The group of people who put Donald Trump in the White House are becoming increasingly critical of him due to the financial distress caused by his partial government shutdown, the longest in US history.
The longer the shutdown has continued, the more Trump loses support from that group — white Americans who don’t have college degrees — who are his strongest supporters. If this continues much longer it will be a major political disaster for the president and his party.
These white non-college voters are Trump’s true “base” and the source of his political strength. They are also now the bedrock of the Republican Party. Over the past two years they have remained loyal to the president through all of his ups and downs, but that loyalty is now wavering as they experience the devastating impacts of the shutdown. It is estimated that one-fourth of all Americans have been negatively impacted in some way due to Trump’s shutdown.
Among white non-college voters just 45% now say they approve of the job Trump is doing as President, according to a recent CNN poll.
That is the lowest level of support ever among this group in CNN‘s surveys. It is also a massive drop in support compared to another CNN poll conducted in early December, before the partial shutdown. At that time 54% of whites without college degrees approved of the job Trump was doing as President and just 39% disapproved.
The drop in support is meaningful because Trump’s support and approval ratings have not changed much among other groups of voters. For example, among white voters who hold college degrees, Trump‘s ratings are have not changed in the last month. They were negative then and are just as negative now: 64% of these voters disapprove of Trump and only 32% approve.
This devastating development for Trump is supported by other polling. For example, a new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday showed similar results, with Trump losing nine percentage points in net approval from whites without college degrees.
The January CNN poll also shows that a majority of American voters (55%) clearly blame Trump for the government shutdown. Less than one-third of voters (32%) put blame for closing parts of the government on the Democrats in Congress.
A large plurality of whites without college degrees (45%) now blame the government shutdown on Trump, according to the CNN poll, while less than forty percent blame Democrats in Congress. Among white college graduates, 63% said Trump was responsible and just 25% blame congressional Democrats.
In the 2016 elections two-thirds of whites without college degrees voted for Trump while just 29% voted for his opponent Hillary Clinton. Not only are they the President‘s strongest groups of supporters, but they also have given their votes overwhelmingly to other Republican candidates.
According to CNN data, in 2014, 64% of whites with no college degrees supported Republican candidates, and in 2018, 61% did the same. If Trump and Republicans see further drops in their approval ratings among this group of voters they will have no base left. This would be a fitting end to the Republican Party as we know it.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.