Back in the primary, there were bold predictions that a candidate like Donald Trump could redraw the electoral map. Trump’s mix of populism, protectionism and isolationism could turn Rust Belt states blue the argument ran. Nine months later, as Election Day rapidly approaches, it seems that the predictions of different electoral map were true, but not in the way Republicans expected.
New polling suggests that Trump is on the verge of losing several deep red states. Arizona, Georgia and even Texas have all been moved into the swing state category for the Trump-Clinton race. The Real Clear Politics average shows the race tightening in both Georgia and Texas. In both states, Trump holds a lead within the polling margin of error. In Arizona, the lead has shifted over the past two months. Trump has lost a slim lead and is now trailing Hillary Clinton by a five-point margin in the most recent Arizona Republic poll.
A common thread among these states is the high percentage of nonwhite voters. A Pew survey of the 2016 electorate shows that both Texas and Arizona have high numbers of Hispanic voters. Almost a third of Texas voters are Hispanic while, among Arizona voters, the percentage Hispanic voters is just over a fifth. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Trump’s anti-Mexico rhetoric and plans to build a wall along the Mexican border seem not to be popular with most Hispanic voters. A recent Wall Street Journal poll found Hispanic support for the Republican at 18 percent.
Georgia has fewer Hispanics, but the state is still ethnically diverse. The Atlanta Journal estimated last year that 40 percent of Georgia’s electorate would be minority voters. At about a third of voters, blacks make up Georgia’s largest minority. In August, a Public Policy poll found Trump’s support among blacks to be effectively at zero.
But what about Alaska, another deep red state with few minority voters? The one poll of Alaskans showed Trump with only a three-point lead over Hillary Clinton. The Moore AK poll found Trump leading with the support of only 37 percent of voters. There are not enough Hispanic or black voters in Alaska to blame Trump’s lack of support on race or ethnicity.
Aside from race, the gender gap is the other big problem for Trump. A recent analysis by found that women support Clinton by a 15-point margin while men support Trump by only five-points. In several recent polls, Clinton has even won male voters outright. In 2012 polls, Obama and Romney’s lead among women and men
More women than men vote. In 2012, 53 percent of the electorate was female while 47 percent was male according to CNN exit polls. Obama won women by 11-points while Romney won men by seven points. The fact that Trump is losing women by a double-digit margin while also doing poorly with men can explain why he is in danger of losing states that are normally safe for Republican candidates.
A bright spot for Republicans is that Trump’s problems do not doom other Republicans. Republican congressional candidates are generally polling better than Mr. Trump. The bad news is that many of them are locked in tight races that must be considered tossups. A few votes lost because of Donald Trump can make a difference.