In 2016, three states that have traditionally supported Democrats in presidential elections shocked political observers by voting for Donald Trump with slim margins. Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had supported Democrats so frequently that they were said to make up a “blue wall,” along with Minnesota, which narrowly went for Hillary Clinton.
With the 2020 election just under a year away, voters in blue wall states remain a critical demographic for Democratic candidates eager to reestablish a foothold in the midwest, and for now-President Trump as he seeks to expand his support in these states. A new report by the Kaiser Family Foundation and the Cook Political Report found that 41% of voters in these blue wall states have not decided who they will support in 2020.
The report also found that Mr. Trump is an important factor in motivating voters to turn out. Twenty-one percent of voters said that their primary motivation to vote in 2020 is to defeat Mr. Trump, compared to the 8% who said they were motivated by a desire to reelect Mr. Trump or to oppose a Democrat.
Senator Elizabeth Warren, former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders are Democratic primary voters’ top choices for the nomination in blue-wall states. Twenty-two percent of Democratic primary voters said they would support Warren, compared to 21% supporting Biden and 13% supporting Sanders.
Meanwhile, the report found that 73% of Republican and Republican-leaning voters would prefer Mr. Trump to be the Republican nominee, leaving little hope for his primary challengers. Seventy percent of Trump voters say there is not a policy he could enact or fail to enact which would convince them not to vote for him.
Fifty-nine percent of blue-wall voters overall disapprove of Mr. Trump. However, he still has strong support from demographic groups which make up his base, including 78% of conservative voters, 57% of rural voters, and 51% of white voters with no college degree. However, his approval ratings are underwater among 95% of black voters, 80% of Hispanic voters, 76% of urban voters, and 64% of white voters will a college degree.
Mr. Trump’s low approval ratings among white voters with college degrees could perhaps help explain recent Republican losses in suburban areas where the GOP has traditionally had a stronghold. On Tuesday, Democrats erased the razor-thin majorities Republicans held in the State Capitol, in part due to wins in suburban counties such as Prince William county. Democrats now hold all three branches of government in Virginia for the first time in a generation.
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