Women's March in Olympia
Women's March in Olympia

Wash­ing­ton State vot­ed for Hillary Clin­ton in the 2016 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and has been a hotbed of resis­tance activ­i­ty since Don­ald Trump’s Elec­toral Col­lege vic­to­ry a year and a half ago, so it’s not too sur­pris­ing that most Wash­ing­to­ni­ans don’t have a favor­able opin­ion of Trump’s job per­for­mance — if we can even call it that.

A new sur­vey com­mis­sioned by NPI finds that three in five Wash­ing­to­ni­ans (59%) dis­ap­prove of the job Trump has been doing, while only 35% approve.

6% said they were not sure.

(And we’re not sure why six per­cent of the respon­dents to the sur­vey said they were not sure, giv­en how polar­iz­ing and media dom­i­nant Trump is.)

What’s real­ly inter­est­ing, though, is that our sur­vey found that Trump is under­wa­ter in every region in the state, not just in Puget Sound. It so hap­pens many rur­al Wash­ing­to­ni­ans aren’t hap­py with Trump either.

Here are the num­bers again for the entire sample:

QUESTION: Do you approve or dis­ap­prove of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s job performance?


  • Dis­ap­prove: 59%
  • Approve: 35%
  • Not sure: 6%

Our sur­vey of six hun­dred and sev­en­ty-five like­ly 2018 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field May 22nd-23rd, 2018. The sur­vey used a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and online inter­views of cell phone only respon­dents. The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for NPI, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 3.8% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

And now, by region:

QUESTION: Do you approve or dis­ap­prove of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s job performance?


  • King Coun­ty
    • Dis­ap­prove: 70%
    • Approve: 24%
    • Not sure: 5%
  • North Puget Sound 
    • Dis­ap­prove: 54%
    • Approve: 41%
    • Not sure: 5%
  • South Sound
    • Dis­ap­prove: 56%
    • Approve: 37%
    • Not sure: 7%
  • Olympic Penin­su­la and South­west Washington 
    • Dis­ap­prove: 59%
    • Approve: 36%
    • Not sure: 5%
  • East­ern Washington 
    • Dis­ap­prove: 48%
    • Approve: 46%
    • Not sure: 6%

Yes, even in East­ern Wash­ing­ton, Trump is not above fifty percent.

This is an omi­nous sign for the Repub­li­can Party.

Trump is obvi­ous­ly still pop­u­lar with his rabid base (and will con­tin­ue to be), but his polar­iz­ing, destruc­tive pol­i­tics and ter­ri­ble poli­cies have alien­at­ed a lot of peo­ple, includ­ing in Repub­li­can-friend­ly regions. That rein­forces the notion that dis­tricts like Wash­ing­ton’s 5th could be in play this autumn. The 5th is cur­rent­ly rep­re­sent­ed by Repub­li­can Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, but it might not be after November.

McMor­ris Rodgers is fac­ing a chal­lenge like she’s nev­er faced before, from for­mer Sen­ate Major­i­ty Leader Lisa Brown. Brown’s can­di­da­cy has gal­va­nized the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty here to a degree I have not seen before. Polls show she’s on McMor­ris Rodgers’ heels, which is right­ly caus­ing Repub­li­cans to pan­ic.

The melt­down has been a sight to see.

The state Repub­li­can Par­ty has sent out a num­ber of dis­joint­ed emails late­ly attack­ing Brown and call­ing on sub­scribers to sup­port McMor­ris Rodgers, who in past cycles has been assumed to be safe giv­en the deep red lean of the dis­trict. Play­ing defense in the 5th appears to be the Wash­ing­ton State Repub­li­can Par­ty’s top pri­or­i­ty in 2018, aside from try­ing to get three-time los­er Dino Rossi elect­ed in the 8th, where the par­ty would like to hold on to Dave Reichert’s seat.

The Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, mean­while, is fired up to cap­ture both dis­tricts, and would  like to put the 3rd Dis­trict in play as well. The par­ty has sev­er­al can­di­dates com­pet­ing in the 3rd, as well as a chal­lenger for Dan New­house in the 4th.

No Demo­c­rat has rep­re­sent­ed East­ern or Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton since 1994, when Repub­li­cans George Nether­cutt and Doc Hast­ings defeat­ed Tom Foley and Jay Inslee. (Inslee lat­er returned to Con­gress as the rep­re­sen­ta­tive from one of the state’s west­ern dis­tricts, and today, he serves as Gov­er­nor of Washington.)

Foley was the first and only Wash­ing­ton­ian to serve as Speak­er of the Unit­ed States House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. A states­man, Foley’s lega­cy is still felt in the dis­trict today. Nei­ther Nether­cutt nor McMor­ris Rodgers have come close to rep­re­sent­ing the dis­trict as ably as he once did. But Lisa Brown says that if she’s elect­ed, that is pre­cise­ly the kind of rep­re­sen­ta­tion she will provide.

Nation­wide polls show that more Amer­i­cans also dis­ap­prove of Trump’s job per­for­mance than approve, although the dis­par­i­ty is less pro­nounced than it is in Demo­c­ra­t­ic-lean­ing states such as Washington.

Trump com­pares unfa­vor­ably to all of his recent pre­de­ces­sors, who each enjoyed high­er approval rat­ings at this stage of their pres­i­den­cies than he does.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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