Trump voters are bailing
A new tracking poll indicates fully 25 percent of the people who voted for Trump just two months ago want him gone before January 20.
It’s deeply weird, at a moment when even the Wall Street Journal editorial page is calling for Trump’s immediate resignation, and Cabinet members like Betsy DeVoss and Elaine Chao are getting the hell outta Dodge, to observe that Trump’s approval numbers haven’t tanked. According to FiveThirtyEight’s poll aggregation, Trump’s approval rating today is 42.4 percent and his disapproval rating is 53.2 percent. That isn’t good—Trump’s approval ratings have been lousy throughout his presidency—but neither are these the worst ratings he’s logged over the past four years.
Trump’s approval is significantly higher than the 37 percent approval trough he hit on Dec. 17, 2017, and lower than the 57.5 percent disapproval peak he hit the day before. I can’t even remember—do you?—what it is he did that week besides gripe about the Russia investigation and dangle before Michael Flynn the presidential pardon that he would grant three years later. Apparently America thought it couldn’t get any more squalid than that. How wrong we were!
Now, though, we’re seeing signs that Trump’s support among a key group—namely, people who voted for Trump way, way back on Nov. 3—is vanishing.
Avalanche Insights, a Washington research firm, polled 2000 Americans on the evening of Jan. 7 (a.k.a. last night, as I’m writing this). Avalanche didn’t break out this group according to party affiliation, but according to who they voted for.
Avalanche asked: “What do you believe is the most appropriate response to Trump, given his part in yesterday’s events?” Perhaps not surprisingly, 62 percent of all Americans said Trump should be removed from office immediately. (Again, even the Wall Street Journal editpage has signed onto that.) Twenty-two percent said impeach him, 20 percent said use the 25th amendment, and 20 percent said do whatever’s quickest.
But when that group was broken down to people who voted for Trump, the results were nothing short of astonishing. Twenty-five percent said Trump should be removed from office immediately. Seven percent said impeach him, 9 percent said use the 25th amendment, and 9 percent said do whatever’s quickest. Another 17-20 percent said they didn’t know what should be done, which is hardly a vote of confidence.
Forty-one percent of these Trump voters said they agreed at least somewhat that Trump “betrayed Republican values and interests,” and 15 percent said they agreed strongly. “For me, that’s remarkable,” Avalanche’s executive vice president, Kate Catherall, told me. “These are people who voted for him two months ago.” To be precise, they voted for the guy 65 days before this poll was taken. That was a very long 65 days!
We should know very soon whether other polls show Trump voters turning this strongly against him. If other signs follow, predictions that Trump will continue to control the Republican party after January 20 will have been wrong. It’s starting to look as though Republican officeholders won’t even be returning his phone calls.
Update, Jan. 11: An ABC News poll released Sunday and a Quinnipiac poll released Monday confirm that a majority of Americans want Trump removed before Jan. 20 (ABC News: 56 percent; Quinnipiac: 52 percent, compared to Avalanche’s 62 percent). A significant proportion of Trump supporters do, too, but nothing like the 25 percent in the Avalanche poll. The ABC News poll says 13 percent of Republicans want Trump removed from office. The Quinnipiac poll says 10 percent do (and that 17 percent want him to resign).
The discrepancy with the Avalanche poll is likely explained by the fact that Avalanche broke out Trump voters whereas the ABC News and Quinnipiac polls more conventionally broke out Republicans. It seems logical that Trump lost more support among people who voted for him, a group that includes independents, than he did among Republicans. Trump didn’t win a majority of independents in 2020 (nor in 2016, for that matter), but he did win 41 percent of them (down from 46 percent in 2016). Both of the new polls show that a majority of independents favor removing Trump from office (ABC News: 56 percent; Quinniapic: 55 percent). It’s independents who are fleeing Trump in droves.
Still, it can’t be terrific news for Trump that somewhere between 10 and 17 percent of Republicans don’t want to wait nine days to see him vacate the White House.
Meanwhile, Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 40.8 percent on FiveThirtyEight, still several percentage points above its trough in December 2017. His disapproval rating has risen to 54.6 percent, still several points below its peak in December 2017. Just about the only reason I can think to let him serve out the next nine days is to give him a chance to beat the 2017 numbers.