President Trump heads into his first State of the Union speech with lousy approval numbers across much of the country — but remains fairly popular in a few states with tough Senate races next fall.
That’s according to a bevy of state-level polling Gallup released Tuesday, combining data the firm collected from surveys conducted throughout the last year.
Trump has majority approval rating in just 12 states — but three of those have Democratic senators up for reelection next fall, including the two states where Trump’s numbers are the best, West Virginia and North Dakota. He’s also above water in Montana, as well as in Tennessee, where Democrats hope they might be able to seriously contest an open Senate seat.
These numbers are crucial heading into this fall’s midterms. They’re also powering major strategic decisions with huge policy consequences — including how Democrats will handle ongoing negotiations to try to protect undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) led the red-state Democratic charge to end the shutdown by threatening to retire if Senate leaders didn’t back down.
But these numbers are plenty bleak for Republicans.
Trump’s overall approval rating for his first year in office was a dismal 38 percent, according to Gallup, the lowest first-year numbers in the polling firm’s long history of surveying presidential approval. If he doesn’t bounce back significantly Republicans are likely to take a beating in the upcoming midterms. Crucially, in many red and swing states Democrats are hoping to hold onto this fall, his approval ratings are significantly lower than they were when he was first elected.
Slightly more people disapprove than approve of Trump’s job performance in Republican-leaning Missouri and Indiana, both of which have top-tier Senate races next fall, and his approval rating is 10 points lower than his disapproval rating in a bevy of states key to Senate control: Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Arizona and Nevada. In Texas, according to Gallup, Trump’s approval rating is at just 39 percent, with 54 percent disapproving, a number that should put a scare into Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) as he faces down reelection.
Those numbers are promising for Senate Democrats. But as they look to defend 10 Democrats in states Trump won and pick off two more Senate seats to take control of the chamber, there’s a reason why their strategy and messaging has diverged in recent weeks from their party’s liberal base.