July 24, 2017

Poll: Trump’s job performance scores low among New Mexicans

Gage Skidmore

President Donald Trump speaking at the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland Flickr cc

President Donald Trump’s approval rating in New Mexico after his first few months in office is among the lowest in the nation.

That’s according to newly-released results from Gallup, the venerable polling service that releases daily national poll numbers on Trump’s approval rating.

In New Mexico, Trump’s approval rating sits at 37 percent, while 56 percent disapprove of Trump’s job performance. That approval rating is the 11th-lowest of any state, tied with Rhode Island.

Nationwide in the same time period, between Trump’s inauguration and Junde 30, 40 percent of adults approved of Trump’s job performance while 54 percent disapproved.

Gabe Sanchez, a political science professor at the University of New Mexico, told NM Political Report he believes the health care overhaul pursued by Republicans and Trump is one reason for the low approval rating.

“I think part of it is the challenge of the [Affordable Care Act], given that half of the state’s population and growing relies on Medicaid,” Sanchez said of Trump’s low numbers in New Mexico.

Sanchez is also the co-director of the Institute of Policy, Evaluation and Applied Research at UNM as well as a principal at Latino Decisions, a polling firm that focuses on polling Latinos.

While the U.S. Senate still does not know which health care proposal they will vote on later this week, proposals have largely focused on ending Medicaid expansion at some point.

Sanchez said while the ACA is not itself extremely popular—nationwide the most recent Kaiser Health Tracking Poll found 40 percent of adults had a favorable opinion of the law against 44 percent with an unfavorable opinion and a Gallup poll pegged its approval rating at 53 percent against 44 percent who disapproved—it has provided healthcare to more people in the state and New Mexico’s benefits from the law have been among the best in the country.

Gallup’s analysis of the polling numbers also mentioned the health care overhaul.

“Trump and the Republican majority have yet to achieve many of their hoped-for policy goals, including repeal of the Affordable Care Act and tax reform,” Gallup’s analysts wrote.

Sanchez also noted “the governor kind of distancing herself more lately and coming out against his policies” could be another contributing factor, even if Gov. Susana Martinez’s approval ratings are themselves not as high as they were in her first term.

As for going forward, Sanchez said it’s unclear what impact Trump will have on elections in 2018.

“I think candidates are going to try to dance around Trump and not really be connected to him positively or negatively,” Sanchez said. He also noted that New Mexico does not always vote the same way in federal elections as in state elections.

The interviews took place between Jan. 20 and June 30. Gallup polled 81,155 adults overall, including 648 in New Mexico. Gallup polled 70 percent cellphone respondents and 30 percent landline respondents. The overall margin of error is +/- 1 percentage point, with higher margins of error for individual states. The state margins of error are at +/- 8 percent at the highest, with most states at +/- 4 percent. Gallup did not break out the margin of error for each individual state.