Sep 14, 2019

Trump approval in key Rust Belt areas rises despite slow economic growth

Workers wait for heavy equipment to arrive in East Goshen Township, Pennsylvania on June 5. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Employment growth in blue-collar suburbs that supported President Trump in 2016 is lagging behind the rest of the country, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The big picture: Trump’s job-approval rating in manufacturing-heavy counties in the Midwest and Northeast has risen since he entered office, despite low economic growth. The 77 counties analyzed by the WSJ backed Trump by a margin of 13 percentage points in 2016.

  • The number of businesses grew by 0.5% in 2017 and 0.6% in 2018 in the analyzed counties, the WSJ found — at "a faster pace than in the prior four years, but below the national rate of 1.8% growth."
    • Context: That was also less than the 1% job growth experienced in the area the 2 years before Trump was elected.
  • Employment growth in the the communities analyzed "lagged behind the national rate of 1.5% in 2017 and 1.3% in 2018."
  • Trump’s job-approval rating in these counties has risen from 44% in 2017 to 49% in 2019, WSJ/NBC News surveys found.

The bottom line: In 2016, "Trump visited many of these counties as a candidate, promising an economic rebound," the WSJ reports.

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Trump forces fateful choices on Twitter and Facebook

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

President Trump's war with Twitter is confronting social media platforms with a hard dilemma: whether to take fuller responsibility for what people say on their services, or to step back and assume a more quasi-governmental role.

The big picture: Facebook is trying to be more like a government committing to impartiality and protecting free speech and building mechanisms for arbitration. Twitter, pushed by Trump's inflammatory messages, is opting to more aggressively enforce conduct rules on its private property, like a mall owner enforcing rules inside the gates.