Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Blogger Candidate Forum: What Does Suburbia Think Of President Trump?

President Trump at a campaign-style rally in Florida
Hello Everyone:

It is time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  We are just a little over a month into the presidency of Donald Trump and it has been a chaotic month, to say the utmost least.  Witness the raucous town hall meetings conducted by Republican members of The House of Representatives and The Senate.  The meetings have gotten rowdy to the point where some members have either cancelled the event or asked for additional security.  These cacophonous meetings are just for the camera, rather they are a manifestation of suburban anxiety over President Trump.

President Trump at his inauguration
 Without a doubt President Trump has become one of the polarizing figures in suburban America.  For example, take that ill-conceived and poorly implemented executive order that banned travelers and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim nations.  Do we call it a "Muslim ban" or the softer "travel ban?"  Suburbia cannot make up its mind: "...52 percent say it's a Muslim ban, 47 percent say it isn't." A recent CNN/ORC poll 50 percent responded positively to the ban and the remaining 50 percent cannot support it.  The suburban split over POTUS is a situation that Kriston Capps ponders in his CityLab article "The Suburbs Are Split Over Donald Trump."

POTUS job approval ratings
After his fractious opening weeks in office, conservatives resoundingly love what POTUS is doing, while liberals are counting the days until he is out of office.  Mr. Capps writes, "Rural and urban align with conservative and liberal views."  Blogger is not surprised.  "The suburbs, however, are torn down the middle."  Mr. Capps makes this observation about the ideological diversity in suburbia.  He reports, "Suburban residents also think are going better than either their urban or rural counterparts do-whic doesn't quite add up."  How is this possible?

Almost half-49 percent- of suburban respondents are happy with the way POTUS is doing his job, thus far, while the remaining 49 percent disapprove.  This is not to say that the suburbs are neutral on the subjects ("beyond the 2 percent who somehow still have no opinion).  Like their rural and urban counterparts, suburban dwellers have strong feelings for and against POTUS, with very little gray area.  What accounts for this difference is that suburbs are not ideological silos.

Trump transition CNN/ORC poll
The latest CNN/ORC does not accurately define what it means by "suburbs." (   Kriston Capps reports, "The poll's methodology reference the Census: All respondents were asked questions concerning basic demographics, and the entire sample was weighted to reflect national Census figures for gender, race, age, education, reign of country, and telephone usage."  The American Housing Survey ( assigned codes for two types of suburbs: urban and rural suburbs.  Good but "'s doubtful that people answering a telephone poll would know offhand their community's official designation one way or the other."

First approval ratings for POTUS: travel ban
In the broadest sense, suburbia is politically contested territory on the questions of security, the economy, and other subjects.  On the topic of healthcare, "46 percent of suburban respondents approve of the work Trump has put in so far, while 44 percent disapprove.  On his handling of terrorism (50 percent approve, 47 percent disapprove) and foreign affair (43/51), the gap in only a bit wider."  By comparison, urban approval for Trump administration policies hovers somewhere in the 30 percent range and disapproval floats around the 60 percent range-the converse is true for rural respondents.

What the Trump border wall might look like
The folly of the proposed wall between Mexico and the United States is only topic that suburbia can come together.  Mr. Capps reports, "...58 percent oppose it, while just 40 percent support."  The wall is not winning fans anywhere.  "While 83 percent of Republican and 71 percent of self-identified conservatives support the wall, they're spread out."  POTUS's border proposal has lukewarm support in rural America, The President's stronghold: "...53 percent in favor and 45 opposed (When respondents were asked about building the wall through import taxes on imported goods from Mexico, support for the wall cratered across the board.)"

Rasmussen poll: Is the United States on the right track?

Kriston Capps observes, "The most interesting result from the poll may be that nobody thinks the country is heading in the right direction except the suburbs."  The numbers break down as follow: "...42 percent of urban respondents think things are going very well or fairly well."  This makes political sense because the majority of urban voters are Democrats and the Blue Team got their collective heads handed to them in the last election.  You would think that rural dwellers would have a more optimistic outlook on the direction of the country, right?  No, "...only 43 percent of them do.  In suburbs, though, 51 percent of respondents think are fine."

Despite the red river that was the 2016 federal election map, geography may spell doom for the Republican party in the future (i.e. the mid-term elections in 2018).  President Trump  has much work to do in order to convince suburbia that life is terrible-high unemployment, the liberal media is covering up terrorist attack-in order to gain support for his divisive policies.  How is he doing so far? President Trump will have to convince American suburbanites that life is terrible not because of Republican party policies.  President Trump clearly enjoys agitating his base, he also needs to to keep them happy.  Given the noisy and angry town hall meetings held by Republican members of Congress, POTUS and the red team are not doing too good a job at keeping the base happy.  Could the Republican party loyalists lose faith in POTUS and Republican incumbents?  The mid-terms are in November 2018 and the Republicans and The President need to work fast, very fast.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton learned the hard way that geography is destiny.  While President Donald Trump may be the apple of the conservative voters's eye, the party he leads still has much work to do to win over their conservative constituents.  If suburbia continues to hold a negative outlook on President Trump, it may bode ill  for down-ballot Republican races at mid-terms and beyond

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