June was Trump’s best month for approval nationally since January and his second strongest among Republicans since April 2017, according to Morning Consult. Still, the president is 7 points underwater, with a 51 percent disapproval rating, and the firm’s polling found a partisan enthusiasm gap: only 49 percent of Republicans strongly approve of Trump while 71 percent of Democrats strongly disapprove.
But the battle for control of the Senate will be fought on largely red terrain. Ten Democratic senators are running for reelection in states Trump carried in 2016, and several of them are competing where he remains popular now.
Trump’s approval rating in West Virginia stood at 60 percent in June, with 36 percent disapproving. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is facing Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey in a competitive race this fall after Trump intervened to preventing a weaker candidate from emerging out of the GOP primary.
In Montana, Trump boasted 52 percent approval to 44 percent disapproval. That’s unwelcome news for Democratic Sen. Jon Tester, who is being challenged by GOP state Auditor Matt Rosendale.
Trump had a 51 percent approval rating to 46 percent who disapproved in North Dakota. Democratic Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is trying to hold off the state’s only congressman, Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, to keep her seat.
Similarly, Trump had a 51 percent approval rating in Vice President Mike Pence’s home state of Indiana. Forty-five percent disapproved, up from 33 percent in May. Democratic Sen. Joe Donnelly is competing against GOP state lawmaker and businessman Mike Braun.
The numbers are even closer in Missouri, a state Trump won handily in 2016. Still, 50 percent approved of his job performance to 45 percent who disapproved. Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill has outraised her likely Republican opponent, state Attorney General Josh Hawley. She is nevertheless considered one of the Democrats’ most vulnerable incumbents.
Even in Florida, a battleground state, Trump had a 51 percent approval rating while 45 percent disapproved (though those numbers are down from 56-34 in May). Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson is threatened by Republican Gov. Rick Scott in what figures to be an expensive race.
Trump has recently campaigned for Republican challengers in raucous rallies in Montana, North Dakota, West Virginia, Indiana, and Minnesota, among other places. But he won’t be as helpful to Republicans in other states where he competed or won. The incumbents will not only need to defend their seats but will also face pressure to support Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The president was slightly underwater in Ohio, at 47 percent approval to 49 percent disapproval. Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown is heavily favored to win reelection. Trump is marginally worse off in Pennsylvania, at 46 percent approval and 51 percent disapproval. Democratic Sen. Bob Casey is also heavily favored. Both Republican challengers are Trump recruits.
In Michigan, where Trump scored a surprise upset in 2016, his job approval was 44 percent to 52 percent disapproval. Ditto Wisconsin, where 41 percent still approved of Trump while an eye-popping 55 percent disapproved. Good news for Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Tammy Baldwin, respectively.
Then, there are the states where Republicans are playing defense. Trump’s approval was at 55 percent in Tennessee to 40 percent disapproval. He will be crucial to Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s chances of succeeding Sen. Bob Corker.
In Arizona, Trump’s approval/disapproval was deadlocked at 48 percent apiece. Two candidates for the Republican nomination to possibly succeed outgoing Sen. Jeff Flake, state Sen. Kelli Ward and former Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, are Trump loyalists but the party is rooting for Rep. Martha McSally. Rep. Kyrsten Sinema is the likely Democratic nominee.
Both Corker and Flake are leaving the Senate after clashing with Trump, imperiling their chances with Republican primary voters.
GOP Sen. Dean Heller is going to have to do some of his own heavy lifting in Nevada, a state Hillary Clinton narrowly won in 2016. There, Trump was at 52 percent disapproval while only 44 percent approved.
Interestingly, Maine voters are evenly divided on Trump. Forty-eight percent approved, 49 percent disapproved. Clinton won statewide, but Trump took one of its electoral votes by carrying the 2nd Congressional District. Republican state lawmaker Eric Brakey could use all the help he can get against Sen. Angus King, an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.
Mitt Romney is considered safe in Utah, but Trump remains polarizing. Despite the state’s overwhelming Republican tilt, the president’s approval is deadlocked there 48-48.
Overall, Republicans would prefer Trump was more popular. The president also remains a liability in many of the districts that will decide control of the House. When it comes to the Senate, however, Trump and the GOP are still playing a decent hand nearly five months out.