; they have lower levels of formal education and lower incomes, they favor higher taxes on the rich, back the social safety net, believe the economic and political systems are rigged, are skeptical of free trade and unregulated immigration.

+ Anti-Elites– represent less than a quarter (19%) of his base; they share a belief that the economic and political systems are rigged, hold relatively moderate positions on immigration, race and American identity, and are slightly younger than the other Trump groups.

+ The Disengaged — represent 5 percent of his base; they don’t follow politics, skeptical about immigration, supported a temporary Muslim travel ban and tend to be younger and are more female than male.

Dissatisfaction with Trump appears to be occurring in all segments, but especially among the more moderate.

Arm-in-arm with Senate and House Republicans, Trump successful cultivated the social fiction that things are better than they are … and will get better following his regressive economic and social programs.  Trump’s base has been reported to be supportive, if dubious, of two key components of his – and the Republican – program, the tax bill and efforts to restrict immigration of nonwhite people.

According to a Gallup survey, more than half (56%) of all Americans disapproved of the tax bill and less than a third (29%) approved it, yet it received strong support from more than two-thirds (70%) of Republican voters; 16 percent of Republicans disapproved of the bill while nearly nine-out-of-ten (87%) of Democrats disapproved of it.

In similar terms, more than half (58%) of those surveyed in a September 2017 Politico/Morning Consult poll supported protecting “Dreamers” (i.e., undocumented immigrant young people).  Support was reported as follows: among Democrats (84%), independents (74%) and Republicans (69%).  A more recent Gallup polls found a deepening split not only among all Americans about Trump’s handling of immigration debate, but a steady decline of support among Republicans.

 

However, for all the hype regarding the passage of the Republican tax bill and a possible solution to the plight of the Dreamers, something deeper seems to be at play with regard to Trump’s base of support.  It appears to be slipping.  Two recent opinion polls question whether Americans, especially among Trump’s core constituency, will continue to back the great con being promoted by Trump and his Congressional allies.

On Friday, January 26th, the Rasmussen Reports “Presidential Tracking Poll” showed deepening erosion of Trump’s support among likely-voters.  It found that while two-fifths (44%) of respondents approved of his job performance, those disapproving increased to over half (55%) of likely voters.  Most revealing, the split is widening among those who “strongly” approve or disapprove of his job.  Those strongly approving declined to 30 percent while those strongly disapproving rose to 42 percent.  As Rasmussen put it, “This gives him [Trump] a Presidential Approval Index rating of -12.”

A recent Pew Research poll mirrors the Rasmussen findings.  In a snapshot of opinions among those Pew calls “Republicans, Republican leaners,” it found Trump’s job approval from February to December 2017 fell to 32 percent from 39 percent.  It observes, “Trump’s support [was] narrowing across a wide range of typically friendly demographics, from evangelicals to the elderly and whites without college degrees.”

Trump’s most notable loss of support came among white voters, declining to 41 percent from 49 percent; among white non-college adults, his approval rate dropped 10 points, to 46 from 56 percent.  This pattern was reflected among evangelical Protestants where his approval rate dropped 17-point to 61 percent from 78 percent.

U.S. politics in the 20th century can be divided into two parts.  The Great Depression scared the first era, which lasted from the 1929 stock-market crash to the post-WW-II recovery in the mid-1950s.  It was an era marked by the politics of class, particularly socio-economic concerns that took innumerable forms, whether social or personal.  Class was at the heart of electoral campaigns of Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower; class issues mattered.

The second era began with Kennedy and, in the wake of the rise of the “American Dream,” class was normalized.  The dominant ideology championed a version of middle-class prosperity that was ostensibly possible for all, debt could finance one’s dreams and unions were obsolete.  Pres. Lyndon Johnson’s successful civil-rights legislations extended Nixon’s strategy in unanticipated ways, ways that challenged the prevailing, if narrow, notion of racism.  Race was to be a secondary feature within a dynamic, prosperous country.  Pres. Bill Clinton put the final nail in the coffin of class-consciousness, promoting finance capital, NAFTA and the wonders of America’s high-tech future, the gig-economy.

History has caught up with the America Dream and Trump is the result.  Globalization, flat wages, deepening inequality and a corrupt political democracy define social life in the U.S.  How many more Trump supporters will abandon him as the build-up for the mid-term elections plays out may be a key factor in the election’s outcome.

More articles by:

David Rosen is the author of Sex, Sin & Subversion:  The Transformation of 1950s New York’s Forbidden into America’s New Normal (Skyhorse, 2015).  He can be reached at drosennyc@verizon.net; check out www.DavidRosenWrites.com.

July 08, 2020
Laura Carlsen
Lopez Obrador’s Visit to Trump is a Betrayal of the U.S. and Mexican People
Melvin Goodman
Afghanistan: What is to be Done?
Thomas Klikauer – Norman Simms
The End of the American Newspaper
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Merits of Medicare for All Have Been Proven by This Pandemic
David Rosen
It’s Now Ghislaine Maxwell’s Turn
Nicolas J S Davies
Key U.S. Ally Indicted for Organ Trade Murder Scheme
Bob Lord
Welcome to Hectobillionaire Land
Laura Flanders
The Great American Lie
John Kendall Hawkins
Van Gogh’s Literary Influences
Marc Norton
Reopening vs. Lockdown is a False Dichotomy
Joel Schlosberg
“All the Credit He Gave Us:” Time to Drop Hamilton’s Economics
CounterPunch News Service
Tribes Defeat Trump Administration and NRA in 9th Circuit on Sacred Grizzly Bear Appeal
John Feffer
The US is Now the Global Public Health Emergency
Nick Licata
Three Books on the 2020 Presidential Election and Their Relevance to the Black Live Matter Protests
Elliot Sperber
The Breonna Taylor Bridge
July 07, 2020
Richard Eskow
The War on Logic: Contradictions and Absurdities in the House’s Military Spending Bill
Daniel Beaumont
Gimme Shelter: the Brief And Strange History of CHOP (AKA CHAZ)
Richard C. Gross
Trump’s War
Patrick Cockburn
Trump’s Racism May be Blatant, But the Culture He Defends Comes Out of the Civil War and Goes Well Beyond Racial Division
Andrew Stewart
Can We Compare the George Floyd Protests to the Vietnam War Protests? Maybe, But the Analogy is Imperfect
Walden Bello
The Racist Underpinnings of the American Way of War
Nyla Ali Khan
Fallacious Arguments Employed to Justify the Revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s Autonomy and Its Bifurcation
Don Fitz
A Statue of Hatuey
Dean Baker
Unemployment Benefits Should Depend on the Pandemic
Ramzy Baroud – Romana Rubeo
Will the ICC Investigation Bring Justice for Palestine?
Sam Pizzigati
Social Distancing for Mega-Million Fun and Profit
Dave Lindorff
Private: Why the High Dudgeon over Alleged Russian Bounties for Taliban Slaying of US Troops
George Wuerthner
Of Fire and Fish
Binoy Kampmark
Killing Koalas: the Promise of Extinction Down Under
Parth M.N.
Back to School in Rural India: Digital Divide to Digital Partition
Ed Sanders
The Burning of Newgate Prison: a Glyph
July 06, 2020
Melvin Goodman
Foreign Election Interference: Who is to Blame?
JoAnn Wypijewski
On Disposability and Rebellion: Insights From a Rank-and-File Insurgency
Marshall Auerback – Jan Frel
There’s a Hidden Economic Trendline That is Shattering the Global Trade System
Evaggelos Vallianatos
A Just and Talented Government for Our Hazardous Age
Manuel García, Jr.
Biosphere Warming in Numbers
Ron Jacobs
Kidnapping Kids: As American as the Fourth of July
Tasha Jones
Pyramids. Plantations. Projects. Penitentiaries
Binoy Kampmark
Criminalising Journalism: Australia’s National Security Craze
Eve Ottenberg
Re-Organizing Labor
Mike Garrity
How We Stopped Trump From Trashing a Critical Montana Roadless Area in Grizzly Habitat
Nino Pagliccia
The Meaning of the 1811 Independence for Today’s Venezuela
Michael Galant
We Need a Global Green New Deal
Jill Richardson
Learning Not to Look Away
Marshall Sahlins
Donald Trump at 130,000 and Rising
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail