Donald Trump
Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.

Don­ald Trump’s posi­tion with rur­al vot­ers in Wash­ing­ton State appears to have wors­ened since the spring of 2020 and is back to about where it was in 2019, a new sur­vey con­duct­ed for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute has found.

Over­all, 60% of Wash­ing­to­ni­ans dis­ap­prove of Trump’s job per­for­mance, while 37% approve. 3% of respon­dents said that they were not sure.

Those statewide num­bers, from a poll just back from the field this morn­ing, are iden­ti­cal, or near­ly iden­ti­cal, to what we’ve been find­ing for years.

How­ev­er, at the region­al lev­el, Trump’s posi­tion in regions with high­er con­cen­tra­tions of right wing and con­ser­v­a­tive vot­ers has dete­ri­o­rat­ed, which def­i­nite­ly isn’t good news for the Repub­li­can ticket.

Take East­ern and Cen­tral Washington.

Back in the spring, we found Trump’s approval rat­ing in that region had improved to 52%, up from 49% in Octo­ber of 2019 and 47% in May of 2019.

Just 43% there said they dis­ap­proved of Trump’s job per­for­mance back in May.

How­ev­er, Trump has giv­en up those gains. Our newest sur­vey finds vot­ers in East­ern and Cen­tral Wash­ing­ton even­ly split on whether Trump is doing a good job. Half (49%) say he is. Half (50%) say he is not. Only 1% are not sure.

It’s a sim­i­lar sto­ry in South­west Wash­ing­ton and on the Olympic Penin­su­la, where Trump has regressed from 47% approv­ing and 48% dis­ap­prov­ing back in May 2020 to 51% dis­ap­prov­ing and 45% approv­ing now.

It’s not all bad news for Trump and the Repub­li­cans, how­ev­er. Trump is doing bet­ter in the sub­urbs (par­tic­u­lar­ly north of Seat­tle) than he was back in May, at least in this sur­vey. He’s also doing some­what bet­ter in the South Sound, though 64% of vot­ers in the Pierce-Thurston area still dis­ap­prove of him.

King Coun­ty vot­ers’ views remain basi­cal­ly unchanged. 72% dis­ap­prove of Trump, the same as back in May, while 24% approve com­pared to 23% back in May.

Let’s dive into the num­bers. Here’s the statewide results again:

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


  • Dis­ap­prove: 60%
  • Approve: 37%
  • Not sure: 3%

Now, here are the num­bers by region:

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


  • King Coun­ty
    • Dis­ap­prove: 72%
    • Approve: 24%
    • Not sure: 3%
  • North Puget Sound 
    • Dis­ap­prove: 57%
    • Approve: 41%
    • Not sure: 3%
  • South Sound
    • Dis­ap­prove: 64%
    • Approve: 36%
    • Not sure: 1%
  • Olympic Penin­su­la and South­west Washington 
    • Dis­ap­prove: 51%
    • Approve: 45%
    • Not sure: 4%
  • East­ern and Cen­tral Washington 
    • Dis­ap­prove: 50%
    • Approve: 49%
    • Not sure: 1%

As we can see, Trump has returned to neg­a­tive ter­ri­to­ry in every region.

Because all pol­i­tics is Trump nowa­days, these find­ings indi­cate that Democ­rats in Wash­ing­ton State may be in a bet­ter posi­tion to secure down­bal­lot vic­to­ries in places like the 19th Leg­isla­tive Dis­trict (where State Sen­a­tor Dean Takko and State Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Bri­an Blake are work­ing hard for reelec­tion) than they were back in the sum­mer when the Top Two elec­tion was held.

Repub­li­can elect­ed offi­cials and par­ty oper­a­tives are well aware that Trump’s pres­ence atop their tick­et could have an inverse coat­tails effect this year. (It’s some­thing they’re talk­ing about inter­nal­ly on an almost con­stant basis.)

They are also aware that Trump’s cam­paign is going badly.

“Y’all have a good chance of win­ning the White House,” South Car­oli­na’s Lind­sey Gra­ham said yes­ter­day, con­ced­ing to his Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic col­leagues that Repub­li­cans are des­per­ate to get Amy Coney Bar­rett con­firmed before their hold on the exec­u­tive branch and the Sen­ate poten­tial­ly goes away.

“Thank you for acknowl­edg­ing that,” Min­neso­ta’s Amy Klobuchar replied.

“I think it’s true,” Gra­ham added.

Not only is Trump on the verge of defeat, but so are Mitch McConnell and the Sen­ate Repub­li­cans, to the sur­prise of many pun­dits. Democ­rats have suc­ceed­ed in cre­at­ing a broad­ly com­pet­i­tive map, with pick­up oppor­tu­ni­ties in states won by Trump as well as states that Hillary Clin­ton won, like Maine and Colorado.

Wash­ing­ton has a strong Demo­c­ra­t­ic tilt, espe­cial­ly at the statewide lev­el, and no cred­i­ble ana­lyst expects Repub­li­cans to be com­pet­i­tive in either the pres­i­den­tial or guber­na­to­r­i­al races here. How­ev­er, the state does have close­ly con­test­ed down­bal­lot races that could be affect­ed by how vot­ers per­ceive Don­ald Trump and the Repub­li­can Par­ty, which is effec­tive­ly the new Trump Organization.

Our sur­vey of six hun­dred and ten like­ly 2020 Wash­ing­ton State vot­ers was in the field from Wednes­day, Octo­ber 14th through Thurs­day, Octo­ber 15th.

It uti­lizes a blend­ed method­ol­o­gy, with auto­mat­ed phone calls to land­lines and text mes­sage answers from cell phone only respondents.

The poll was con­duct­ed by Pub­lic Pol­i­cy Polling for the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute, and has a mar­gin of error of +/- 4.0% at the 95% con­fi­dence level.

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-con­trolled states such as Washington.

Vot­ing in the Novem­ber 2020 gen­er­al elec­tion will end on Tues­day, Novem­ber 3rd. Don­ald Trump’s cur­rent term in office expires on Jan­u­ary 20th, 2021.

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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