NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Friday, May 25th, 2018

No surprise: NPI poll finds Washingtonians don’t like Donald Trump’s job performance

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.

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