Last June, just five months into his presidency, Donald Trump was underwater with New Hampshire voters by -10 in Morning Consult’s monthly state-by-state polling.
After a year of Mueller investigations, the Stormy Daniels sturm und drang, and Trump’s torrential tweet storms, what’s happened to the president’s approval rating in the Granite State?
They’ve gone from underwater by 10 points to…underwater by 11. In the updated Morning Consult polling released today, Trump’s popularity (or lack thereof) is virtually unchanged–43 percent approve, 54 percent disapprove–after a year of presidential soap opera and anti-Trump media coverage.
The June number is a recovery from where Trump was in the winter (-17 in February), but he’s still down over the course of his presidency. It’s hard to remember, but when President Trump first took office, more New Hampshire voters approved of him than disapproved, 45-44 percent.
Is his baseline permanently below 50 percent because he’s a Republican? Or because voters are just in anti-incumbent mood? Apparently not, based Morning Consult polling of Republican Gov. Chris Sununu.
Last March, Sununu’s ratings were a solid 57 percent approve, 23 percent disapprove. In March 2018, the most recent update from Morning Consult, Sununu’s approval advantage had grown to 63-21–in a state whose entire D.C. delegation is Democratic and that Hillary carried (albeit narrowly) in 2016.
As a recent Concord Monitor story put it: “Four Months To Election Day, Sununu Has History and Poll Numbers On His Side.”
Donald Trump… not so much.
The good news for Republicans is that Trump doesn’t have to face the New Hampshire voters again for another two years. The bad news is that presidential approval ratings tend to be a significant predictor of midterm performance.
Can Trump narrow this gap between now and November? Absolutely. And if Democrats keep up the extreme rhetoric on issues like abortion, or Judge Kavanaugh’s appointment to the Supreme Court, they may give the GOP a boost.
But when the Trump trend is essentially flat over the previous year, it’s hard to imagine a big 1o-point breakout in the next four months.