Poll: Trump's popularity is slipping in rural America

Oct 9 (Reuters) - Outside the Morgan County fair in McConnelsville, in a rural swath of Ohio that fervently backed U.S. President Donald Trump in last year's election, ticket seller John Wilson quietly counts off a handful of disappointments with the man he helped elect.

The 70-year-old retired banker said he is unhappy with infighting and turnover in the White House. He does not like Trump's penchant for traveling to his personal golf resorts. He wishes the president would do more to fix the healthcare system, and he worries that Trump might back down from his promise to force illegal immigrants out of the country.

"Every president makes mistakes," Wilson said. "But if you add one on top of one, on top of another one, on top of another, there's just a limit."

SEE ALSO: Bob Corker rips into Trump, says he could set the US 'on the path to World War III'

Trump, who inspired millions of supporters last year in places like Morgan County, has been losing his grip on rural America.

According to the Reuters/Ipsos daily tracking poll, the Republican president's popularity is eroding in small towns and rural communities where 15 percent of the country's population lives. The poll of more than 15,000 adults in "non-metro" areas shows that they are now as likely to disapprove of Trump as they are to approve of him.

In September, 47 percent of people in non-metro areas approved of Trump while 47 percent disapproved. That is down from Trump's first four weeks in office, when 55 percent said they approved of the president while 39 percent disapproved.

The poll found that Trump has lost support in rural areas among men, whites and people who never went to college. He lost support with rural Republicans and rural voters who supported him on Election Day.

And while Trump still gets relatively high marks in the poll for his handling of the economy and national security, rural Americans are increasingly unhappy with Trump's record on immigration, a central part of his presidential campaign.

Forty-seven percent of rural Americans said in September they approved of the president's handling of immigration, down from 56 percent during his first month in office.

Poll respondents who were interviewed by Reuters gave different reasons for their dissatisfaction with the president on immigration.

RELATED: How every state voted in the 2016 election

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How every state voted in the 2016 election
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How every state voted in the 2016 election

Alabama

Donald Trump: 1,318,255 votes

Hillary Clinton: 729,547 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Alaska

Donald Trump: 163,387 votes

Hillary Clinton: 116,454 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Arkansas

Donald Trump: 684,872 votes

Hillary Clinton: 380,494 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Arizona

Donald Trump: 1,252,401 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,161,167 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Connecticut

Donald Trump: 673,315 votes

Hillary Clinton: 897,572 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

California

Donald Trump: 4,483,810 votes

Hillary Clinton: 8,753,788 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Alaska

Donald Trump: 163,387 votes

Hillary Clinton: 116,454 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Colorado

Donald Trump: 1,202,484 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,338,870 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Delaware

Donald Trump: 185,127 votes

Hillary Clinton: 235,603 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Florida

Donald Trump: 4,617,886 votes

Hillary Clinton: 4,504,975 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Georgia

Donald Trump: 2,089,104 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,877,963 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Hawaii

Donald Trump: 128,847 votes

Hillary Clinton: 266,891 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Iowa

Donald Trump: 800,983 votes

Hillary Clinton: 653,669 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Illinois

Donald Trump: 2,146,015 votes

Hillary Clinton: 3,090,729 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Idaho

Donald Trump: 409,055 votes

Hillary Clinton: 189,765 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Indiana

Donald Trump: 1,557,286 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,033,126 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Kansas

Donald Trump: 671,018 votes

Hillary Clinton: 427,005 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Kentucky

Donald Trump: 1,202,971 votes

Hillary Clinton: 628,854 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Louisiana

Donald Trump: 1,178,638 votes

Hillary Clinton: 780,154 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Maine

Donald Trump: 335,543 votes

Hillary Clinton: 357,735 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Massachusetts

Donald Trump: 1,090,893 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,995,196 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Michigan

Donald Trump: 2,279,543 votes

Hillary Clinton: 2,268,839 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Minnesota

Donald Trump: 1,323,232 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,367,825 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Mississippi

Donald Trump: 700,714 votes

Hillary Clinton: 485,131 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Missouri

Donald Trump: 1,594,511 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,071,068 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Montana

Donald Trump: 279,240 votes

Hillary Clinton: 177,709 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Nebraska

Donald Trump: 495,961 votes

Hillary Clinton: 284,494 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Nevada

Donald Trump: 512,058 votes

Hillary Clinton: 539,260 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

New Hampshire

Donald Trump: 345,790 votes

Hillary Clinton: 348,526 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

New Jersey

Donald Trump: 1,601,933 votes

Hillary Clinton: 2,148,278 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

New Mexico

Donald Trump: 319,667 votes

Hillary Clinton: 385,234 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

New York

Donald Trump: 2,819,534 votes

Hillary Clinton: 4,556,124 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

North Dakota

Donald Trump: 216,794 votes

Hillary Clinton: 93,758 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Ohio

Donald Trump: 2,841,005 votes

Hillary Clinton: 2,394,164 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Oklahoma

Donald Trump: 949,136 votes

Hillary Clinton: 420,375 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Oregon

Donald Trump: 782,403 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,002,106 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Pennsylvania

Donald Trump: 2,970,733 votes

Hillary Clinton: 2,926,441 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Rhode Island

Donald Trump: 180,543 votes

Hillary Clinton: 252,525 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

South Carolina

Donald Trump: 1,155,389 votes

Hillary Clinton: 855,373 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

South Dakota

Donald Trump: 227,721 votes

Hillary Clinton: 117,458 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Tennessee

Donald Trump: 1,522,925 votes

Hillary Clinton: 870,695 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Texas

Donald Trump: 4,685,047 votes

Hillary Clinton: 3,877,865 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Utah

Donald Trump: 515,231 votes

Hillary Clinton: 310,676 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Vermont

Donald Trump: 95,259 votes

Hillary Clinton: 178,573 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Virginia

Donald Trump: 1,769,443 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,981,473 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Washington

Donald Trump: 1,221,747 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,742,718 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

West Virginia

Donald Trump: 489,371 votes

Hillary Clinton: 188,794 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Wisconsin

Donald Trump: 1,405,284 votes

Hillary Clinton: 1,382,536 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

Wyoming

Donald Trump: 174,419 votes

Hillary Clinton: 55,973 votes

Data courtesy of the New York Times

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A few said they are tired of waiting for Trump to make good on his promise to build a wall along America's southern border, while others said they were uncomfortable with his administration's efforts to restrict travel into the United States.

"There should be some sort of compromise between a free flow of people over the border and something that's more controlled," said Drew Carlson, 19, of Warrensburg, Missouri, who took the poll.

But Trump's "constant fixation on deportation is a little bit unsettling to me."

The Trump administration would not comment about the Reuters/Ipsos poll. (For a graphic depicting poll results, see: http://tmsnrt.rs/2yuVIun)

To be sure, Trump is still much more popular in rural America than he is elsewhere.

Since he took office, "I like him less, but I support him more," said Robert Cody, 87, a retired chemical engineer from Bartlesville, Oklahoma who took the poll.

Cody said that Trump may rankle some people with the way he talks and tweets, but it is a small price to pay for a president who will fight to strip away government regulations and strengthen the border.

DROPPING OFF THE SCREEN

When Trump called the election a "last shot" for the struggling coal industry and when he called for protecting the nation’s southern border with a “big, fat, beautiful wall," he was speaking directly to rural America, said David Swenson, an economist at Iowa State University.

"Feelings of resentment and deprivation have pervaded a lot of these places," Swenson said. "And here comes a candidate (Trump) who's offering simplistic answers" to issues that concern them.

Rural Americans responded by supporting Trump over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by 26 percentage points during the election, an advantage that helped tip the balance in battleground states, such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, where Trump won by less than 1 percentage point.

But after 10 months, many are still waiting to see concrete changes that could make life easier in rural America, said Karl Stauber, who runs a private economic development agency serving a patchwork of manufacturing communities in south central Virginia.

RELATED: 10 most common words used to describe Trump

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10 most common words used to describe Trump
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10 most common words used to describe Trump

"Incompetent"

 "Arrogant"

"Strong"

"Idiot"

"Egotistical"

 "Ignorant"

"Great"

"Racist"

"A**hole"

"Narcissistic"

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"Rural people are more cynical about the federal government than people in general are," Stauber said. "They've heard so many promises, and they've not seen much done."

Despite all the talk of bringing manufacturing jobs back, Stauber said he has not seen any companies which have relocated to his region, or anyone expand their workforce, due to new federal policies.

"It just seems like we've dropped off the screen," he said.

According to the poll, Trump's overall popularity has dropped gradually, and for different reasons, this year.

Rural Americans were increasingly unhappy with Trump's handling of healthcare in March and April after he lobbied for a Republican plan to overhaul Obamacare and cut coverage for millions of Americans.

SEE ALSO: The EPA might overturn another Obama-era environmental protection

In May and June, they were more critical of Trump's ability to carry out U.S. foreign policy, and they gave him lower marks for "the way he treats people like me."

In August, they were increasingly unhappy with "the effort he's making to unify the country" after he blamed "both sides" for the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, in which a suspected white nationalist drove his car into a crowd of anti-racist demonstrators.

The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted online in English across the United States. It asked people to rate the president’s performance and the results were filtered for people who lived in zip codes that fell within counties designated as "non-metro" by the federal government.

The poll combined the results of "non-metro" respondents into nine, four-week periods. Each period included between 1,300 and 2,000 responses and had a credibility interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points.

(Reporting by Chris Kahn and Tim Reid; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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