If the election were held today, Trump would get 99 Electoral College votes

Published 6:22 pm Sunday, August 6, 2017

The Gallup polls showing President Donald Trump’s approval ratings state by state were released this week.  And it’s not a good sign for the incumbent, who barely musters a majority in 17 states, totaling 99 Electoral College votes.

Nationwide, only 39 percent of people surveyed approve of the performance of President Donald Trump.  But as we know, of course, from the 2000 and 2016 election, that you need a majority of Electoral College votes, not the most ballots in the popular vote contest.  But the news still isn’t good for President Trump.

Currently, Trump has a 50 percent approval rating or higher in 17 states, according to Gallup Polling.  He leads West Virginia with a whopping 60 percent of the vote (his highest nationwide), followed by North Dakota (59 percent), South Dakota (57 percent), Wyoming (56 percent), Montana (56 percent), Alabama (55 percent), Oklahoma (54 percent), Idaho (53 percent), Kansas (53 percent), Arkansas (53 percent), Kentucky (53 percent), Nebraska (52 percent), Alaska (51 percent), Louisiana (51 percent), Utah (50 percent) and South Carolina (50 percent).  That’s good for 99 Electoral College votes, according to 270toWin.com.

Trump still has a chance in Missouri (49 percent), Mississippi (48 percent), Indiana (47 percent), and Ohio (47 percent), as each of these states gives the President a higher approval rating than his popular vote total.  This would boost Trump to 144 Electoral College votes.  However, he did better than 50 percent in each of these states, so that’s a bad sign for the GOP President.

Trump’s got work to do in New Hampshire (45 percent), Iowa (45 percent), Nevada (44 percent), Wisconsin (43 percent), Georgia, (43 percent), Pennsylvania (43 percent) and Arizona (43 percent), having won all but Nevada in 2016. This would get him to 217 Electoral College votes.  He won Michigan (42 percent), Texas (42 percent), Florida (42 percent) and North Carolina (42 percent), although those states certainly don’t look so easy today for Trump.  Maine comes in at 42 percent.

Every other state, from the West (Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, California, Colorado, and New Mexico), to the Midwest (Minnesota, Illinois) to the Northeast (New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Jersey) to the Delmarva region (Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, plus Washington DC) give Trump an approval rating of less than 40 percent.  That’s 219 Electoral College votes just to start with for those with less than a 40 percent approval rating, while Trump only gets a 60 percent approval rating for just five of West Virginia’s Electoral College votes.

There’s still several ways Trump could win.  For example, the economy could go recession-free for the next 3.5 years, having ended its last one in 2009.  Democrats could renominate Hillary Clinton, whose approval rating is as low at Donald Trump’s (39 percent).  Public opinion could swoon over a triumphant Trump victory over North Korea.  And maybe Trump manages to get through a slew of scandals over Russia, conflicts of interest, with the public giving the president a pass if he pardons himself.

So far, the Republican Party has to decide whether to continue to vigorously defend President Trump, or seek to distance themselves from the chief executive.  If you’re in the GOP and represent one of the 33 states that gives Trump less than a 50 percent approval rating, you may not be exactly hitching your wagon to a star.  It may be time to look to one’s own fortunes, rather than a president who has been more than willing to throw fellow Republicans, whether they are conservative, moderate or liberal, under a bus.

John A. Tures is a professor of political science at LaGrange College in LaGrange, Ga.  He can be reached at jtures@lagrange.edu. His Twitter account is JohnTures2.