As we wrote in January, Donald Trump's presidential job approval ratings have shown remarkable strength acorss key demographic categories thorughout his presidency. The first University of Texas/Texas Tribune Poll of 2020 finds him entering the year of his presidential re-election campaign with strong approval ratings from the groups that will remain crucial to his effort in Texas -- and will impact the efforts of Republican incumbents in Congress and the state legislature seeking to retain their seats in a seemingly more competitive political environment. In the table below, we've updated the table built for the first post with breakdowns of presidential job approval from the most recent poll.
|Overall||GOP||GOP Men||GOP Women||GOP with College Degree||GOP without College Degree||Urban GOP||Suburban GOP||Rural GOP|
Perhaps most notable is his strong job approval among two constituencies about whom some Republicans have expressed worry, and some Democrats, optimism: Republican women and Republicans in the suburbs. The latest Trump job approval numbers suggest that these groups aren't who Republicans should be worried about, and that Democrats shouldn't waste too much effort looking to benefit from the converted or disaffected. Trump's job approval among GOP women remains in the middle- to high-end of the historical trend (85%), and the same is true of his positive approval by 87% of suburban Republicans. Speaker Dennis Bonnen infamously mentioned that Trump was "killing us in urban-suburban districts" (with all due respect) in the secretly recorded conversation in the Capitol that ultimately helped undue his speakership. If so, it's not because Trump has fallen from the grace of Republicans in those areas. More likely, it's because the composition of those districts has changed since they were drawn in the aggressive gerrymander Republicans carried out during redistricting in 2011. With more non-Republican voters in those burgeoning urban-suburban areas of the state, Republican candidates are wedged between their partisan voters, whose most powerful attachment in 2020 will be their enraptured enlistment as warriors in Trump's efforts to MAGA for another term, and growing numbers of suburban Democrats whose most intense focus in 2020 will be voting the boss and figurehead of the Republican Party, who they intensely loathe, out of the White House. Texas legislative and congressional candidates in competitive districts need to benefit from the dedication of the first group, but without unduly triggering a anti-Trump countermoblization targeted at them in districts where their once-majorities have shrunk or even disappeared.