Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Trump in Colorado – Playing His Base and Losing Ground

Donald Trump won the presidency with 46 percent of the popular vote to Hillary Clinton’s 48 percent. His national end-of-year approval was 39 percent in RealClearPolitics, 7 percent below his vote. Similarly, in Colorado, Trump is 7 points down. He has a 36 percent approval after losing the state with 43 percent in 2016 against Clinton. He has contracted his election support down 7 points to a base of about one-third to two-fifths of the electorate both nationally and in Colorado – a likely losing position in the upcoming election. (Public Policy poll, 770 auto dial/online, Dec. 4-5, 2017)

His relentless catering to and communication with his “base” has, as expected, narrowed his support, not widened it. Like his national slide in approval, Coloradans’ judgement of Trump’s first year has been poor. Unless Trump changes strategies, he is likely to take down the Republican Party gubernatorial nominee and other candidates in Colorado’s 2018 races.

Colorado is going to be both a battlefield and a harbinger of the 2018 election. Trump’s national decline is mirrored in the state at the moment the governorship is open, two of the state’s constitutional offices – treasurer and attorney general – and control of the state legislature in play.

The spread between approval and disapproval among Trump and Clinton voters and Republicans and Democrats demonstrate the challenges Republicans face if Trump’s approval remains mired below 40 percent during 2018.

An examination of the demographics of Trump’s Colorado approval (see chart below) shows his weakness within his party and among demographic groups that favored him in the 2016 election. The poll shows that passion among Democrats (approved difference among pro-Trump voters – 70% vs. pro-Clinton voters – 86%). Most ominously, it indicates that independent voters, who often swing elections, are currently in the disapproving camp.

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