Iowa, the state that sets the agenda for presidential races and handed Donald Trump a decisive victory in 2016’s election, now overwhelmingly disapproves of his performance and believes the country is on the wrong track, a new poll showed Wednesday.
This follows a trend of other Republican stronghold states, like Alabama and Tennessee, turning away from Trump as he scores record-low national approval ratings.
In a poll from The Des Moines Register, only 35 percent of Iowans approved of Trump's presidency. Meanwhile, 60 percent disapproved, citing his perceived "unprofessionalism," lack of clear vision and questionable integrity as president. Trump won the state last year with 51 percent of the vote—10 points over his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton. He also came in second in the Iowa GOP caucus earlier in the year, scoring only one delegate less than the winner, Ted Cruz.
"He’s not really a leader," Fairfield native Diana Fern told the Register. "Because he doesn't have experience, he’s not really leading. I feel like he's reacting to situations, and he hasn't really stated a clear vision. And I think his integrity is in question."
Trump's base in Iowa—self-identified Republicans and evangelical Christians—remains supportive, with 78 percent of conservatives and 51 percent of evangelicals affirming their approval. Those who strongly disapprove of Trump's performance included a majority of women, people making less than $50,000 annually and self-identified independent voters.
Iowa emerged as a particularly vital Republican state after its Legislature had a GOP trifecta in the 2016 election, meaning Republicans now control the governor's seat, the House and the Senate. The state's caucus famously kicks off the primary season every presidential cycle and is known for usually making or breaking candidates running for their party's nomination.
The state will also be crucial to Trump's 2020 campaign since Republican success there is not guaranteed. Iowa went to Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012, and it has gone red only one other time since 1988.
Iowa is just the latest Trump state to apparently change its mind on the president. Exit polls from Tuesday's Alabama Senate race, in which voters rejected the Trump-backed Republican candidate, Roy Moore, showed 48 percent of voters disapproving of the president. That deep red state helped elect him in 2016, with 62 percent support.
In Tennessee, Trump's approval rating has likewise dropped, to 48 percent, according to a Vanderbilt University survey released Thursday. Tennessee gave Trump 60 percent of the vote in 2016, 26 points over Clinton.
The gripes from the Hawkeye State and in the South came after Trump spent weeks campaigning for Moore, who faces sexual misconduct allegations from several women. After Moore lost to Democrat Doug Jones, in Alabama's first election of a Democratic congressional candidate in two decades, Trump said on Twitter that "Roy worked hard but the deck was stacked against him."
Trump's red state reckoning also comes as his national disapproval rating has hit 63 percent, according to a Pew Research Center survey released last week. His approval rating has hovered between 32 and 35 percent in most mainstream polls as 2017 comes to a close, and he is ending his first year in office with record-low numbers for any modern president.
The Iowa poll was conducted between December 3 and 6. It surveyed 802 Iowans and had a margin of error of 3.5 points.
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