According to polling from Morning Consult, President Donald Trump’s approval rating in North Dakota is down significantly from the early days of his administration, though it’s been relatively since that drop-off last year.
This is important because Trump has become a big factor in North Dakota’s statewide races. Particularly in the U.S. Senate race which has seen a lot of jockying between Republican Kevin Cramer and Democratic incumbent Heidi Heitkamp to see who can align themselves as the more important ally to the President.
Here’s the trend line for Trump in this poll. You can see the data for yourself here. What you’re looking at is the net approval for Trump, which is the difference between the percentage of poll respondents saying they approve of him and the number saying they disapprove:
I added in Senator Heitkamp’s net approval numbers (she, unfortunately, hasn’t been polled by Morning Consult as often as Trump) for context.
The Senator has seen a precipitous drop in her approval numbers in this poll dating back to last year. When I’ve written about that I’ve gotten criticism from some who say that Morning Consults methodology is flawed because it also shows Trump’s approval ratings as low. And given how the politicians are behaving this election year, it’s pretty clear that everyone believes Trump is still very popular in North Dakota.
Looking at Heitkamp and Trump’s numbers alongside one another, it sure looks to me like Heitkamp has a different trend line. She actually went up in popularity after Trump’s decline began. Her decline seems separate.
If the declines in popularity for Trump and Heitkamp were a result of some flawed methodology from Morning Consult you would expect the trend lines for each to mirror each other. After all, when Heitkamp was polled, respondents were asked about her on the same survey as Trump.
But the trend lines are different.
We can quibble on the numbers themselves – should they be higher or lower? – but I think the trends are more important.
Both Heitkamp and Trump have gotten less popular in North Dakota. Heitkamp much more so than Trump.
I wish we had more polling data from more sources, though. Specifically polling that matches Heitkamp up with Cramer head-to-head.