Trump’s weaknesses with GOP voters go beyond the suburbs

Trump’s weaknesses with GOP voters go beyond the suburbs

Politico reports:

The battle for Trump-skeptical Republican voters isn’t just about the suburbs.

It’s true that the hundreds of thousands of GOP primary voters who voted against former President Donald Trump this year were concentrated in highly educated, suburban areas that have swung blue over the past decade.

But a POLITICO analysis shows there’s also a significant bloc of voters who did not want Trump in more exurban, red-leaning counties — the kinds of places that were skeptical of Trump in the 2016 GOP primary and, while largely voting for him in the 2016 and 2020 general elections, have remained somewhat resistant to his takeover of the Republican Party.

The analysis of GOP presidential primary results from more than 1,000 counties shows warning signs for Trump, especially as Republican voters continued to vote against him in closed primaries after he clinched the nomination. And it makes clear that, while independents and crossover voters may have boosted former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley in some primaries, a chunk of true Republican voters still wished for someone else to be the party’s nominee.

“You hear a lot of moderate Republicans now who say that they’ll never vote for Trump again,” said Parker Fairbairn, county GOP chair in Emmet County, Michigan, on the northern end of the state’s Lower Peninsula, where Trump won 55 percent of the vote in the 2020 general election. In last month’s primary, he got two-thirds of the vote there.

What distinguishes Emmet County and similar geographies from the other suburban ones is their broader politics. These aren’t the kinds of suburbs on the outskirts of major cities, where wealthy, educated professionals have already fled the Republican Party.

They’re farther away from urban areas. They’re less densely populated, and they have fewer voters with college degrees. These places — which include North Carolina’s Republican-leaning exurbs, and conservative but less Trump-inclined counties several hours north of Michigan’s major cities — still vote predominantly for Republicans, both at the presidential and local levels. In 2016, when both parties held contested primaries, the Republican voters in these counties backed candidates like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) over Trump, and in the general election they voted for Trump at lower rates than the deep-red rural areas. [Continue reading…]

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