A new poll of voters in rural areas shows President Donald Trump struggling to hold together his base. That includes a softening of support in small Florida towns.
The poll by Democratic firm ALG Research found that among rural and small-town voters, many hold Trump in low esteem. Liberal Super PAC American Bridge 21st Century funded the poll in an outward effort to demonstrate weakness for the President with his presumed base.
Most notably, only 46 percent of those polled said they would support Trump’s re-election effort; just 37 percent saying the would definitely back the president’s reelection. But 40 percent of voters said they intend to vote for someone else in 2020.
While that means Trump still remains the choice of a plurality of rural voters in swing states, he likely needs stronger support to offset Democratic enthusiasm in cities.
“We suspected there was an opportunity to cut Trump’s margins with rural, working-class voters and we were right,” said American Bridge President Bradley Beychok.
“Even among his base, Trump is underperforming.”
The ALG Research poll surveyed voters in low-density communities in four swing states: Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. All four states went for Trump in 2016.
The survey did not include any responses from voters who self-identify as “liberal Democrats.”
The bulk of responses in the poll — 500 of 1,700 — hail from Florida rural areas and small towns.
The polling sample also heavily tilts to self-identified Republicans, who make up 49 percent of respondents compared to 16 percent Democrat and 35 percent independent or third party.
The poll found among these heartland voters, 53 percent do not view Trump as “honest and trustworthy.” A plurality of voters said the President does not “share their values.”
A bare plurality of 48 percent said Trump “cares about small-town and rural America.”
Voters seem most disappointed on the President’s work on health care. On reducing health care costs, 67 percent negatively graded Trump’s job performance and just 25 gave a positive response. Similarly, just 39 percent were satisfied on whether Trump was taking on pharmaceutical companies, but 51 percent voiced negative feelings.
When asked if Trump was “cutting taxes for people like me,” 50 percent responded negatively and 44 percent responded positively. Similarly, there was a 7-percent net negative response when asked if Trump was “raising wages for working families.”
ALG Research also tested messaging, and found voters respond strongly to criticisms of Trump proposing an $845-billion cut to Medicaid or threatening coverage of pre-existing conditions.
In terms of delivering messaging, the survey found these voters rely heavily on television. About 40 percent of respondents list local TV news as their primary information source. Some 85 percent say they never receive news online.
American Bridge leaders suggested the findings of weakness in rural American mirror the Trump’s campaign own data. Numerous media reports indicate Trump fired his own pollsters after they showed him trailing Democrat Joe Biden.
Of note, ALG Research Partner John Anzalone now conducts polling for Biden, and has worked with the former vice president since his first presidential run in 1987.
“His team clearly knows it as well as we do, and our latest research proves it,” Beychok said.
“American Bridge is going to be working hard with an all-out effort to hit Trump where it hurts – weakening him with his core voters and ensuring a Democrat is elected to the White House.”