Exit polls: Trump’s approval over 50% where it mattered in Senate races
Americans disapprove of President Donald Trump’s job as President, according to preliminary CNN exit polls. The results match his approval in recent public opinion polls, which have shown him to be under water nationally for months.
But there’s much more to the story. In nearly every state with a key contested Senate or governor’s race, he has a positive approval and is over 50%, according to CNN’s preliminary exit poll data.
That wide difference in Trump’s national vs. his key state approval helps explain the dual storyline emerging on election night of Democratic pickups giving them control of the US House and Republican success holding control of the US Senate by picking off Democratic senators representing states Trump won in 2016.
His highest approval of these states is West Virginia, oddly enough, where slightly more than three-in-five approve of the job he’s doing as President, but Democrat Joe Manchin was able to keep his seat.
The exceptions to Trump’s key state approval come in Nevada, Wisconsin and Texas, where his approval is slightly under 50% and more closely mirrors the national view.
In Arizona, where Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Martha McSally are locked in a dead heat, Trump’s approval is 52%, with 47% who disapprove.
More than half of Florida voters, 51%, approve of the job Trump is doing as President, compared to 48% who do not. Both Republicans Rick Scott in the Senate race and Ron DeSantis in the governor’s race hold leads in Florida.
In fact, Trump’s 51% approval in 2018 Florida exit polls is an improvement over the 49% of the vote he received in 2016 votes in Florida.
Trump is over 50% in Georgia as well, a state he won with 51% of the vote in 2016. There is no Senate race this year, but where the Secretary of State Brian Kemp leads Georgia state legislator Stacey Abrams.
He is more popular in Indiana, where 53% of voters approved and 47% disapprove, according to the exit poll data. In that state, Republican Mike Braun was declared as the winner over Democratic incumbent Joe Donnelly. Trump’s 53% approval in Indiana underperforms his more than 57% support there in 2016.
Missouri is extremely close for the President, where 51% approve and 48% disapprove and Republican Josh Hawley holds a commanding lead over incumbent Sen. Claire McCaskill. Ohio is around the same as Missouri, 51% approval in the state. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is projected to keep his seat there, but Republican Mike DeWine holds a lead over Democrat Richard Cordray there.
Tennessee is one of the two states in this category where Trump’s approval is a net positive above 10 percentage points. Around 57% said they approve of the job he’s doing, fitting with the positive news for Republicans as CNN predicts Republican Marsha Blackburn will take a US Senate seat.
Where Trump is under water
Trump is under 50% approval in Texas, where Sen. Ted Cruz eked out a victory over Rep. Beto O’Rourke. Trump won Texas with more than 52% of the vote in 2016. Cruz got more than 56% of the vote in 2012.
Wisconsin is one of the worst states for the President. Only 45% approve and 54% disapprove, an 11-point net negative for the President. Democrat Tammy Baldwin easily held her seat there and Republican Gov. Scott Walker trails in his bid to be re-elected as governor.
In states without super competitive races, Trump’s approval tends to be either much higher or much lower. In California, only a third of voters in 2018 approve of the job he’s doing as President, while his approval in North Dakota is 61%. Other super negatives for the President include New Jersey, New York (-21 in both), Virginia (-13), Michigan (-9) and Pennsylvania (-10). His other very positive state is Mississippi (+15). Minnesota and Montana are close, with a less than five percent gap between approval and disapproval.